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What Kinds of Pageant Interview Questions Are Asked at Miss Universe?


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Miss Universe interview questions vary widely from year to year. On-stage they have included everything from what makes a contestant blush (Question for Miss Russia Universe 2002) to what 3o-second message a contestant would convey to a global terrorist (Question for Miss USA 2014).

Variety in Pageant Interview Questions asked at Miss Universe 

This comes from the diverse background of the Miss Universe judges as well as an attempt to keep things interesting for the live TV broadcast of the pageant. In addition to the on-stage questions from the judges, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant added something new to the mix with a viewer submitted question that was asked to all of the finalists, while the others wear noise-canceling headphones so that they do not have an unfair advantage, this has new audience incorporated question has been continued.

Another reason that the Miss Universe questions can vary so widely is that judges can make them up, according to Scott Lazerson, “professional connector” and preliminary Miss Universe judge in 2011.

Judges Getting to Know the Contestants

When questions are not about equality, the status of women in the world, and problems that youth face today, the questions center around the  views and positions of the contestants. Questions might also touch on who the contestant is as a person and to see how she carries herself.  (Read: What is the Best Posture for a Pageant Interview?)

For the most part, the preliminary interview is for the judges to get to know the contestants personally and to achieve the challenging task of narrowing down the near-90 contestants to the 15 semi-finalists. They each have a 10 minute interview time frame, during which the judges look for poise, charm, self-confidence, and an ability to communicate.

Pageant Questions Designed to Evalaute Communication Skills

The winner of Miss Universe has the responsibilities of Miss USA of communicating competently with both the owners and shareholders of the organization as well as the local people that the winner aids with her platform. The winner of Miss Universe also must do both of these tasks while competently communicating across cultural barriers. (Read: How to Win Miss Universe With Paulina Vega)

The Miss Universe pageant is different from the Miss USA pageant in that for many contestants there is a translator and this prolongs the on-stage question portion of the competition. They are given 30 seconds to answer the question, but unlike with the Miss America pageant, the time is not kept for those watching at home and many contestants go slightly over or under their allotted 30 seconds to answer the question.

This is also the first time that we hear the contestants speak up on the stage since their initial introduction and so many contestants take this time to greet the audience before beginning the answer to their question. (Read: How to Master Onstage Introduction)

Although the preliminary interview is one-third of the initial score for contestants, the actual answer factors in a lot less than the way that it is given. Questions can be confused across the language barrier, but this does not typically affect contestants scores overall. Interview questions onstage at Miss Universe typically fall into three categories:

1) Questions on the Status of Women in the World

This question tends to appear in some way every year on stage at Miss Universe. The questions vary a lot but in some form ask about how women are treated, what contestants would change to improve conditions for women, challenges to women in the future, or women in political office.

This is not surprising as there are always improvements that could be made globally to improve women’s rights and the Miss Universe pageant’s focus on being confidently beautiful and providing opportunities for young women.

2) Questions on a Current Global Issue

As the Miss Universe pageant has contestants coming from totally different countries, unless pertaining to a global threat such as terrorism, these questions are usually very broad. They ask contestants questions such as what they hope to achieve for their countries, the impact of the internet on today’s youth, the lack of jobs for young people, and what would happen if we could no longer use the internet.

The more specific the question, usually the more broad the contestant’s answer may be. So unlike in the Miss America pageant, a detailed question at Miss Universe can actually be simpler to answer.

3) Questions on the Titleholder Personally 

The last category of questions typically asked at Miss Universe is about the contestant. Again, these questions can be composed in a lot of different ways, but the contestant is usually asked about what she wants to accomplish, something about her hopes/dreams/fears, or her role as Miss Universe.

The contestants usually have the best answers for this category of question as they are similar to the questions asked in the preliminary interview round. These are also typically the easiest questions to answer as the answers are more straight forward and pageant contestants have lots of experience answering questions about themselves and their platforms and goals.

That being said, the audience is always excited to hear a question on something new, so we’ll see what topics come up for the on-stage questions Sunday at the Miss Universe 2015 pageant.

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