Scoring

National titleholders are selected by competing in the areas of Panel Interview, Swimsuit ( Miss)/ Fitness ( Mrs.), and Evening Gown. Each area of competition is described in further detail below, along with the weight of each area.


Panel Interview Competition (30%)

Essence Pageant titleholders must be articulate and possess inner beauty, as well as outer beauty. They must have a sense of confidence and purpose, and be able to communicate effectively, while being able to manage the responsibility of being a titleholder.

• Panel Interviews are conducted panel style, and are five (5) minutes in length.

• Contestants wear a suit, pantsuit, cocktail suit or dress for this event.

• Contestants will be asked questions based on the official interview sheet that each contestants submits.

• Contestants will not be asked questions of a controversial nature. However, the interview may include questions about current events and other timely topics.

• Judging Criteria: Personality, communication skills, character, beauty and fashion sense.


Swimsuit Competition ( Miss) / Fitness Competition ( Mrs.) (30%)

Our titleholders must exemplify the physically fit modern American woman. They must exude confidence, enthusiasm and graceful carriage on stage. A separate award will be presented to the contestant in each division who receives the highest overall fitness score.

• Each Contestant will supply her own wardrobe, with her own personal style and color choice being considered.

• Swimsuit/Fitness, a one-piece or two-piece is permitted. However, all swimwear must be in good taste. No thongs are allowed. No cover-ups may be worn with swimsuits.

• Contestants may wear sheer hose with their swimsuit, if they so choose.

• Judging Criteria: Overall fitness and muscle tone, proportion, beauty of face and figure, poise, eye contact, grace and fashion sense


Evening Gown Competition (30%)

Essence titleholders must project grace, style and sophistication. Each delegate selects her own evening gown. Their choice should reflect their own personality and style. The monetary value of the gown is not a consideration for judging. Judges are looking at the woman in the gown, not the gown on the woman.

• Gown must be floor length.

• Judging Criteria: Overall appearance, beauty, poise, stage presence, fashion sense and delegate’s ability to project comfortable elegance.


Final on- Stage Question (10%)

Each Finalist will be judged on how well she answers the question and communication skills. The judges will also consider their overall impression of the delegate.

Optional competitions


People’s Choice, this award is given to one contestant in the pageant who receives the most votes on-line. There is no additional fee or paperwork to qualify for this award. All contestants are eligible for this award.


Essence Business Award (1 Overall Winner)

This award is given to one delegate in the entire pageant who purchases the most program book advertisements in the official national program book. Delegates may purchase their own advertisements, or make seek out sponsors to purchase advertisements.The design of the advertisement pages and photos that the delegate chooses to include in the advertisement pages are at the delegate’s discretion. However, all photos and advertising layouts must be in good taste.


Photogenic Award

This award is given to one delegate in the entire pageant whose program book advertisement most intrigues the judge’s panel. This is a special award that each delegate may choose to qualify for by purchasing a half-page advertisement or larger in the national program book. Delegates may purchase the program book advertising themselves or may seek sponsorship to cover the costs. The design of the advertisement and photos that the delegate chooses to include in the advertisement is at the delegate’s discretion. However, all photos and advertising layouts must be in good taste.


Pageantry Spirit Award

This award is given to one delegate in the entire pageant who the other delegates feel exhibits the true spirit of pageant competition. This is the delegate who the other delegates vote on as the most congenial, pleasant, helpful and with the most positive attitude throughout the pageant.


Achievement Award/Community Service Award

This award is given to one delegate in each division, and is judged by a separate panel of judges. Each contestant will have the opportunity to submit an essay that outlines any academic, professional and/ or personal achievements, or highlights any obstacles that a delegate has overcome, or any contributions that a delegate has made to her community, volunteer efforts, school, workplace or other areas.


Social Media Award

This award is given to one contestant in the entire pageant with the most influence and events on social media.  If there is a tie then then the quality of events/ appearences will be taken into consideration.


Website Award

This award is given to the contestant with the best overall contestant website in the entire pageant. Judging will include professionalism, ease of use, and functionality.


(Mrs. Essence Pageant only) Husband Award

This award is given to one contestant in the entire pageant with the best overall written review of their spouse. There is no set format, just tell us why he deserves this award.


Alumna of the Year

Nominate one of your fellow contestants who inspires you! Tell us why you feel she deserves the award.


Fun Stuff Awards

No submissions needed for the Fun Awards, Staff Members and Advisory Board votes on the following Awards Pageant Weekend:

• Best Humor

• Best Personality

• Best Hair

• Best Smile


Judges and Scoring Procedures:​

National judges’ panel will be comprised of at least five qualified judges. This judge’s panel will evaluate all delegates in all divisions in all competitive areas. Essence Pageant has the sole authority and discretion to select the judges’ panel. Essence Pageant will strive to select a judges’ panel that is well qualified and professionally and culturally diverse. Judges’ names will not be released to delegates prior to the start of the 2018 pageant.

Judges are educated and informed of the Pageant judging procedures, expectations and processes prior to and upon arrival at the 2018 pageant.


Delegates are not permitted to converse with, approach or otherwise interact with any judges during the entire course of the 2014 pageant. Delegates violating this will risk disqualification. Judges are also instructed not to converse with, approach or otherwise interact with delegates during the entire course of the 2014 pageant, other than during scheduled competitive events.

All decisions of the judges are final.


Scoring Procedures:

  • All tabulating at the 2018 pageant will be conducted by a state licensed, Certified Public Accountant selected by Essence Pageant.
  • Scoring point values vary based on the total weight of each competitive area.
  • All scoring point values are per competitive area, with a maximum potential total score for any delegate being 10 points total per judge.
  • The delegate in each division with the highest combined score will be named the national queen in that division.
  • Scores Sheets will be given to you at the conclusion of the pageant.