a few answers to our most common questions

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 you only looking for perfect “10’s”?

Absolutely not! Whether you’re 4 feet tall or 7 feet tall it doesn’t matter. In the swimsuit 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 10 Finalists each year. We’re looking for outgoing, intelligent, confident, attractive young women excited to represent the beauty of Maryland.

Do I have to be a “Pageant Girl” to enter?

Not at all, in fact most of our contestants are newcomers to pageants.

Are there any height or weight requirements to compete in the pageant?

Absolutely not! Each contestant in our pageant is an individual and the judges are looking for body proportion and personality, not a specific body measurement.


How does sponsorship work?

Collecting sponsorship is very important. It takes a time commitment on your part. You start with a list of potential sponsors such as friends and family members and their employers, etc. Plan your strategy and make a plan to succeed! Schedule appointments to collect your sponsorships. When approaching potential sponsors, explain your goals, your desire to improve yourself by participating in the MISS MARYLAND USA or MISS MARYLAND TEEN USA pageant, the charities you believe in and the scholarship opportunities. Let them know what your experience will entail. This will be extremely beneficial in developing your communication skills. This is an essential characteristic to have if you’re going to be the next MISS MARYLAND USA or MISS MARYLAND TEEN USA.

Our goal is for contestants to collect 100% of the sponsorship fee. This is a tax-deductible advertising expense for those businesses that assist you with sponsorship. If you work hard on collecting sponsorship, it is possible that you will not incur any expenses out of pocket. In addition, hardworking contestants receive material item sponsorships, such as a dress, tanning, a haircut, etc.

What if I raise more sponsorship money than the required sponsorship fee?

You may collect more than the required sponsorship fee. If you do collect over the required amount of the sponsorship fee, please send in the full amount to the state pageant offices. You may use additional sponsorship toward special “Spotlight ads” in the Official Program Book, Hair & Makeup on Pageant Weekend, or a Ticket Purchase.

Becoming a contestant

Who can become a contestant?

The Miss Maryland USA® and Miss Maryland 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.

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!

General Questions

When will the Miss USA & Miss Teen USA pageants be televised?

The CW Network was the exclusive home for THE 72nd MISS USA PAGEANT as it returned to broadcast television live on Friday, September 29, 2023. Additionally, the sister pageant MISS TEEN USA was streamed on The CW App and cwtv.com 

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.

How many contestants compete at the state pageant?

The number of contestants vary from year to year, but each year approximately 100-120 contestants compete for the Miss title, and approximately 75-100 contestants compete for the Teen title.

What should I do if a sponsor gives me cash for my sponsorship fee?

If you receive cash contributions for your sponsorship fee, you may put that money into a money order or send a personal check. Please DO NOT send cash through the mail at any time. If your cash collected exceeds the sponsorship fee for the state pageant, then you do not have to send in the additional cash.



Pageant Preparation

Do I have to spend a lot of money on my wardrobe?

You do not need to spend a fortune on activewear, swimwear, an interview outfit, and an evening gown. It is most important to find outfits that you will feel confident in and that best suit you and your personality. The personal choice of gowns have spanned from simple, elegant to hand beaded. But it is never the gown that the judges are scoring; it’s the young women wearing it. Again, several contestants have been able to secure a gown sponsor to assist them. 

What happens if I can’t get my registration materials in before the deadlines?

Deadlines are very important to us in order to make timely program preparations. However, we realize that unexpected circumstances can arise and that the collection of sponsorship may take longer than expected. If you need an extension, please call or email the state pageant offices.

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 the show for the pageant, each contestant will be introduced to the audience during an upbeat, choreographed introduction musical number (contestant will not sing, and the choreographed moves are very easy – you do not need to be a dancer).

pageant weekend

When will the semifinalists be named?

The semi-finalists will be announced during the first portion of the pageant on the last day of the pageant weekend. No one will know who the semi-finalists are until that moment in the pageant final show.

If I am not named as a semifinalist, will I still be in the pageant finals?

Absolutely. All contestants will participate in the gown review, special awards, naming of the semi-finalist, musical performances, and crowning of the titleholders. You will be on stage at many times during the pageant finals, even if you are not named as a semi-finalist.

Do I need to pay for my meals during pageant weekend?

No. All of your meals throughout the state pageant weekend are provided by the state pageant. Although all of your meals are provided, we do recommend that are prepared for any additional meals that you may want.

Do I need to pay for my hotel room during pageant weekend?

No. Your hotel room during the pageant is provided for you by the state pageant. You will be paired with one other contestant in a room with two beds. 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.

How many other contestants will I room with at the hotel?

Each contestant is paired with one other contestant in order to share each hotel room. Each room will have two beds, so each contestant will have their own bed. In order to be respectful to the contestant with whom you are sharing the room, only the two of you are allowed in your hotel room (no family or friends allowed at any time).

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?

Ticket information will be listed on the website once they have been set.