Pageant expert Ashley Newman.

What’s the best way to describe the butterflies of a first date and the thrill of bungee jumping? Two words: pageant week(end)! It’s fun. It’s intense. You may leave with all kinds of free stuff!  But it’s also terrifying as it’s the homestretch of all of your competition preparation, and the determining moments before leaving with a crown or leaving with the experience. In Part 1 of How To Survive Pageant Week(end), you were instructed to stop practicing to 3 AM and go to bed. In Part 2, your assignment is to eat something, even if you’re too excited to worry about good nutrition. 


“When it comes to eating well and not stressing  during pageant week, you must listen to your body. Being too restrictive will do more harm than good. Ensure you consume a variety of foods that are rich in protein, high in fiber, packed with vitamins and low in fat,” said 25 year- old pageant veteran Ashley Newman of Illinois.

Connie Bennett, the other half of wellness gurus Connie and Coco Bennett of Rancho La Puerta Spa in Tecate, Mexico, agrees, stating that proper eating is a must. Though you’re anxious, ready to get it over with, nervous, exhilarated, wondering if you can walk in your heels, a pageant girl in competition has to remember that nutrition is ½ of the cocktail that makes a contender a winner. Boasting a 30 year career in the health industry, Connie swears by the benefits of a balanced diet, especially to aid stress. “Avoid skipping meals and crash dieting. Every 2-3 hours, eat something healthy like a tuna sandwich, yogurt and nuts, apple and cheese, bagel and cheese. This will keep up your energy, brain power, and your good attitude.

Ashley Newman, crowning moment.

I eat 5-6 times a day. That’s 3 main meals and 2-3 snacks. For the most part, I follow the 80/20 rule: eat clean and lean 80% of the time, and eat wacky 20% of the time.” If you were wondering it, I asked it already. What does that really mean? Connie broke down her eating plan as this:

  • “Breakfast on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I eat green smoothie. 
  • Breakfast on Tuesday and Thursday, I eat a banana protein shake. 
  • Breakfast on Saturday, I eat yogurt and granola cereal. 
  • Breakfast on Sunday, I eat whole wheat waffles with maple syrup. 
  • For lunches, I like a soup and sandwich. I’ll switch it up with a different soup and sandwich each day. 
  • For dinner, I like a good salad and soup. 
  • For snacks, I enjoy healthy fun stuff like muffins, almonds, peanut butter and banana, yogurt popsicles.”
Connie Bennett, health and fitness expert.

Our experts also maintain that you have to kill the sweet tooth. “I have a stubborn sweet tooth and love caffeine. But when it comes to preparing for competition, I try to cut back on my beloved sweets and focus on increasing my water and protein intake,” said Ashley. “Some of my favorite go-to’s are protein juice smoothies, yogurt, bananas and apples.”

Ashley maintains that following these will keep you together mentally. “When you leave for competition, bring with you a few of the healthy snacks you to like eat to help maintain your eating habits while away. Taking care of your body will allow you to focus on preparation mentally, ultimately building your confidence and eliminating stress.”

Connie and Coco Bennett, wellness gurus and animal rights activists.



Any way it goes, not coming up with some sort of plan could hurt even the most prepared competitor’s energy level. Connie says,“Whenever your diet is lacking, energy drops, performance drops, and eventually health declines. You end up being too sick to perform well and feeling disappointed and unhappy with yourself. It’s an ugly downward spiral that can be avoided by eating well and eating regularly.” 

Imani Josey

Imani is a writer from Chicago, Illinois. After graduating Howard University in Washington, DC, Imani received her Masters from Northwestern University. Sometime during all of that studying, she danced professionally for the Chicago Bulls as a (Luvabulls) cheerleader, and won the titles of Miss Chicago and Miss Cook County for the Miss America Organization, as well as Miss Black Illinois USA. Read her short story “North” in the forthcoming Hidden Youth anthology, out November 2016 by Crossed Genres.

More Posts - Website