Monday, December 07, 2009

A Courageous Beauties Interview: Mrs. North Dakota International 2008-Angela Smith

So this interview will be interesting for you because we both have the same name. I've put the last name initial in each time so I hope not to confuse anyone :-) A very inspiring interview!

Angie B: Angela Smith has held the title of Mrs. North Dakota America 2005 and now Mrs. North Dakota International 2008. Angela, What interested you in pageants?

Angela S: I have always loved watching pageants as a girl.
The grace and poise the young ladies showed on TV was something I aspired to have but never dreamed I'd actually compete.

Then just before my 16th birthday my family moved to Wisconsin and my grandpa suggested I enter the local fair pageant as a way to meet girls my age and get involved in the area. I had a wonderful time getting to know the girls and won the title of Miss Congeniality. Which won me a place on court and allowed me to spend the summer visiting area community festivals. 
I was so honored that my peers choose me as the one contestant they'd want to spend the rest year with. 

Angie B: What is your platform?

Angela S: My platform is titled Victims' Voices: Helping victims of domestic violence to find hope and healing through the power of  their voice.

Angie B; How do you build your platform and promote your work?

Angela S: Like most thing in life building my platform has been a journey and I take it all step by step. I have interviewed with area magazines, worked with the local YWCA, local Rape and Abuse Crisis and earlier this year was made a MADE state action leader to help parents and teen find the resources they need to avoid or get out of dangerous dating relationships. It all started with a single step and an single voice and has blossomed into more than I could have ever imagined.

I started my blog: as a way for people to find the resources they need to find healing. Healing happens differently for everyone but regardless of the road taken every victim needs to know help is out there.

As a victim of domestic violence I know first hand how lonely the road to recovery can be and I never want anyone else to feel like they have to travel their road alone. I have been so blessed that as I have shared my story that others have reached out and allowed me to help them find the resources they need to heal. That is what Victims' Voices is about helping others. I have found that when your heart is in the right place the Lord will open doors that allow you to help others. That has been my experience over and over again.

Angie B: Why did you decide to compete?

Angela S: I decided to compete as a Mrs because in March of 2005 l learned I weighed 198 pounds and that on my 5'4 frame I was slowly killing myself. My doctor told me if I didn't lose and maintain a weight loss of at least 70 pounds I wouldn't live to see my youngest child, who was 3 at the time, graduate high school.

That evening I saw the Mrs. America pageant on TV and decided that the swimsuit competition would motivate me to lose the weight. So I contacted the National pageant via their website and they passed my information along to the state director. I never dreamed I'd be going to Mrs. America in a matter of months but in April weighing 194 pounds I was crowned Mrs. North Dakota America 2005. The pressure was on but I am happy to report when I gave up my crown in May 2006 I had surpassed my doctor's expectations and reached my goal of losing 80 pounds. 

It's been 4 1/2 years and I've kept  the mandatory 70 pounds off ever sense. Besides better health, the biggest benefit of this weight loss has been my work with the Go Red Organization and helping other women realize that small changes can make a HUGE difference in your health and life.

Angie B: How do you handle stage fright?

Angela S: I honestly enjoy being on stage so I find I don't really get stage fright in the typical sense of the phrase. That isn't to say I don't get nervous but I have found that if take a deep breath and focus on why I'm there and who I'm trying to help that the butterflies settle down pretty quickly.

Angie B: What personal fear did you have to overcome?

Angela S: Because of the negativity that was fed to me for so long as a victim of domestic violence, I still look in the mirror and see every flaw and question every thought or idea before I allow myself to voice them. I worry that I will do or say something that will hurt another or myself which sometime makes others question my confidence and creditability.  

I have had to relearn that 1) I am valuable as a human being and 2) as long as I temper my words with kindness that is it ok to share my opinions and more of share the truth.

Angie B: What did you have to learn to compete?

Angela S: I have had to learn that it is ok to be a strong confident woman and that apologies don't need to be made for being who I am.

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

Angela S: The most visible goal I continue to have is maintaining a healthy lifestyle and weight. The idea of my children growing up without me is heartbreaking.  The knowledge that I have the power and responsibility to make sure I am here for all the big and little things in their lives is sobering. I was blessed to be given a wake-up call at a time when I could make the necessary changes knowing how slippery the slope back to unhealthy is keeps me exercising and eating right and gets me back on track when I've taken a step or two off the healthy lifestyle road.

Angie B: I understand. After losing 35 pounds, I am very conscious of how easy it is to go back up. Who do you most want to emulate?

Angela S: My Savior, Jesus Christ. He gave his life to the service of others and I've no doubt that as we lose ours in service to others we will find that which we most need.

Angie B: Do you have a mentor?

Angela S: I don't have a mentor in the traditional sense of the word but I have blessed to have many amazing people in my life and an ARMY of women that teach and strengthen me with their examples and love.

Angie B: Very important point you make, that we can emulate different aspects of different people. How do you handle the feelings of disappointment?

Angela S: I have a couple very good friends and an amazing husband that let me vent to them and then look at me when I am done and say, "Ok now what are you going to do to change it?"  Their support to let me get whatever it is off my chest and then to be there to help me work to get the results I want are invaluable.

Angie B: What kind of an education do you have or are you pursuing? 

Angela S: I have my Associates of Arts Degree from the University of Wisconsin - Barron County. It is my goal to finish my degree in English and am currently taking some correspondence courses focused on writing for children and young adults. 

Angie B: I've found so many people discover that learning is a life time accomplishment and that as our goals change, we often go back to learn what we need for the new set of goals. Do you have other creative talents you pursue?

Angela S: I enjoy quilting and tatting, which is a form of lace making from the 1800s. I also love to read, write and collect children and young adult literature and am working to become a published author in this market.

Angie B: Very unique talents. Do you think it is important for a person to look their best?

Angela S: I do believe that when we put more time into ourselves that we feel better about ourselves but I also believe that a person can look just a fabulous make-up free and dressed in a cute yoga suit and sneakers as they can full make up and dressed to the nine. I think the most important thing for a person to be comfortable in their own skin.

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

Angela S: It sounds cliche but I believe a smile is a person best accessory.  When you are happy with who you are and feel good on the inside that shows in your smile and warms others. 

Angie B: What compliment do you receive most often?

Angela S: "You are nothing like I expected." or "You don't look or act like a Beauty Queen" I love making people question stereotypes because in my experience very few people fit into molds.

Angie B: So true! What are you most confident about?

Angela S: The power of my voice and the reality that one voice can and does make a difference.

Angie B: How did you earn that sense of confidence?

Angela S: I have earned this piece by piece. Every time I share my story and speak out against Domestic Violence or on behalf of the Go Red Organization I have the opportunity to help someone and more often then not I have had someone  tell me "Thank you for sharing your story, it made all the difference." I've seen God use my experiences to help someone make needed changes in their lives far too many times to question why I lived through what I lived through or why I am where I am I am.

Angie B: What would you like to share with interview readers?

Angela S: I want them to know that where ever they are and whatever they are dealing with they aren't alone. If they look around and take a small step into the darkness I think they will be surprised by the number of people waiting to help them. Regardless of what you are dealing with in your life healing happens but it can't happen if you aren't willing to reach out or work for it.
Websites: (there is a more comprehensive list of domestic violence helps on the right hand side of the blog.)
AngieB: Thank you so much for being with us today, Angela Smith! 

Angela Smith: Happiness Always.

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