Thursday, November 05, 2009
A Courageous Beauty: Mrs. Utah International 2009-Michele Weeks
Angie: Michele and I met at the Mrs. International 2009 pageant and competed with and against each other. I enjoyed her very much and am so happy to bring her interview to you today. Let's hop right in :-)
How did you learn about various pageants?
Michele: When I was young. I participated in the Miss Maryland America program. I learned about the Mrs. Pageant through the internet.
Angie: What is your platform?
Michele:The “The Art of Being Grateful”. So many people have been able to take a piece of this talk and apply it into their lives. The subject is worth sharing, in our world of constant demands on us; we can easily find ourselves depleted and unthankful. I've had an opportunity to speak to numerous groups on “The Art of Being Grateful” throughout this wonderful state. By breaking down the word GRATEFUL: G-Grateful, R-Rock and Role, A- Attitude…. I’ve been able to share my story and other inspirational stories on overcoming adversities in our lives. I have given my speech to different religious organizations, social groups, and have been ask to be the Keynote Speaker for the Heart Association’s Go Red Luncheon. I have scheduled interviews with channel 2 and 13 where I'll be discussing Utah's number one cause of death, heart disease, and the ways to combat it.
Angie: How did you build your platform and promote your work?
Michele: I know that from personal challenges I suffered in the past as a struggling teen, and in to early adulthood, with bouts of low self-esteem and depression that I can now share and make a difference. It is from these personal difficulties in my own life, and being able to overcome them, that created my desire to help. I wanted hard facts and started to do doing some research on how many people in this area suffers from depression. The numbers are twice the national average, so I decided to take an active role and give people some working tools in helping them find contentment. I wove a short speech together that has all the elements of finding a way for absolutely everyone to be GRATEFUL. I have broken the word down into 8 subheadings; G-Grateful, R- Rock and Roll, A- Attitude, T- Tenacity to Successes, E -Exercise, F -Family Fun, U- The U factor, L -Love, Laugh and Live. It is from this premise that I share my story and hope I inspire others to overcome adversity and depression, seeking a renewed desire to find their own self-worth and personal greatness.
Angie: Why did you decide to compete?
Michele: After I had my 2 children I moved to Utah. I wanted to be more involved in my community. I wanted to meet other women with similar interests (public awareness and involvement.) Women who were passionate about their community. I just had my second son and needed reasons to spend time on myself. I reconnected and discovered what made me uniquely me.
Angie: I think that's a quest every woman should go on. Was this your first pageant?
Michele: No. my first pageant was when I was 16. Junior Miss
Angie: Was/is competition scary?
Michele: Yes and No. I set goals for myself and I am scared I will not reach my goals. My Goal is not always to win.
Angie: What personal fear did you have to overcome?
Michele: The disappointment at the end of the pageant was one. My biggest fear is not fulfilling my soul purpose. I have traveled to or 35 countries and have been involved in numerous international humanitarian projects. I truly enjoyed every moment I experienced overseas. I have been very active in pulling this community together despite religious difference with my speech “Love thy Neighbor.” I am active with the Heart Association and teach individuals the “Art of Being Grateful.” I have been a spokes person for the Orton Dyslexic society and have helped raise awareness about programs available for individuals who suffer from dyslexia.
I love raising my 2 children and enjoy seeing them grow and discover new things. My biggest fear is that I will pass away before I complete my soul purpose. I am still searching for truly why I am here on earth. I just hope when I meet my maker, he will say good job and give me peace in my heart.
Angie: What about your first competition, were you super confident?
Michele: No not at all. Every pageant I entered I walked away with a new knowledge of things I had to work on. Finding out what I think about a situation or how to walk or even a better way to do my hair and make up. Over the years I have become more confident in the way I look and who I am.
Angie: What did you have to learn to compete?
Michele: How to walk. How to show the judges who I am in a short amount of time. And that we are all equals, the judges are my equal, the other contestents are my equal even the people running the pageant are my equal. I will win only if they are looking for someone like myself for the crown.
Angie: Tell us about what you have been able to do as Mrs. Utah International 2009:
Michele:Wow so much. What a great experience. Being Mrs. Utah International truly has given me the chance to help they community to be more Grateful. Please check out my website at MicheleWeeks.net
Angie: What do you still want to achieve?
