JUST ANOTHER BEAUTY QUEEN

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When I was first contacted by the current MRS. MISSOURI UNITED STATES, my first thought was “Oh, great, another beauty queen!” I’m sure she gets that all the time, but really there is much, much more to this beauty queen than standing around looking like a beauty queen—and her talent is way more impressive than twirling a baton.

According to the directors of the Mrs. United States Pageant, “Many married women are an inspiration to their community—the role of wife, mother and career woman does not prevent some women from finding time to become involved in community activities or from maintaining her health, beauty, and mind. It’s all about being an intelligent, married woman who knows what she wants in her career, family, and appearance. She maintains a strong sense of identity and embodies the true spirit of complete woman… total beauty.”

With that definition in mind, meet Fredericktown’s own Mrs. Missouri United States.

My name is Kristy Kelley.

I’m a wife and mother of three. I work for Missouri First Steps as a special education instructor. I have a BS in psychology and early childhood education. I help parents gain confidence showing them appropriate learning activities they can do to help their children get to where they need to be developmentally. I work hand-in-hand with occupational therapists, physical therapists, and speech therapists. My day is spent traveling around several counties in the region. I go where the children are—helping them gain confidence and learn other life skills.

The first time I competed for Mrs. Missouri America was a few years ago; I was named first runner-up. Later, I was approached by the director, John Vanetta, to do the pageant again. I talked to my husband about it because he and I both thought I was finished doing pageants. I was satisfied with getting first runner-up, but Vanetta convinced me to try again. I knew my husband would be working at the time of the pageant and wouldn’t be able to come with me and our children so I would have to do this one on my own.

This time the national competition would be in Las Vegas, Nevada. During the Mrs. Missouri competition you’re judged on three categories: interview, swimsuit, and evening gown. The final top three competitors are asked two questions on stage, one from the contestants and one from a judge.

I felt I had performed well, but still I was shocked when I actually won! When I called my children to tell them I had won, they didn’t even believe me. My middle child asked me if I won money, my oldest child was excited, and my youngest child just wanted her mommy home. Even though it was hard for me to be away from my children to do the pageant, like all mothers, it was refreshing to have some time to myself.

The Mrs. Missouri United States pageant is run by Vanbros and Associates, Inc., which is associated with the Miss USA Pageant. We raise money for childhood leukemia through an organization called Warriors for Ross. So far, I’ve participated in Cure Search Walks in memory of Ross and others with childhood cancer. I’ve walked with the Governor on his 100 mile walk across Missouri; I’ve visited St. Jude Research Hospital and Shriners Hospital; I’ve judged many pageants; participated in the Night of the Super Stars for a child with disabilities and took part in many fashion shows. Trust me when I say there is much more to being Mrs. Missouri United States than winning a pageant.

And I’ve been doing it a long time now. I started doing pageants at 15 years old, when I entered Miss Missouri Teen USA. I continued to do local pageants just having fun with it. I stopped when I got married and began my family. After my second child, I found a pageant website for married women with children and got the pageant bug again. I participated in Mrs. Missouri United States and Mrs. Missouri America. After the birth of my third child, I decided to put my heart and soul into working out, eating right, taking better care of my family, and preparing for the state pageant. It all paid off in the end.

Now, I guess, it’s finally time to hang my crown and sash up for good. It’s been a great experience and I am glad I got the opportunity to help so many children suffering from cancer and other disabilities. This is what I will remember most.

CLICH HERE TO VEIW THE DIGITAL EDITION WITH PHOTO SPREAD AND VIDEO.  (FEB 2014 ISSUE)

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