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Competition Phases and Scoring

Eligibility Requirements

  • Must be a U.S. citizen
  • At least 17 years old at the time of local pageant
  • No more than 24 years old on September 30th of the year of the Miss America national finals
  • High school graduate or successfully completed G.E.D. testing program by July 1th
  • Female, never married and never have had children
  • Legal resident of Iowa at least 6 months prior to local pageant competition
  • Must maintain the basis for eligibility throughout the local and state competition

Areas of Competition

Private Interview (25% of total score)
Each contestant participates in an individual 10-minute press conference-style interview with our panel of judges (12 minutes at the state and national competitions). There are typically 5 to 7 judges on a panel. Contestants are questioned on their background as presented on their fact sheet, their educational and career goals, their opinions on current events and social issues, and their interests, hobbies and extracurricular activities.

Scoring is based on:

  • Qualities and attributes of a Miss America
  • Overall first impression
  • Validated aspirations, opinions and responses in context
  • Poise, personal appearance and attractiveness
  • Personality, intelligence, style and emotional control
  • Speech, vocabulary and grammar
  • Confident and commanding presence
  • Knowledge, understanding and ability to articulate her platform issue
  • Sense of accomplishment
  • Ability to fulfill job responsibilities of Miss Iowa

Talent (35% of total score)
Contestants perform a 2-minute routine of their own choosing. Some possible talents include all types of singing, dancing, gymnastics, instrumental music, dramatic or comedy monologues, baton twirling and ventriloquism. Other talents that can be performed solo on a stage are also possible. Phone or e-mail us if you have a question about your talent presentation.

Scoring is based on:

  • Talent selection and performance, as it distinguishes both the contestant's skills and personality
  •  Interpretive ability
  • Technical skill level (execution, technique, synchronization, control)
  • Stage presence and on-stage personality
  • Totality of all elements (including costume, props, voice, use of body, choreography)

Lifestyle & Fitness In Swimsuit (15% of total score)
Each contestant briefly appears on stage in a one- or two-piece swimsuit and footwear of her own choosing. Swimsuits must be approved prior to competition by the Executive Director of the pageant.

Scoring is based on:

  • Qualities and attributes of a Miss America
  • Overall first impression
  • Statement of strong physical fitness and health
  • Sense of attractiveness and presence
  • Display of energy, charisma and expression
  • Sense of confidence and composure

On-Stage Question (5% of total score)
Questions will be of a general nature and will be neither platform-related nor something taken directly from the private interview. The objective is to evaluate the contestant's ability to think on her feet and answer a question of general interest to people her age, including, but not limited to, local, state and national current events.

Scoring is based on:

  • Overall first impression
  • Extemporaneous response to on-stage question
  • Did the contestant answer the question in the context in which it was asked?
  • Can she handle the pressure of speaking on stage in front of an audience?
  • Will young people see her as a role model who is reflective of today's generation?

Evening Wear (20% of total score)
Each contestant appears on stage in an outfit of her own choosing, representative of what she would wear to a formal "after five" social event. Pant suits, cocktail dresses and evening gowns are all appropriate for this phase of the competition.

Scoring is based on:

  • Qualities and attributes of a Miss America
  • Overall first impression
  • Sense of confidence, personality and stage presence
  • Walk, posture, carriage and grace
  • Appropriateness of attire and sense of style
  • Sense of attractiveness, beauty and charm
Compete