Michele: I have worked as a local news report, assistant lobbyist, an actress in New York, and now a full time Mom (which I love). My Dream job would be to become a motivational public speaker helping others enjoy this adventure called life. There are many topics I would love to speak on: "The Art of Being Grateful", "Finding your Soul Purpose", and " Is it Really One World Under God?"
Not only would my dream job include speaking to others, but also listening to people. I truly believe we are here on earth to connect with each other and help each other on this Adventure Called Life. I have not given up on my dream of getting "What's America Up To" produced and help people feel more in control of this government.
Angie: There's an idea in society that pageants are just skin deep. How would you answer that?
Michele: They have never been in a pageant. I remember one pageant I asked a fellow contestant why she entered the pageant. Her answer was “I entered the pageant to show my 10 year daughter to get involved because you want to without the fear of winning or making the team, but just because it is something you have always wanted to try."
Another young lady entered because she was shy and wanted to push her self out of her comfort zone. If she could walk on stage in a swimsuit, talking to a new friend would seem like a peace of cake. May be the people who think pageants are just skin deep and not taking the time to get to know the contestants.
Angie: The media has given Americans the idea that pageant girls/women are not intelligent and accomplished. What kind of an education do you have?
Michele: I have a BA in Communications from Towson University. I was nationally ranked in College Debate and Public Speaking. I have traveled to over 35 countries and have done numerous community service projects overseas.
Angie: Do you have other creative talents you pursue?
Michele: I love public speaking and raising community awareness. I have a program I would love to get produced call "What’s America Up to!” this program is designed to educate the average American what the government is doing and how to be an active member of society with out spending to much time out of their day. I love coming up with new ideas for companies and truly love problem solving.
Angie: Why is it important for a person to look their best?
Michele: I don’t think a person has to look their best all the time. Many times I go out of the house without any makeup. I think it is important for a person to be healthy and exercise and eat right so they can live a long healthy life. I like the challenge to see if I can get my 40 + body to look better then I looked when I was 20. I think it is important for a person to be comfortable with who they are so that they can get the respect they deserve and if that means you feel you have to look your best all the time, then do it.
Angie: What do you hope to achieve with your title long term?
Michele: Bring awareness to how truly blessed we are. Change people's point of view to being more grateful and less needy. To embrace our lives and learn how to be happy.
Angie: Would you share about your fashion favorites, flair, or a tip that makes you feel beautiful?
Michele: When I am eating right and exercising, I feel beautiful. When I am helping others find joy in their lives, I feel beautiful. Plus I love wearing Hats. Hats can cover up bad hair days and adds joy in my life.
Angie: I love that you love wearing hats. I don't look good in them and wish I did. :-) What are your plans after your title ends?
Michele: My title has ended. I plan to raise my kids to be smart, active members of society. I hope to have a strong loving marriage. I want to continue to speak about the Art of Being Grateful and help the American Heart Association develop more awareness about preventive measures to prevent heart disease. I have a company I want to form and 2 short books I want to write. I am teaching skiing to children this fall at Snow Bird and will continue to do my part time acting career.
Angie: What compliment do you receive most often?
Michele: I am very real and easy to be around. People feel like they can be open with me and I find that to be the best compliment of all.
Angie: What are you most confident about?
Michele: Who I am and what I believe. I love learning about other religions and cultures. I am confident enough to have an open mind and listen to another person's perspective. Life is a long journey of learning and revelation where we fit in this world. I am happy with who I am and eager to learn more.
Angie: How did you earn that sense of confidence?
Michele: Soul searching. I spent most of my teens and early 20’s depressed. But I stop playing the victim and took responsibility for my life and its direction. I started to work hard to become the person I knew I was. And working hard at parts of my life that I knew was not my true authentic self. I became happy with who I was, and after I recognized my great gifts that I had to offer the world, I began to recognize other people's gifts. Instead of feeling threatened or jealous of what my friends had, I rejoiced in their talents and blessings. I know I have more life lessons to work on but I am confident I am where I need to be today. I am equal with my fellow man not better not worse. Not more important or less important then my neighbor. . . I now value my unique gifts I can offer in this world and hope everyone finds their own unique gifts that make them who they are. From this place my quiet confidences grew.
Angie: Wow, you are an inspiration. Thank you so much.