Everyone will remember the night of a competition: the glamour, the dress, the graceful sashay across the stage. What they don’t remember, or even know takes place, is the months and months of preparation taken on by every pageant contender involved. They are blissfully unaware of the grueling talent rehearsals, the tedious wardrobe fittings, and the hours in the gym. And because most pageant girls know how to put on an effortless show, they will never know of it either. 

Jaleesa Patterson is one of those pageant girls. Making it all seem just too easy, Jaleesa has competed in pageantry for the greater portion of a decade and knows how to prepare efficiently for a competition. This week, 5 Question takes notes from Jaleesa’s preparation routine, while finding out a few other essentials from the multi-talented contender.

1)We heard that you have recently competed in a pageant! What is your preparation routine for pageants and do you see more competitions in your future?

There is a lot of prep work that goes into competing, and I usually take about two to three months to prepare. I use this time to decide and finalize my pageant wardrobe as well as my hair and make- up. If there is a talent portion, I usually start rehearsals two months in advance. I also take this time to practice my walking and posing for stage. This is also the time that I am working out more just to make sure I am in the best physical state I can be in, and also to build up my stamina for competing.

I have only been competing for six years and definitely see more pageants in my future. I have competed in the Miss America organization, Miss USA organization, and the Miss Black USA organizations respectively. I actually have a pageant that I am starting to prepare for in March. I love competing. I have gained so much from pageantry.  

2)What sparked your interest in pageants and how did you break into the industry?

I was about 15 when I started competing and I decided to do my first pageant because I thought that it would be a fun experience. I had so much fun that I decided to compete the following year, and the year after. Once I did one pageant I was hooked and wanted to do more.

3)What was the best piece of advice someone ever gave you, and what advice do you have for any girls getting into pageantry?

The best piece of advice that someone ever gave me was to always be myself and not try to be someone or something that I’m not. Judges can see right through that.
I would tell girls who want to do pageants to just do it. I have grown so much from my pageant experiences, and I learned a lot about myself from my time in pageants that I would encourage other women to get involved. Just always be yourself when you compete. Don’t focus on what the other people in the pageant are doing because your biggest competition is really yourself.

4)With Christmastime essentially here, what is your go-to beauty secret?

My skin gets really dry around this time, so I use a lot of moisturizing lotions and lip balm. I also carry lip balm and lotion just so I can moisturize while I am on the go.

5)What do you think the recent presidential election says about the future of this country?

I think that the election of the first African-American president has left a lot of people, not just minorities, feeling inspired. I have always felt like Barack Obama was not just a black candidate, but a candidate for all people. The United States is a melting pot of different cultures and races, and this election has shown that.
Quick Facts!

Name: Jaleesa Patt
Age: 21
Hometown: Chicago
Education: Augustana College in Rock Island, IL (Communication Studies)
Titles: Miss Black Rock Island USA 2013, 1st runner-up to Miss Mississippi Crown 2012
Organizations: NormaLeah Ovarian Cancer Foundation, Martin Luther King Center (Rock Island), Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois, Ladies of Vital Essence, Augustana Black Student Union

Contact: jaleesapatterson09@augustana.edu