Become a Contestant

Participating in the Miss America Organization is one of the most rewarding and beneficial experiences available to young women in the United States. Each year, more than 10,000 young women participate at the local, state, and national levels, culminating in the selection of 52 national finalists who compete for the title of Miss America.

To become Miss America, a contestant must first enter and win a local competition, and then compete to represent her state — a process requiring hard work, talent, and personal commitment. As a state titleholder, a contestant may only compete once at the national Miss America Competition.


Benefits of the Program

  • Gain valuable experience and develop life skills that will benefit your everyday life (i.e. interview skills, public speaking, interpersonal communication, social interaction, etc.);
  • Earn quality scholarship funds for college and graduate school, regardless of whether a title is won;
  • Create awareness of your potential strengths and increase your self-confidence;
  • Find new interests and discover new opportunities;
  • Make lifelong friendships and relationships with your peers, as well as other generations;
  • Gain a sense of accomplishment by using your free time in a positive and constructive manner;
  • Learn to set goals, follow them through, and exceed your expectations;
  • Develop a sense of responsibility for helping others;
  • Foster a positive, self-motivated mindset to achieve your goals; and
  • Receive recognition for your efforts in bettering yourself and your community.

Where to Start

To become a contestant, you must:

  • Be between the ages of 17 and 24;
  • Be a United States citizen;
  • Meet residency requirements for competing in a certain city or state;
  • Meet character criteria as set forth by the Miss America Organization;
  • Be in reasonably good health to meet the job requirements; and
  • Be able to meet the time commitment and job responsibilities as set forth by the local, state, and national competition(s) in which you compete.


If you are interested in becoming a contestant in the Miss New Jersey Pageant, we welcome you to check out the “Local Miss NJ Directors” page to find a local pageant for which you may be eligible.  Eligibility questions can be directed to the local director listed.

Remember, every woman you’ve EVER seen compete on the Miss America stage began at a local pageant!

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