International Pageant Day has been celebrated on April 8 every year since 2018. It recognizes the dedication of all the women around the world who compete in pageants. It’s also a day to encourage young women to consider joining pageants for their numerous benefits. This day also helps us recognize the importance of pageants as a place where contestants can showcase not just their beauty but also their personality, their strengths, and their intelligence. Whoever thinks beauty and brains do not mix has clearly never been to a pageant.
History of International Pageant Day
Before he established the Barnum and Bailey Circus in 1871, Phineas Taylor Barnum staged the first modern American pageant in 1854. Unfortunately, the prizes of a dowry or a tiara weren’t enough to lure Victorian women to display themselves in public. Instead, he used photographs that were displayed in his museum to vote on. It was short-lived, but it was a way that modern technology and commercial entertainment could be combined to kickstart the industry of beauty pageants. In 1888, a Creole contestant was awarded the title of ‘beauty queen’ in Belgium, using a similar entry of a photograph with a short description of themselves as a part of a final selection for a panel of judges.
Beauty pageants were only considered respectable after the first Miss America came about in 1921. Organized as a means to entice tourists to Atlantic City, New Jersey, it’s the oldest pageant still in existence that featured women aged between 17 and 25 competing in bathing suits. In the early 1920s, Galveston, Texas also organized the Galveston Bathing Girl Revue to kick off the summer tourist season and featured contestants from the U.S. In 1926, it evolved into the International Pageant of Pulchritude with participants coming from various countries like Mexico, Canada, England, Russia, and Turkey. This was later believed to be the inspiration for modern beauty pageants, like Miss Universe.
The enduring popularity of the Miss America pageant prompted other organizations to establish other pageants like the Miss World in 1951, Miss United States and Miss Universe in 1952, Miss International in 1960, Miss Asia Pacific International in 1968, and Miss Earth in 2001.
International Pageant Day timeline
The first known beauty pageant is held as part of a medieval joust re-enactment in Scotland.
The Miss World pageant is created in the U.K. by Eric Morely.
The ABC Network airs the first live broadcast of Miss America on television, seen by over 27 million viewers in the U.S.
This pageant aims to challenge negative stereotypes of black women in the U.S.
Women protesters in Atlantic City, New Jersey, throw mops, bras, lipsticks, and high heels into a “Freedom Trash Can.”
International Pageant Day FAQs
What are the four biggest pageants in the world?
The four major international beauty pageants are Miss World, Miss International, Miss Earth, and Miss Universe.
How do pageants work?
The contestants are scored based on their beauty, grace, poise, personality, talent, and eloquence. The winners are determined by the total scores given by the panel of judges.
What’s the first step in joining a pageant?
An aspiring contestant first submits an application, which can either be hand-written or sent online. It’s typically made up of the submission form, platform statement, and pageant resume. This will also include a photo or a headshot and a corresponding entry fee.
International Pageant Day Activities
Hold a pageant film festival
Get a glimpse into the world of pageantry through the lens of Hollywood. “Little Miss Sunshine,” “Miss Congeniality,” and “Miss Firecracker” are some movies with pageants as an integral part of their story.
Watch pageants bloopers
Pageants are serious competitions, so instances that show their silly side is refreshing. The internet is forever, so you’ll be able to find these funny, or embarrassing, clips online.
Learn more about the current Miss Universe
How much do you know about the most beautiful woman in the universe? Today is the best day to start that deep dive.
5 Intriguing Facts About Joining Pageants
It develops confidence
Learning to speak in front of a crowd, answer questions, and walk gracefully in heels are just some of the ways pageants help confidence blossom in contestants.
It promotes social connections
Meeting people from different walks of life, not to mention getting to know fellow candidates, widens the social and career network for most candidates.
It encourages self-discipline
In order to succeed, contestants need to train to not only look good but to sound good as well.
It can lead to other job opportunities
Scholarships, modeling, and apprenticeships are just some of the benefits of joining pageants.
It can be a platform for advocacies
Contestants have causes they hold dear, and the winners’ have the chance for their chosen advocacies to garner more support.
Why We Love International Pageant Day
It encourages charitable work
Contestants each have their advocacies. Pageants allow them to raise awareness and funds for a charity of their choice.
It’s a way to win scholarships
Scholarships are usually one of the prizes in most beauty pageants. Large ones may also give an annual salary or additional career-building options that allow the winners to carve out their own paths afterward.
It improves the local economy
Pageants create tourism opportunities, whether they’re held in counties or countries. Businesses like hospitality, retail, and food also benefit from having these kinds of events.
International Pageant Day dates