Saturday, November 07, 2009

A Courageous Beauties Interview:Mrs. Colorado International 2009-Michelle Fields

Introducing my friend, Michelle Fields, Mrs. Colorado International 2009. She's a rock solid woman with an unusual platform for a beauty queen. I'd never met a woman out promoting Boy Scouts. But I immediately loved it, being a mom of 3 sons myself. I think our culture has been very difficult for our sons and love that there is a woman out in our world building the men up of the next generation and helping to teach them character, perseverance, and community service to God and country.

Angie: How did you learn about pageants?

Michelle: I actually competed in pageants in high school. I was originally invited by a recommendation letter from my school. At some point in my adult life I caught a broadcast of the Mrs. America Pageant when it was in Hawaii. When I decided to try again in pageants, I Googled Mrs. Colorado and was sent to their website.

Angie: What is your platform?

Michelle: My platform is simply Boy Scouts of America. I am married to an Eagle Scout, have 3 out my 4 children active in Scouting and am myself a Scouter (adult volunteer) as a Den Leader and Merit Badge Counselor. I do actually take the uniform off at night.

Angie: How do you build your platform and promote your work?

Michelle: I personally give about 3-4 hours per week in volunteer hours to Boy Scouts. I have been active this past year with our local Council and have worked alongside the Marketing Director for many events including the Boy Scout Show.

Angie: Why did you decide to compete?

Michelle: After the birth of my fourth child, I was very out of shape. Over the next four years, I worked hard to get back into shape by eating healthy and exercising. After all that work, I wondered what to do next. I had competed in bodybuilding competitions and pageants in my early adult life. Then I realized I still had a dream to win a crown. I also believe that it was important to set goals and achieve them by overcoming obstacles as a role model for my children. That was when I called the director to compete.

Angie: Was this your first pageant?

Michelle: The Mrs. International Pageant was actually my fifth pageant total. I did two as a teen and three as an adult. I actually won my fourth pageant or second as an adult. I competed in three different systems total.

Angie: Was/is competition scary?

Michelle: Scary isn’t the emotion it evokes for me. I feel exhilaration and at the same time I can feel intimidated. I can place high value on what the judges think of me or I can let that part go and just do my best. The one pageant where I didn’t care what the judges thought of me I won. I think that for me, I can psyche myself out easily. That is more “scary” to me than what others think.

Angie: What personal fear did you have to overcome?

Michelle: Competing at the Mrs. International pageant would require being able to answer a question on stage in 30 seconds or less. That one possible event scared me so much that I actually prayed that if I wasn’t going to win that I wouldn’t make top 10 so I wouldn’t have to do that. So, in reality, I don’t think I did overcome it, which is probably a reason why I didn’t do as well at Nationals. I was so scared of the onstage question. I did get a chance to practice on stage, so that helped me not be as afraid.

Angie: What about your first competition, were you super confident?

Michelle: Oh, yes! And each time I came out realizing that I couldn’t be successful on my own. That is when I would contact a coach.

Angie: What did you have to learn to compete?

Michelle: A coach was so helpful in articulating what I knew in my heart. Each time I worked with a coach, they would help me better define who I am, what my goals are and what I have to offer as a title holder. That was the biggest thing to learn.

Angie: Tell us about what you have been able to do as Mrs. Colorado International 2009:

Michelle: As Mrs. Colorado International, I have made over 50 appearances. That was one of my biggest goals when I won the crown. I have also been part of the Colorado Royalty Association. This is a huge group of title holders who come together to support various charities and to support one another. I have also had the joy of working with queens from other systems and the sense of accomplishment that comes from working together toward a common goal.

Angie: Please tell us about a goal, why it's been a goal, and what it means to you?

Michelle: My latest goal is to become an aerobics instructor. Since my first Jazzercise class in high school, I have wanted to help others achieve their fitness goals. My chosen class is Turbo-Kick. This would mean so much to me to be able to give back to my community this way.

