Think you’re a pageant expert because you’ve seen every episode of Toddlers and Tiaras? Think again. Pageantry, specifically in the case of Miss America, goes far beyond the one night you see broadcasted on TV. Miss America 2017, Savvy Shields, can vouch for that. As a part of her title and scholarship, she’s spent the last year traveling around the world promoting her “Eat Better, Live Better” platform, visiting organizations, and low-key becoming a pro at packing and running in heels.
The Arkansas native stopped by the InStyle HQ to chat with us about the inside world of the Miss America competition, and while we were learning about how it took her five years to prep for her role, she also revealed the beauty secrets we’ve always wanted to know. How do 50 women get ready together backstage and all look flawless—without one swipe of lipstick on their teeth or any deodorant on their dresses? And what beauty tricks have they picked up over the years?
For Savvy Shields, on top of admitting she can do her hair and makeup in only 14 minutes (!!!), she’s mastered the art of a quick and perfect manicure thanks to one drugstore beauty buy. KISS Press-On Nails ($7; target.com).
"I don’t have time to get my nails done, so trying to find things for on-the-road and are easy to get, that’s what I’ve become a pro at,” says Shields. “I love them. I don’t have time to paint them. I just need to press then and go.”
But her drugstore know-how doesn’t stop at nail products. In fact, Shields told us that she fully relies on them for her entire routine.
“Being Miss America, I have to travel the country and I’m only in airports or there’s a Walgreen’s next door—my favorite products are the ones I can get at Walgreen’s,” she explains. “My CoverGirl concealer or the L’Oreal foundation and things that I can very easily access—they’re my favorite.” We even watched her put on her crown with only two bobby pins. For the record, we have a hard time making a headband stay in place.
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As for how she got ready for the bathing suit portion of the evening one year ago? “To get used to being in a bikini and high heels, I would just wear it all the time,” she told InStyle during a Facebook Live video. "Just like in my house, trying to make it feel normal. It’s such an unprecedented, uncomfy situation... I would just wear that all the time to make sure it was normal. I’ll be OK not having to do that again.”
Returning to Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall, Miss America 2018 airs on Sunday, September 10th at 9 p.m. EST on ABC.