If someone said to me a few years ago that I would win a pageant title, then move to another state, get appointed a state title and compete in an international pageant, I would have thought….WHAT?
Winning, let alone competing in a beauty pageant at age 51, was something not on my radar a few years back. Let’s unwind time a bit to see where I was…
When I turned 49, it was 2019 and I had big plans for turning 50 the next year. My husband and I talked about a big trip to Vegas, my best friend was planning on coming, and we were going to see Lady Gaga and paint the town red!
2020 came…and well, you know the rest. Not only did we get locked down in California, but my husband got deployed and he was away for several months. No big birthday, obviously.
Then in early 2021 I saw a post on Instagram for a local pageant. This pageant, Solano County Pageants, had an age division for women 50 and over. I was so surprised, because I didn’t think there were any pageants for women my age, let alone for anyone married. Feeling like a sloth after a year of wearing nothing but leggings and loose tops, I missed dressing up and I knew I had put on weight. I don’t mind being curvy, but I DO mind feeling sloppy and without energy.
A part of me thought I was crazy to sign up because – I do NOT look like the typical pageant girl.
- I have short, purple hair.
- I am not a size 2.
However, as a body positivity advocate, I knew I had something to say, and if I didn’t win the title, I could share my story and represent for the big girls!
For 3 months I trained. I joined a gym and not only lost some weight but I just felt better, overall. I learned how to walk for the fitness competition (no swimsuit), evening gown, created an introductory speech, and brushed up on my interview skills. I teach speech communications, so I felt very comfortable speaking with the judges.
And what do you know….I won!
But then…life threw me a curveball.
Just a couple of months into my new reign, my husband received orders for us to move to Mississippi! I was crushed. Despite this, I did as many appearances as I could before we left California, and even helped to organize a Body Positivity Fashion Show with the local Macy’s. Being able to model and speak about the importance of loving our bodies at any size was definitely a highlight for me.
A new opportunity
After moving to Mississippi, I realized that I wanted to continue serving as a queen, but my local title wouldn’t likely translate well in my new area. I started to search for local pageants, state pageants, and then I came across the Queen of the World Pageant.
“Beauty Redefined” is this pageant’s motto, and that really spoke to me. I decided to take a chance and apply.
After a Zoom interview with the pageant’s CEO and founder Alice Lee Giannetta, I was offered the title of Elite Mrs. Mississippi! I would be competing in the Elite division (50 and over) at the international pageant in March 2022. However, it was late November when I was awarded the title and I did not have a ton of time to prepare. So, it was time to step up my game!