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Become a Contestant



Open Pageants: You must be a resident, full-time employee, or full-time student at a college or university in Illinois.

Closed Pageants: You must be a resident of the specified county, full-time employee in the specified county, or full-time student in a college or university located in the specified county.

College Pageants: You must be a full-time student at the listed college or university.

Festival and Fair Titleholders: If you are currently holding a festival or fair title that does NOT have a state or national pageant it leads to, you are eligible to compete in the Miss Illinois Scholarship Pageant. Email for more information!


To compete in the Miss Illinois Scholarship Pageant, a contestant must first win a local preliminary pageant. Some locals are open and some have specific geographic eligibility requirements, based on where you live, attend school full-time, or work full-time.

Step 1: Find a Local Pageant in Your Area

To find a local pageant in your area, visit our Local Pageants page.

Step 2: Determine Your Eligibility

Contestants must be between the ages of 17 and 25. Contestants must not turn 26 before December 31, 2019. You must also be a resident of Illinois, full time student at a college or university in Illinois, or employed full time in the state of Illinois.

For a detailed list of eligibility requirements, click here.


  • Private Interview: Each contestant participates in an individual 10-minute press conference-style interview with our panel of judges. There are typically 5 judges on a panel. Contestants are questioned on their background as presented on their fact sheet, their educational and career goals, their opinions on current events and social issues, and their interests, hobbies and extracurricular activities.
  • Lifestyle and Fitness in Swimsuit: Each contestant briefly appears on stage in a one or two piece swimsuit and footwear of her own choosing.
  • Talent: Contestants perform a 90 second routine of their own choosing. Some possible talents include all types of singing, dancing, gymnastics, instrumental music, dramatic or comedy monologues, baton twirling and ventriloquism.
  • Evening Gown: Each contestant appears on stage in an outfit of her own choosing, representative of what she would wear to a formal, black tie social event. Pantsuits, cocktail dresses and evening gowns are all appropriate for this phase of the competition.
  • On-Stage Question: Each contestant will be asked one on-stage questions.


The road to Miss America begins in a town near you. To find your local pageant in Illinois, visit the Local Pageants page.