Popular across the globe, pageants have been around for generations. Like beauty, there is so much more to them than meets the eye. That’s why we were delighted to go behind the sash with Terri McDonald who is running as Ms. Pacific Coast for the title of Ms. America at the 2019 Ms.America Pageant on August 24th, 2019.
Tell us about your journey that led you to run for Ms. America.
Terri McDonald: I have been a nurse for 12 years and working in the medical field I have worked with MediCal patients, previously homeless patients low income and while working with them I learned quite a bit.
When I first came to California I had to wait a year to get my nursing license endorsed. I had to work odd jobs, barely made any money, I actually had to live in a motel sad to say, I almost made it on the streets myself, crying myself to sleep at nights, living on ramen noodles it was very hard, I didn’t have the heart to ever tell my parents because I knew that eventually, I would get my nursing license and that I would work my way to the top and I did. I also met a nice friend as well who helped me. If it wasn’t for that good friend who is still my friend today who knows where I would be. I always believe we should reach out and help others, no matter their situation, never be judgmental. That’s why I do what I do today. My favorite quote from the Bible
“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.”
You are involved with numerous charities. Which did you choose as your platform for Ms. America?
Terri McDonald: As mentioned above; I knew how close I came to being homeless, I guess you could say I was and eventually someone helped me. I want to help others. To see and feel what it’s like and know there is help, there are options. They just need the resources.
Who is your favorite Ms. America winner from the past and why?
Terri McDonald: I don’t have a favorite Ms. America because, in my opinion, they have all been exceptional with amazing talents and amazing accomplishments.
What advice do you have for someone just getting started that would like to compete in beauty pageants?
Terri McDonald: My advice to someone getting started in pageantry, 1st don’t believe all rumors; 2nd Just be yourself; 3rd Know yourself. Because self-awareness will help you go about life with confidence. After competing in my first pageant, I realized it gave me a much-needed structure to become the best version of myself. Very few people win their first pageant. Pageants will teach you humility. You may not walk away with a crown your first time, most likely not. But the skills and friendships you develop over time will only make your life fuller throughout the years to come. I believe pageantry can help young women today become more poised and well-spoken as they find their voice in the world.
What are some of the biggest misconceptions people have about beauty pageants?
Terri McDonald: Contrary to what many believe, today’s title holder is much more than just a Beauty Queen, she is also an Ambassador for important issues of the day, many of which are chosen in the choice of a contestant’s platform. As I’ve continued participating in pageants, I realized that pageantry was so much more than I could have imagined. I have found the women in my local pageant to be not only beautiful but smart, kind, generous, accomplished and much more substantial than the way we have been portrayed in the media. All the women that I have met so far have been amazing, from my Director Susan Jeske, who is the former Ms. America , in 1993 Susan, set the World Record, published in the Guinness Book of World Records for singing the National Anthem at the most events in a 24 hour period raising $93,000 for children charities. Several of my fellow contestants who come from diverse backgrounds, some working on their doctorates, others who are veterans or established professionals like me.
Many people may believe entering a pageant is ridiculous or a waste of time. People ask why. But for me, it has been one of the most rewarding experiences. I am now a successful Nurse and advocate for the homelessness. With a Sash and Crown, it’s not just about Beauty, it’s about the potential, endless possibilities, shining light on your platform and making a difference.
If you were to become Ms.America, what would you like to accomplish?
Terri McDonald: My goal is to collaborate with Mayor Eric Garcetti in helping find shelter, clothing, homes, medication for our homeless population.
Follow Terri McDonald on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/ms.pacificcoastamerica2019/