a few answers to our most common questions
Becoming a contestant
Who can become a contestant?
The Miss South Carolina USA® and Miss South Carolina Teen USA® Pageants are open to all women who meet the eligibility requirements.
Do I have to win a Preliminary Pageant to compete?
You do not need to win a preliminary title or have previous pageant experience to participate.
Do I need to have pageant experience to compete in a Miss USA or Miss Teen USA state pageant?
On the contrary! Quite often our competitors are the “girls next door” with little or no pageant experience. We have had countless winners who have never competed in pageants before.
How Do I Sign Up?
Click HERE to apply or click on the Apply tab at the top of this page.
When is the last day to apply?
The deadline to apply is 6 weeks before the state pageant. However, if the deadline has passed, please contact us because sometimes exceptions can be made.
Will I receive a crown or sash with my entry?
Each contestant who competes at the state pageant will receive a competition sash. If you would like an embroidered sash and/or crown for appearances and photoshoots, you have the option of purchasing those once you have registered and paid your entry fee.
How do I reserve my title?
Every contestant will compete at the state pageant representing a city, county, region, or landmark. Once you have applied and paid your entry fee, then you’ll be assigned your choice of title. This is the perfect way to go out into your community and gain sponsors!
Judging & criteria
How is the Pageant judged?
Each contestant will be judged in three areas of competition: Interview, Swimsuit (Miss) / Activewear (Teen), & Evening Gown. Judging criteria includes character, poise, confidence, and personality.
Is there a talent portion of the competition?
No, there is no performing talent competition.
Are there any height or weight requirements to compete in the pageant?
Absolutely not! Whether you’re 4 feet tall or 7 feet tall, it doesn’t matter. In the swimsuit/activewear portion of the competition, the judges will be looking for physical fitness, which includes a healthy and fit body. There’s usually a wide range of body styles and types for the Top 16 Finalists each year. We’re looking for outgoing, intelligent, confident, and attractive young women who are excited to represent the state of South Carolina.
Am I too old or too young to enter the pageant?
Never at any time are the judges directed to consider age when choosing a state winner. Age is only a factor in determining which division you will compete.
Sponsorship & Advertisements
How does sponsorship work?
Collecting sponsorship can be a fun and important part of your pageant experience. It becomes an opportunity to partner with local businesses or friends and family to build your fan base on your journey for the crown.
How do advertisement sales work?
Selling ads has allowed us to lower the entry fee to keep your out of pocket costs to a minimum. A large portion of our contestants have close friends or relatives that own small businesses, and this allows them to advertise in the official magazine as well as using their sponsorship as a marketing expense on their taxes at the end of the year.
What does the entry fee go towards?
To produce a high level event, we bring in the best people from all over to country to make sure this is an event you can be proud to participate in. In addition to the production costs, your hotel room is included, as well as all planned meals.
What should I do if a sponsor gives me cash for my ads or entry fee?
If you receive cash contributions, deposit the cash into your own bank account and submit a personal check or pay via Venmo. Please DO NOT send cash through the mail at any time.
Who sees the ads in the program book?
There are hundreds of program books printed each year and those are distributed throughout the state and used as displays in many of our sponsors’ businesses. There are so many opportunities for your sponsors’ ads to be seen!
What if I simply cannot afford to compete?
We can help explain how to obtain sponsorships and offer many fundraising ideas to cover competition costs—including entry fee and wardrobe. Your family, friends, and local business leaders will be supportive, when you share your goals with them.
Do I need a pageant coach to help me prepare?
Even though some contestants wish to seek expert advice, we do not see this reflected in the overall outcome of the pageant. Focus on being your “personal best!”
Do I need to use the pageant sponsors when preparing for competition?
No. However, we seek out the best when it comes to our sponsors. We provide our sponsor information to you as only as a resource. We NEVER ask our sponsors who their clients are.
Do I have to spend a lot of money on my wardrobe?
Not at all! You do not need to spend a fortune on any piece of your wardrobe. It is most important that your wardrobe helps you feel confident by showcasing you and your personality.
Do I need to have a platform?
No, you are not required to have a platform. We think it’s great if there is a cause that is meaningful to you, but the judges will not ask you about a specific platform.
