Tuesday, November 03, 2009

A Courageous Beauty: Ms. North America Galaxy 2009 Janet Bierer

Angie: I met a lovely lady recently. She's Janet Bierer and holds the title Ms. North America Galaxy 2009. She and I have had the most fun walking together at the American Heart Association event (that's where we met) and working several other charity events together even though we are from different pageant associations. She's always smiling! Janet owns a salon here in Montana called Blush. I love that she gets the concept of giving back to her community!

Angie: How did you learn about various pageants?

Janet: I remember being in High School and reading about pageants in Seventeen Magazine, but that has definitely changed. Lately, I learn about pageants through the internet. I’ve been involved in pageants for so long, that I also learn about them from fellow contestants. I actually met the first Ms. Galaxy International – JoEl Lacey, in Las Vegas while watching the Miss America pageant. She bragged about Maria and the Galaxy system so much, and allowed me to try on her crown, that I couldn’t help but want to get involved with this system.

Angie: What is your platform?

Janet: Mentoring a village – Every child needs an extra parent-like mentor.

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

Janet: My platform is my life – literally. Not only do I have 2 children, but I have also had another 8 I have helped raise. And another one who may be coming to stay with me soon. Most of these kids have had troubles in their own homes, and yet aren’t ready to be out on their own. I take a lot of pleasure in being apart of their lives, and watching them become adults.

Angie: Why did you decide to compete?

Janet: There are so few pageants that have a “Ms.” Division. I enjoy the challenge of competition, and am constantly searching for a pageant that has a good reputation for professionalism & accomplishments. Of course, the regal title and crown are pretty cool too!

Angie: Was this your first pageant?

Janet: Heavens, no. I have been competing for 26 years. I have held a state, national or international title every year for the past 15 years.

Angie: Was/is competition scary?

Janet: At first, YES! But each time you compete, you learn how to handle the adrenaline rush of fear, and turn it into the pleasure rush of achievement.

Angie: What personal fear did you have to overcome?

Janet: Public Speaking was always hard for me. I barely passed Speech & Debate in High School, because I was too afraid to give any of the speeches. And 22 years later I won an award for Interview.

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

Janet: Oh no! And I didn’t do well. I wore a pink, knee length dress for the Evening gown competition. Used “yes & no” answers in my interview and wore my glasses on stage for each area of competition. I had no idea what I was doing, but learned a lot, and made so many friends.

Angie: Lol, knee length must have caused a stir. What did you have to learn to compete?

Janet: You do have to learn to compete – you learn FROM competing. Of course it helps to get a little coaching in the areas of modeling, interview or fashion.

Angie: Tell us about what you have been able to do as Ms. North America Galaxy:

Janet: I lost track of how many appearances I have made with my Galaxy title, I have made appearances for Special Olympics, Hospice, American Heart Association, Susan G. Komen Foundation, Relay for Life, Ducks Unlimited, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Ronald McDonald House Charities, the Jayden Fred Foundation, Big Brother’s & Sisters, as well as attending many pageants, helping at health fairs, modeling for fashion shows, hosting and being a spokesmodel at events, mentoring for school children, read to children, thrown out the first pitch at a baseball game, cutting hair for homeless veterans, and been a celebrity guest at functions. But the thing I take the most pride in is raising money for deserving organizations.

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

Janet: Starting my own business was a huge challenge, which taught me that dedication and hard work can make a huge difference, in not only my life, but in the lives of the ladies that work with me. I feel a great sense of accomplishment in knowing that I am providing an income for women to support their families.

Angie: What do you still want to achieve?

Janet: EVERYTHING!!! I’ve always joked that I won’t be done competing until I win Ms. Senior America (yes, that pageant really exists), but really I find pageant titles to be very helpful in getting me involved, and making a difference in so many projects and charities.

Angie: I agree! I feel like it's a wonderful volunteer opportunity. There's an idea in society that pageants are just skin deep. How would you answer that?

Janet: Yes, they are! Okay, not completely, but that is a definite part. A first impression at a job interview is based on looks, posture, what you wear and how you speak and present yourself. In a pageant, this entire impression is what is used to crown the winners – usually less than 10 minutes of judging per person. A pageant is an example of how big of a deal a first impression really can make. Once a titleholder is crowned, she is under a great deal of pressure to continue to live up to that initial impression, maybe even more so than most people experience.

Angie: So it really creates a draw for the title holder to continue to raise her bar and keep her standards high. Great point! The media has given Americans the idea that pageant girls/women are not intelligent and accomplished. What kind of an education do you have?

Janet: I had my son just 3 weeks after starting my senior year of high school. With the help of a very kind guidance counselor, I was still able to graduate (thank you Mr. Knight). At that young age, I was under the mistaken impression that I couldn’t go to college before I couldn’t afford it. As the years passed, I took many adult education classes, and correspondence course, but finally went to cosmetology school at age 30. I’ve been in this industry for ten years now, and I’m loving it, but still continue to take adult education courses on a variety of subjects and am currently looking into going to college.

Angie: Thank you for sharing such a personal journey! You model the fact that a woman can be a successful business owner even when she takes a different road. Do you have other creative talents you pursue?

Janet: I enjoy sewing and designing many items in my pageant competition wardrobe, and have won awards on many of my sewing projects. Each year for Halloween, I spend months designing, creating, and altering my costume until it is PERFECT.

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

Janet: My best advice is that a “real” smile comes from your eyes. If you can feel the smile that far from your mouth, than it must be real.

Angie: What are your plans after your title ends?

Janet: Keep competing!

Angie: What compliment do you receive most often?

Janet: This past year I was frequently told I look “radiant”. I loved that.

Angie: What are you most confident about?

Janet: I’m very proud of being 40 years old. I like who I have become and think age is a wonderful thing.

Angie: How did you earn that sense of confidence?

Janet: Using a positive attitude is a great way to see myself – not as I am, but as I want to be. It gives me a goal, which feels good, because I know it is achievable.

Angie: Thank you so much for being with us today. I loved hosting you :-)
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