First of all, congratulations! NAM is an excellent opportunity. It is expensive, but it is well worth it. My daughter competes in NAM, and this year will be competing for NY Jr. Pre-Teen. We too found out about the pageant through an open call. The way you get invited to an open call is someone who knows you gave them your name and address telling NAM that you would be a good candidate. The pageant is designed to help young women and girls boost their confidence and gain good socialization and interview skills that will take you far in life.
At the open call, you will be given information on the pageant, and you will have an interview with a pageant official. You will not know right away if you will be chosen as a state finalist. You will have to wait a couple weeks for that, state finalists get a phone call, everyone else would just get a letter informing them they were not chosen as a finalist.
If you are chosen as a state finalist, you will have another information session where you will have to pay at least half of your fee.
You do not have to do a talent, but you are given the opportunity if you wish. Any additional extras you choose to do does not in any way effect your chance of winning, it is a completely different competition. The extras, modeling, acting, talent, photogenic are $50 each. You can do as many as you want, and you don't have to do any if you choose not to.
For the $440 pageant fee, they want you to get sponsors for that. Basically what that means is they want you to ask friends and family to help you raise the funds for your pageant fee. Part of the competition is writing thank you letters to your sponsors, which you will present a copy of at the pageant. You also have to do community involvement, but the way they have you do that is donate a stuffed animal for kids in hospitals.
If you are chosen as a state finalist and if you do compete, you are then considered part of the NAM family and are then invited back to the yearly pageants without having to go through the open call session, and you will get a $100 or $200 deduction on you pageant. To get the $200 reduction, you would have to pay your total fee $220, by a deadline, otherwise you would just get the $100 deduction.
One thing to be careful of is the table of cutesy items they have for sale. This is were they'll bleed you dry. The weekend is so magical and spectacular that you'll want to buy stuff. Just be careful, it can be expensive.
If you are chosen and are going to compete, make reservations right away if you will need to travel for it, it's a big weekend and hotels fill up quick.
I wish you the best of luck, good luck at the open call, and if you compete, I wish you luck that you will win!
If you have any other questions, please feel free to message me on answers, I will then give you me email that you can use if you have any questions or need any advice,