What Are The Judges Looking For?

bikiini competitions what judges are looking for and scoring

I am so excited to start this series True Life: I’m A Bikini Competitor!  I get so many questions about competing and I feel that it’s my job to help educate others about the process.

I was once so in the dark as to what competing and prep entailed.  In fact, I used to make fun of people who competed.  I said it was for people who were superficial, and that judging the “back pose” was just a way to be flashy and sexual.  I even said “people who compete are always miserable because of their diets.  They probably have self-image and eating issues.”


When I think about people saying these things about me, it hurts!

I realize how ignorant I was and I hope to shed some light on the subject (and offer some tips to those who are considering competing.)  Please know that I am an open book, so if you are curious about something, just drop me a comment below!

I figured I should start with the most common question that people have in regards to competing and something that I completely misunderstood until I decided to compete:

What are the judges looking for and “why do you stick your butt out?”

I know this sounds so silly, but I used to think that bikini competitions were so sleezy and the judges were probably just some old perverted dudes looking at chicks in tiny bikinis for their own benefit.

The judges are actually using specific criteria to score and place each contestant.  They study each competitor with an aesthetic mindset.  It’s not sexual, it’s a sport.

Rules posted here which state:

  • Competitors will compete in a two-piece suit. The bottom of the suit must be v-shaped. No thongs are permitted.
  • Walk to the center of the stage , stop and do a front stance, then a full turn and do a back stance,   then turn to the front again, face the judges as directed then proceed to the side of the stage.  No lewd acts are permitted. Length of time allowed is 10 seconds.

Scoring is based on the following criteria:

  • Balance and Shape
  • Overall physical appearance including complexion, skin tone, poise and overall presentation.

When we arrive at the competition, we have to check in and our suit must be worn to make sure that it meets the criteria.  Also, while backstage, our suit is glued to us for a few reasons: 1) If any part of our genitals show, we are disqualified.  2) Our bodies are judged on being symmetrical (balance and shape) so our suit needs to stay in place so that it doesn’t move and create the illusion of one glute being larger than the other.

What are the judges looking for:

The Front Pose

kayla tyburski front pose NPC bikini competitor

Judges are looking for overall balance such as shoulders being proportionate to upper body size.  The quads and hamstrings  should be balanced.  They also want to see a narrow waist with some abdominal definition.  They will score lower if a competitor is too “soft” or too lean showing too much vascularity or striations of the muscle.

The Back Pose

kayla tyburski front pose NPC bikini competitor

At the posing clinic I attended, head judge Gary Udit explained that although some girls move their hair to show their back and shoulders, judges are only interested in the waist and below.  The glutes should be round and shaped with some leanness to show the hamstring/glute tie-ins.  It’s also important to have some definition where judges can see the quad sweep from the back.  (Some federations prefer the hair to be moved and will judge the upper body.)


kayla tyburski posing NPC bikini competitor

This falls under overall presentation.  The judges want to see your personality without being too flirty and distracting.  They like to see confidence, good posture, and that you are having fun.  You can be marked down if your posing isn’t smooth and natural or for stumbling.

Just so you can see my posing, I’ve attached my video here.  This video was my first competition at Dave Liberman’s Natural Northern.

I still have a lot to learn and more work to do before I hit the stage again.  Gain train is full steam ahead during this mini off-season!  You can watch my journey by following me on IG @kaylavashti.

WP-Backgrounds Lite by InoPlugs Web Design and Juwelier Schönmann 1010 Wien