Beauty contests are generally operated in one of two ways. One type involves corporate sponsors and the entrants must meet eligibility requirements to participate.
The other type of beauty pageant passes the cost onto participants making them responsible for entry fees, food lodging, special costumes, travel, even the cost of the award or crown. Often the contestants are required to get sponsors or sell tickets and advertising to help defray the costs of the contest.
Frequently there is nothing more flattering than receiving an invitation for yourself or your child to enter a beauty or baby pageant. However, it is for this same reason, that people cannot be careful enough in protecting themselves from possible wrongdoing.
In California the laws which may be applicable to beauty pageants include the laws against false advertising, misrepresentation, unfair business practices and fraud. There is no law that prescribes how a pageant must be managed nor how much a pageant can charge prospective contestants. The rules are set by each contest promoter.
Before getting involved in a beauty contest, get some answers.
A legitimate contest promoter will be able to respond to questions with ease. Others may have difficulty in answering, or may vary their answers. Often "shady" businesses will make the
inquirer feel dumb for having asked the question. Do not be intimidated. Recognize a con artist when you see one and do not give him or her your business.
- Who is the promoter or sponsor of the pageant? Are they reputable? What individual is the main coordinator of the event? How can you contact them?
- How did the promoter get your or your child's name? Some pageants have names submitted, others simply pull names from newspapers or magazine subscription lists. Others let you identify your interest in participating through making applications available.
- Who pays for the cost of travel, meals and lodging? Is there a new entry fee at every level of competition? Will photos be required, or special clothing? Is their a refund policy?
- Do you need sponsors or will you have to sell advertising participate?
- Where is the pageant held? Call the facility and ask how long the contest has been held there. Ask if the facility has had any problems with the pageant or the promoter..
Once you have received answers to all your questions, then you can use your judgement to decide whether or not to enter yourself, or your son or daughter in a pageant.