Ivan Nikolov/WENN.com
Ivan Nikolov/WENN.com
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Former Miss USA Shandi Finnessey has the secret to calming nerves just in time for the  Miss Universe Pageant, which airs live from Sao Paolo, Brazil, tonight on NBC.

“I ate a bunch of peppermint candies because I wanted the peppermint to calm my nerves, but the sugar to give me a little sugar rush so that I had a lot of energy,” Shandi, who held the crown in 2004 and will serve as a judge, says.

“I also did a lot of deep breathing, and on the nights before I went to bed, I would do some meditation to calm myself. But it’s like a sisterhood. It’s almost like a sorority with all the girls, a very elite sorority, and so you bond with them and laugh it out and that helps with the nerves.”

When it comes to the evening gown competition, Shandi suggests simple styles rather than high-fashion looks. She knows: She was crowned first runner-up in the 2004 Miss Universe Pageant.

“I like simple with a great fit,” she says. “Nothing beats a really great fit in a dress or any wardrobe. And as long as it’s simple,then you don’t want a girl to come out and go ‘wow, look at that dress.’ You want her to come out and you want to say ‘wow, look at that girl.’ Something that compliments her is usually going to be a little bit more simple.”

Good luck to Miss USA Alyssa Campanella as she competes in the Miss Universe Pageant. Go get ‘em! (I was a preliminary judge for Miss USA.)

Catch the Miss Universe Pageant airing live from Sao Paolo, Brazil, tonight at 9pm on NBC.
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