For out-of-this-world pageant advice, many contestants turn to The Pageant Planet website founded by Steven Roddy. This former arena football team owner has used his marketing skills and pageant knowledge to build an online presence that has become one of the leading resources in pageantry. How and why did he do it? The answers may surprise you.
While some might say it’s risky for a young entrepreneur with a background in Bible college and sports team ownership to make the jump to pageant guru. But for Steven Roddy it was a natural progression. The middle child raised in a household with 6 sisters, he once dated a beauty queen. Through the experience and knowledge gained during this personal relationship, Roddy was able to use his marketing skills to launch what he believed could be the link that a “fragmented” pageant community had been missing.
Steven Roddy has worked to develop The Pageant Planet as a recognizable brand and leading force in the beauty pageant industry in just a few short years. The website currently offers VIP (Virtual Interview Pageant) Coaching, the first program of its kind in the industry, and a list of Free Pageant Practice Questions to help contestants put their interview skills to work. New to The Pageant Planet is a feature called the Pageant Hall of Fame, a virtual database of pageant directors, contestants, and pageant coaches that is free to join and create a listing, and two new video series hosted by Stephanie McGrane entitled Behind the Crown and Life on Pageant Planet.
In this exclusive interview, Steven Roddy reveals his personal path to success in the female-dominated pageant community. He also shares tips for contestants on how to be successful in pageants, and some insights on how a failure can turn into a major victory.
Q. What was it like growing up in a house full of sisters?
A. Growing up it was a little like war zone. You know how they say that Mother Nature starts to visit all women around the same time if they live in close proximity? It’s true. So 25% of the month it was chaos. But, now the reward for perseverance is sweet because my sisters are all extremely sweet and motherly towards me.
Q. Do you think your childhood has influenced your ultimate career path?
A. Completely. But not in the way you might expect. My dad was an entrepreneur and my mother was in sales. I saw them take risks and fail and then try again. Since the age of 9, my dad talked to me about business and finances. I went to trade shows with him, worked for his various companies, and saw the benefits and stresses of owning your own company.
Q. Male celebrities including Blake Shelton have confessed to competing in pageants as a boy. Have you, yourself, ever competed in a pageant? If so, when and what pageant(s)?
A. LOL. No, I’ve never competed in a pageant. In fact, I really didn’t even know this world existed until I was 24 and I hired Miss Georgia to to the coin toss at our first football game. Little did I know that I would be working in the industry a few years later.
Q. If you could travel back in time to a defining moment in your life and give advice to your younger self, what age would it be and what advice would you give?
A. After [owning] the football team, I experienced a massive failure, and with the financial loss I also lost my confidence. I stayed in a negative relationship and job for way too long and just endured the stress. I would tell myself, ‘Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Playing the role of a victim will not get you out of your situation. Write down on paper exactly what you want, and then make a specific plan to start taking immediate steps to get what you wrote down that you wanted. The more you focus on what you don’t want, the more you will get what you don’t want. Focus on what you want and you’ll get that just as quickly.’
Q. It’s been said that public perception of pageants in America is less favorable than in other countries. Why do you think that is?
A. For that, we have television to thank. The world of entertainment has made a mockery of pageantry and the beautiful, intelligent women that compete in them by isolating extreme personalities (Honey Boo Boo) or situations (Miss Teen SC who messed up on her onstage question – I would like to see [anyone] answer a random question under that kind of pressure.) The media makes money through ratings, and ratings come through viewers that are attracted to drama. Therefore, they have to find the dramatic angle of pageantry in order to compete with other extreme shows for ratings. Does pageantry have its whack jobs? Of course, but so does every other industry that I’ve ever encountered.
Q. From a marketing perspective, what can pageant directors and contestants do to change the public opinion of pageants and pageant people?
A. Be a professional. If you’re going to build a website, do so with class. If you’re going to put on a production, make sure it’s organized and starts on time. At appearances, conduct yourself like a lady. Marketing is so much more than advertising. [With] every action you take, you are branding yourself.
Q. One of your past careers involved owning a football team. Who do you think has a tougher job, football coaches or pageant coaches?
A. Without question, football coaches. Sure pageant coaches have to deal with overbearing mothers and fathers, but as a football coach the results of your team are completely up to you. If your pageant coach does a horrible job of training a contestant, they can blame the judges for the result. Rare is it when a football coach can blame anyone for a loss other than himself.
Q. You have witnessed many pageants and pageant victories. What do you think is the biggest mistake contestants make during a live pageant?
A. They second guess themselves. Before the pageant every girl thinks they are going to win. If you ask them, they all think they are going to walk home with the crown. However, after a few days (or hours) of being surrounded by other gorgeous, talented women they start to wonder about their own beauty and talent. This wavering belief causes them to second guess themselves on stage, walk a little more stiffly, be a little more ‘rehearsed’ in interview, and ultimately lose the crown. During a pageant, girls should always err on the side of confidence. Look at the other contestants and think, ‘You are so cute. You would make a really good first runner-up.’
Q. How important would you say marketing is to today’s pageant contestant?
A. Pageantry comes with an expiration date. You can only compete for so long before you age out or win out. If girls don’t market themselves while they have the crown, there will not be many opportunities waiting for them post pageantry. There are more stories than I care to know of former national titleholders in the systems that we all know who are struggling right now because they didn’t properly leverage their title to help set them up post pageantry.
Q. What is the one piece of advice you would give every pageant contestant to better their chances of winning the crown?
A. Train your mind as hard as you are training your body. You can have the perfect swimsuit body and wrap it in the most expensive designer gown, but if you do not believe that you are worthy of the title you seek, then you will not win the crown you seek. Belief is the one common denominator that all queens share.
For more information about The Pageant Planet, please visit their website at ThePageantPlanet.com. Want more articles like this? Follow the author on Twitter @Cheriesite