Are there restrictions on tattoos or body piercings?
No, there are no restrictions on tattoos or body piercings. However, if any are visible while you are in your swimsuit / activewear, evening gown, or interview outfit, you have the option of removing your body jewelry or covering up tattoos with body make-up.
Do I need a different gown for finals than the one I wear for Preliminaries?
No. We highly recommend wearing the same gown for both preliminaries and finals. Rarely do we see a contestant change gowns once the competition has started.
What is the Opening Number outfit for?
At the beginning of night’s competition, contestants will be introduced to the audience during an upbeat, choreographed opening number. Contestants will not sing and the choreographed moves are very easy – you do not need to be a dancer. The Opening Number outfit will coincide with our theme each year.
What type of photo should I submit for use in the official pageant magazine?
Most contestants will submit a professional “head and shoulders” style photo.
What happens if I miss a deadline?
Deadlines are how we stay organized and are very important for us to make our necessary pageant weekend preparations. However, we realize that unexpected circumstances can arise and that deadlines are occasionally missed. Sometimes we are able to extend the deadlines on certain due dates. If you need an extension, please call or email the pageant office.
When will this years contestants’ photos be posted on the website?
The photos will be posted on the state pageant website approximately two weeks prior to the state pageant. The photos will be judged for Miss Photogenic by various national media outlets, modeling and casting agencies.
Can I have a personal hair/make-up artist backstage?
Contestants are permitted to have a personal hair/make-up artist during the pageant weekend. We will have designated areas for the stylists to provide their services before the preliminary competition on Friday evening, the interview on Saturday morning and the final competition on Saturday evening. The fee to use your personal hair/make-up artist is $250, which covers the room rental, artists workstation, chair and electrical outlets. The $250 does not cover the hair/make-up artist services. You are responsible for booking and paying your artist individually.
When will the semifinalists be named?
The semifinalists will be named immediately following the opening number of the Finals competition.
If I am not named as a semifinalist, will I still be in the pageant finals?
Yes. The non-finalists will still participate in the parade of gowns and will be on stage for the auxiliary awards and crowning.
Do I need to pay for my meals during pageant weekend?
No. All planned group meals throughout pageant weekend will be provided. We will also provide snacks and beverages during rehearsals. If you have any special dietary requirements, please plan ahead and bring those foods/drinks with you.
Do I need to pay for my hotel room during pageant weekend?
No. We will provide your contestant hotel room as part of your entry fee. If you choose to arrive the night before or stay the night after the pageant, your room for those nights would be at your own expense.
Will I have time to visit with my family, friends, and out of town guests during pageant weekend?
Once you check in, contestants will have a packed schedule of activities, interviews, rehearsals, and shows. We recommend you plan on arriving early or staying an extra day in the host city to enjoy the experience with your guests. Time permitting, we will make every effort to include designated family meet and greet opportunities.
If my family or friends want to attend the pageant, where do they stay?
They may stay in the pageant’s “Host Hotel.” Friends and Family rates normally apply.
What should my family and friends wear to the pageant?
We recommend anything from business casual to formalwear for the pageant preliminaries and pageant finals.
How do my family and friends get tickets to attend the pageant?
Tickets typically go on sale 1 month prior to the pageant.
If my family or friends can’t attend in person, can they still watch the pageant?
Yes! The pageants will be webcast on PageantsLive.com.
How many contestants compete in the state pageant?
The number of contestants vary from year to year. However, typically we have between 25-50 contestants in each division.
Do only the winners get selected for various modeling/talent opportunities and career benefits?
No! On a regular basis we receive requests from modeling agencies and casting companies looking for young ladies for particular opportunities. We often recommend previous contestants to fill the requests.
If I win, will it interfere with school?
We make school the number one priority! Our program only encourages your success! Almost all of your appearances, celebrity events, and charity work will take place on weekends and will be scheduled in advance.
When will the Miss USA & Miss Teen USA pageants be televised?
For the past few years, The Miss USA national pageant & The Miss Teen USA national pageant have taken place in the same host city, during the same time of year. The Miss USA national pageant is aired LIVE on television and the Miss Teen USA national pageant is normally streamed live on the web. The national pageants typically take place in the Summer or Fall each year.