Private Pageant Coaching wasn't in my budget when I competed for the title of Mrs. Pennsylvania International 2013.
Nonetheless, if you want to get the inside advice of top pageant coaches while being fiscally responsible, I recommend the following:
Buy Suzy Bootz's book from her website: http://www.suzybootz.com/
**I almost finished reading this book by pageant week, but read the bulk of it several months before competing. I recommend reading the entire book several months before you compete and then reviewing it the week before competition. I found that it really helped lead me in a positive direction of "knowing" myself, being confident, and being completely at peace with the pageant results.
From Valerie Hayes, I used the following: 501 Pageant Questions for Mrs/Ms, Mastering the Pageant Interview, and Stop Saying 10 Stupid Things. You can purchase these items from her website:
**I listened to Stop Saying 10 Stupid Things while driving the four hours to the pageant. It was definitely "last minute" preparation, so I would recommend using this tool just as I recommend using Suzy's book: a few months before the pageant and as a refresher immediately before the pageant. Regardless of my last minute, I still believe that it helped me in the interview room!
Some of the best money that I spent - a makeup lesson with Fran Krauss (wife of photographer Richard Krauss)
Contact Richard for some incredible headshots as well as to schedule a makeup lesson with Fran.
I have had multiple makeup lessons in the past. I always find that "refresher" lessons are well worth the investment. My husband hates when I wear makeup, but even he felt that my makeup techniques learned from Fran were flattering (he still hates makeup, but concedes that this is the best makeup I have ever done for myself).
Last, but certainly not the least, get a group of girlfriends from pageantry! My girlfriend group, who all competed within the International system, gave me the best advice of all because they can be brutally honest with me! Having a group of happily married close friends is a great reminder that, at the end of the day, the pageant means very little in comparison to your relationship with your spouse, family, and friends. Keeping perspective allowed me to "experience" and "enjoy" the moments from the state pageant.