Question and answers (Q&A) segment is probably the most popular portion of a beauty pageant. It is also the most intimidating part of the competition for the contestants. Since the pageant organisers can ask anything under the sky during the Q&A segment, many of the pageant contestants feel directionless while preparing for it. Hence in this article we have listed down the current global issues that can be asked during the Q&A segments of upcoming pageants. In the later part of the article we have collected the questions asked in the last 4 editions of Miss Universe pageants as well as some questions from the Miss USA pageant that are relevant to all the pageant contestants worldwide.
- Harvey Weinstein sexual misconduct allegations:
This is probably the hottest topic for pageant Q&A right now. In October 2017, The New York Times and The New Yorker reported that dozens of women had accused Harvey Weinstein, a prominent American film producer, of sexual harassment. More than 60 women in Hollywood subsequently accused Weinstein of such acts. The alleged victims include many Hollywood superstars including Oscar winning actresses like Kate Winslet, Angelina Jolie and Lupita Nyong’o. It will be surprising if Miss Universe does not ask a question on sexual harassment during this year’s pageant. If not specific, expect pageants to ask questions about sexual harassment at work place during upcoming pageants.
- Las Vegas Shooting:
On the night of October 1, 2017, a gunman opened fire on people attending a concert in Las Vegas in which 59 people died and more than 500 people were injured. Las Vegas can be considered the centre of the pageantry as the city has hosted numerous Miss USA and Miss America editions and also 6 editions of Miss Universe including this year’s Miss Universe pageant which is scheduled to be held at Planet Hollywood in November. In fact the Mandalay Bay hotel from where the gunman carried the attack hosted Miss Universe in 2010. Hence a question about shooting will definitely be asked in upcoming pageants. Even though the Las Vegas shooting has not been declared as a terrorist attack, contestants can expect general questions about terrorism or violence. Questions on terrorism or gun control are not new to pageantry. Hence one can refer to past Miss Universe Q&A segments for reference answers.
- Paris Agreement:
Paris climate accord or Paris climate agreement, is an agreement between over 168 countries which deals with greenhouse gas emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance. On June 1, 2017, United States President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. would cease all participation in the Paris Agreement on climate change. Pageant contestants are already getting a lot of questions relating to Mr. Trump. Paris Agreement is a specific topic hence contestants can’t give a generalised answer about Mr. Trump in response. A question about USA’s exit from Paris Agreement was already asked during the latest edition of Miss America pageant.
- Threat of Nuclear war:
As clichéd as it may sound, the contestants can expect questions about the threat of war or the need for global peace. But please avoid giving pageant patty “world peace” answers. We suggest that contestants should make themselves aware about at least a few basic facts about nuclear war or threat from North Korea. Adding some factual details to the answer will show the judges that you have adequate knowledge of the topic.
- Hurricanes in Puerto Rico:
This year hurricanes Irma and Maria caused tremendous destruction in Puerto Rico. More than the hurricane itself, its aftermath was topic of global debate. The relief measures undertaken by the Trump administration were questioned by the disaster management experts. The hurricanes affected pageants too. This year Puerto Rico will not be competing in Miss World because of the hurricanes. Hence contestants can expect questions relating to how governments should respond to natural calamities.
Apart from the topics mentioned above, the contestants must prepare their responses to the questions asked during previous editions of pageants. Many-a-times pageants repeat its old questions in a different form. Example: Questions about swimsuit round have been asked multiple times in the past in different forms. Hence knowing previously asked question will give the contestants an upper hand while facing the Q&A round. Please find below the questions asked during last 4 editions of Miss Universe and relevant questions from Miss USA.
Miss Universe 2013:
- What would happen to the world if we could no longer use the internet?
- What is your opinion about places that do not allow women to vote, or drive cars?
- What is the most significant thing we can do help elect women to political offices around the world?
- What can be done about the lack of jobs for young people starting their career around the world?
- What is your biggest fear and how do you plan to overcome it?
Miss Universe 2014
- If you were given 30 seconds to deliver a message to a global terrorist, what would you say?
- What’s the biggest change you’d like to see for young women in the next generation?
- If you could remove the swimsuit competition from the Miss Universe pageant, would you? And why or why not?
- One of three women will experience violence in her lifetime. What can be done to get that number down?
- Probably all the time, people have asked you, what can men learn from women, but I’d like to know what could women learn from men?
- What is the greatest contribution of your country to the entire world?
Miss Universe 2015 (The questions were relevant to respective countries of the contestants)
- Earlier this year, there was a controversy in Philippines about the United States reopening a base in your country. Do you think the United States should have a military presence in your country?
- Having experienced terrorism first hand yourself, what is the best way for government to combat this rising threat?
- Australia is taking its first step towards legalizing marijuana. Do you think that is a good idea? Why?
- Drug abuse continues to be one of the world’s most serious problems. What do you think is the best way to handle this issue?
- Few issues in the United States are more polarizing than gun ownership. The argument really heats up after major tragic events such as San Bernardino and Sandy Hook. What is your position on gun control?
- Why should you be the next Miss Universe
Miss Universe 2016
- What is the most significant change you’ve seen in the world in the last 10 years?
- Name a current or past world leader whom you admire and why.
- What are you most excited about and what most concerns you when it comes to the presidency of Donald Trump?
- Why do you believe that violence is so prevalent in today’s society and what can we do about it?
- If you were able to participate in the Women’s March on January 21st, what would you have been marching for?
- Given today’s worldwide refugee crisis, do countries have an obligation to accept refugees or do they have a right to close their borders?
- Name something over the course of your life that you’ve failed at. And, what have you learned from that experience?
Miss USA (The questions pertaining to US politics have been omitted. Only the questions relevant to global issues are mentioned)
- Do you agree that narcissism is an epidemic and today’s youth are turning into hyper-entitled, self-absorbed generation? (Question has been modified)
- Why do you think crimes such as sexual assaults among college students have been swept under the rug for so long and what can colleges do to combat that?
- In 30 seconds, say anything you want to our political leaders.
- Do you think political correctness is hurting or helping this country and why?
- One of the biggest challenges facing the world is social and economic inequality. How do we narrow the gap between the rich and the poor? (Question has been modified)
- Define ‘confidently beautiful.
- As a pageant winner, you will be representing your country worldwide. How would you like the global community to view your country? (Question has been modified)
- Advocates for women’s rights have been leading the conversation this year. Which specific issue regarding women’s rights is most important to you?
- Suicide recently became the second-leading cause of death among teenagers. What actions would you take as a pageant winner to help struggling teenagers?
- Social media allows us to share every aspect of our lives, but it can also cause us to be hyper aware of how we measure up to others. Do you believe that social media is ultimately a positive or a negative?
- Do you think affordable healthcare for all citizens of the country is a right or a privilege and why? (Question has been modified)
- What do you consider feminism to be and do you consider yourself a feminist?
The key to success in Q&A round is “practice”. It’s important for pageant aspirants to watch the telecast of international pageants such as Miss Universe and take notes of the questions asked during the pageant. The answers given by previous contestants can become ready reference to future contestants. Most of the questions in Miss India or Miss Diva pageants are similar to the questions asked during Miss Universe and Miss USA. Hence watching these events shall be a home work for all the aspiring Miss India contestants.
Author: Jinendra Aherkar