I believe you already know the answer to these questions, based on how you formed the second question. Scripture is very clear that a Christian woman should wear “modest apparel,” and that would definitely rule out the thought of participating in a beauty pageant where one is required to wear revealing swimsuits. Here is one passage from the New Testament that should settle the matter.

1st Timothy 2:9-10 say, “In like manner also, that the WOMEN ADORN THEMSELVES WITH MODEST APPAREL, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works” (NKJV).

A “beauty pageant” today represents the very opposite of this exhortation to Christian women, for not only do the participants wear “immodest clothing,” but they usually have exotic hairdos and very costly evening gowns. So, a Christian woman who wants to please the Lord, will surely be convicted by these verses and choose to adorn herself with “good works” instead of sensual and luxurious clothing. I feel compelled to add these well-known words, “Charm is deceitful and BEAUTY IS PASSING, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised” (Proverbs 31:30). Outward beauty is so fleeting and really counts for nothing, but the “fear of the Lord” results in godly praise and will actually be rewarded throughout the endless ages of eternity.

There is one more thing for the Christian woman to consider and that is the EFFECT she would have on men who are, as you say, staring at her. Listen to the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:27-28, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Women in a beauty pageant are “setting men up for a fall” when they don their swimsuits and reveal much of their body to them, causing men to “look at them with lust in their hearts.” Again, how much better to “adorn themselves with good works” which will attract men to their “inner beauty.” This beauty is expressed simply and eloquently in 1st Peter 3:3-4, “Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging your hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—rather let it be the HIDDEN PERSON OF THE HEART, with the INCORRUPTIBLE BEAUTY of a gentle and quite spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.” (295.9) (DO)