Angie: What do you still want to achieve?

Michelle: My latest project is a stress management and coping strategies curriculum called “Just Breath”. After Mrs. International, I experienced mild depression. When I talked about it with other pageant contestants, many of them experienced what I have since found out to be called Post Competition Depression. It is very real and common in the sporting world, I have not seen it acknowledged in the Pageant world yet. I would like to see it addressed. I also thought about what age should a person learn to deal with stress and I really think Middle School is a good time to learn this. Statistics prove that people who have good stress management are less likely to engage in risky behaviors. So I am currently working on how to get this curriculum in the local Middle Schools as a supplement to their Health Classes.

Angie: There's an idea in society that pageants are just skin deep. How would you answer that?

Michelle: I would say to take a closer look at what today’s “beauty queens” are achieving. Even the pageants that aren’t platform based are encouraging their queens to use the crown to promote their cause. I would love to know how many hours a year all the queens put together donate back to their communities. I am sure the number would be in the millions.

Angie: Ooh, Michelle, I love that question. Beauty queens, if you are reading this, please post how many hours a year you've been working in your community! I have to think about that and look back at my day timer, but I'll put it in the comments later. The media has given Americans the idea that pageant girls/women are not intelligent and accomplished. What kind of an education do you have?

Michelle: I have a BA degree in Speech/Communications from Penn State University that I have used in teaching a variety of classes over the years. I have countless hours of continuing education on top of that. I believe it is so important to keep learning.

Angie: What is your "day job?"

Michelle: Besides being a homemaker to my husband and four children, I am also a bookkeeper for both my mom and husband. My mother owns an auto shop while my husband and I own, along with my father-in-law, a kitchen and bath remodeling franchise called Kitchen Tune-Up. I am blessed to work mostly from home.

Angie: Do you have other creative talents you pursue?

Michelle: I love to sing and have sung in choirs and groups since I was three. Up until recently, I was involved in my churches praise band as well as one of the leaders for our youth praise band. Unfortunately, our church shut its doors permanently in August. We have been searching for a new church home since.

Angie: Do you think it is important for a person to look their best?

Michelle: Whether or not we like it, we are all judged by how we look. With that said, I believe it is important to look our best. When I am going out, I tend to dress in a business like manner. I confess that I am primarily a jeans and t-shirt girl since I work from home. I even worked in my pj’s once just so I could say I did it. It was fun, but I don’t recommend it.

Angie: Would you share about your fashion favorites, flair, or a tip that makes you feel beautiful?

Michelle: I love to dress up since I spend so much time dressed down. My personal style when I do dress nicely is fitted sheath dresses and skirts. Nothing makes me feel more beautiful than to see a smile or sparkle in my husband’s eye when he sees me.

Angie: What are your plans now after your title has ended?

Michelle: My plans are to continue helping the Colorado International Pageant program expand and grow; to promote my “Just Breath” program to Middle Schools around the state and across the nation; and to get my Turbo Kick instructor certificate. Will I compete again in pageants? We’ll see…

Angie: What compliment do you receive most often?

Michelle: I am complimented on my eyes the most. That means a lot to me since I do believe they are “the window to the soul”.

Angie: What are you most confident about and how did you earn that sense of confidence?

Michelle: I am most confident in who I am. I can honestly attribute that to my parents. I never doubted when I was growing up, that my parents loved me unconditionally. That has translated into understanding God’s unconditional love for me. No matter what crown I wear, I am proudest to be a daughter of the one true King.

Angie: What would you like to share?

Michelle: I believe that you are never too old to achieve your dreams and that as a parent it is important to be that role model to your children. I believe that by my going after my goals in life I am showing my own children how to achieve goals they have set in their lives and how to overcome obstacles. I am actually seeing the fruit of this through my two oldest children who are not following the typical path society would place on them for success in their careers. I am so proud of them. If I can do it, anyone can.
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