10 Interview Tips from Nia Sanchez

By Shelby Poskochil

You’re not ready to win, until you’re ready to lose, said Miss USA 2014, Nia Sanchez Booko.

Springboard for Success directors, Robin Gifford and Emerie Jones Gifford, recently had the privilege of hosting Nia in their studio to speak with their clients about Nia’s acclaimed pageant workshop, Universal Confidence.

Normally, Nia travels with co-speaker, Australian model and Miss Universe Australia 2014, Tegan Martin, but Springboard was lucky enough to instead have Nia’s husband, Daniel Booko, who holds a knowledgeable background in the acting industry, travel with her to Nebraska instead.

Nia has an extensive background in the pageant industry and has held many titles. Some of her titles include, Miss Nevada USA 2014, Miss USA 2014, and she was also selected as first runner-up to Miss Universe 2014.

During Nia’s time at Springboard, she captured the hearts of their clients with her warm smile and down-to-earth nature. She opened up about her personal struggles and portrayed true and vulnerable honesty that each young woman could admire. Most importantly, Nia shared her vast pageant knowledge with the group and touched on several different categories relating not only to pageantry, but to social media, relationships, and self-defense. Nia happens to be a fourth-degree black belt in taekwondo.

Nia’s pageant knowledge was so resourceful Springboard has decided to share some of Nia’s top pageant tips and tricks; specifically, her tips for pageant interview and resume.
Pageant interview, Nia Sanchez, Miss USA 2014

Below are 10 of Nia Sanchez Booko’s top interview and resume guidelines to help you dominate your next pageant interview.

Always tell the truth on your resume

You never want to have a judge catch you in a lie by asking you a question based on information from your resume and you unable to answer because you provided information that wasn’t factual. Even the slightest fabrication can throw you off in the interview room if a judge asks you about it. For example, a contestant once added that she was fluent in particular language. One of her judges asked her a question in that language and she couldn’t understand him. Oops. Always tell the truth!

Don’t wear evening gown or swimwear heels with your interview attire i.e. Tippy Tops, Sun Tans, etc.

As a pageant judge, Nia says these shoes do not complete an interview outfit and do not give a contestant the professionalism she should aim for in her pageant interview. Selecting a more fashion-forward, business casual shoe for pageant interview is the best way to go. Plus, it’s an opportunity to show some personality in most system interviews.

Keep your resume information short and sweet

You don’t want to give everything away on your resume.  Otherwise, you won’t have anything to talk to the judges about in interview. So keep your information on your resume short and to the point. Say enough to fascinate the judges, then elaborate in the interview when asked. This helps the judges get to know you better and helps the conversation run smoothly.

Nia Sanchez, Miss USA 2014, pageant, modeling

Avoid noisy and distracting jewelry

Large, noisy jewelry is very distracting during interview. As a contestant, you should keep your accessories minimal in the interview room and should avoid any jewelry, such a bracelets that makes noise, when interacting with the judges. Jewelry can become distracting to the judges and could affect a contestant’s overall interview score.

Be sure to specifically answer the questions asked on your resume

If you don’t give the pageant directors and judges the information they are asking for on a resume you are affecting your interview before it’s even started. Read each question on the resume thoroughly and answer directly and clearly. Be sure you understand what is being asking.

Say a greeting when you enter the interview room

One thing Nia stressed, to set yourself apart from the other contestants in the interview room, is to say a greeting when you walk into the room. Whether your interview is panel or round-robin style, walking into a room with only a smile on your face is not inviting and doesn’t make the judges feel comfortable. Saying a simple greeting such as, “Hello, how are you doing today?” will make the judges feel more comfortable during your interview and will allow them to warm up to you quicker.

Make the judges feel comfortable

Similar to the previous point, making the judges feel comfortable in the interview is key. Imagine yourself talking to a friend of a friend. You want to make that person feel comfortable and warm up to you quickly through saying a greeting, being polite, and being personable. If they are a friend of your friend, you want to make a good first impression and gain a positive connection.

Body language

Another tip Nia gave us during her workshop was about a contestant’s body language when sitting or standing in interview. When standing, it’s important not to fidget. Stand tall and confident, and command the room. When sitting, be conscious of what you’re wearing. For example, if you’re wearing a dress, angle your knees to one side and cross your legs at the ankle. If needed, place one hand in your lap to avoid the exposure of any unwanted areas.

Put yourself in the answer

The judges are looking to learn more about you. It is important to incorporate information about yourself and what you’re passionate about when answering a judge’s question. This way, the judges can get to know you quicker and ask more questions based off of the information you included about yourself in your previous answer.


Last but not least, if you don’t know an answer, take it back to yourself

Many times, a contestant does not know an answer and that’s totally normal. If you’re ever faced with a question that really stumps you and you’re not sure what to say, always take it back to yourself. Put yourself in the answer. This way, the judges can see that you did not let the question overwhelm you and they learned a little bit more about you in the process.

Nia shared so much information from all areas of pageantry that can help you. If you’d like to learn more, contact Robin at Springboard here.

About the author:

Damsel in a Dress, Nia Sanchez, Universal Confidence, Miss USA 2014Shelby Poskochil is a 21 year old junior attending the University of Kansas, but Nebraska is where she calls home. Shelby is currently studying Strategic Communications in the William Allen White School of Journalism & Mass Communications, with a minor in Leadership Studies. She stays involved on campus through her sorority, Sigma Kappa, and multiple clubs and organizations. Shelby currently works as a writer at The Pageant Planet and on her own blog, Damsel in a Dress.








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