Mrs. Texas Becomes Mrs. International 2015

When I arrived, I was able to say hello to Mrs. International 2014 Maggi Thorne, who is always radiant and was so welcoming to all of us.

When I arrived, I was able to say hello to Mrs. International 2014 Maggi Thorne, who is always radiant and was so welcoming to all of us.

Hi Ladies! I wanted to jot down a few things about my competition week at Mrs. International 2015. It was such an amazing journey to finally arrive at the much anticipated International pageant. I was in good hands as I prepared, competed and ultimately won the Mrs. International 2015 title. Rest assured, Rachel is a wonderful director and goes above and beyond for her queens!

Jacksonville is the perfect host city for the International Pageants. They welcomed each of us with open arms and made sure that every need was met. On Tuesday, we had an outing day to St. Augustine, the outlets for shopping, and then a behind the scenes tour of the Jacksonville Jaguar stadium. It was alot of fun to get to know each of the other contestants before our week became hectic with rehearsals, interviews, prelims and finals.

Getting to know my pageant sisters was definitely the highlight of my week!

Getting to know my pageant sisters was definitely the highlight of my week!

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Wednesday we spent all day and evening in rehearsals, but the day truly flew by and before I knew it, it was Thursday and time for interviews. Our judges were great! Rachel again does a great job of finding similar in dynamic judges for the Texas pageant to ensure the best queen is truly crowned to represent our great state at the next level. After interviews were over around 2 pm we headed straight back to the theater for more rehearsals.

Friday, you guessed it, more rehearsals. Our husbands joined us around 1. We practiced and practiced again, but the pageant went off without any glitches. Friday we actually practiced until 5, ran to get dinner and had to be back ready by 6:30 for prelims to start at 7:30. I can honestly say that I had ZERO nerves on Friday night. I just did my thing. Being on stage is definitely my strong point. Don’t get me wrong, I was a nervous wreck before interviews.

Saturday, after more rehearsals it was time to do it all over again for Finals. After opening number, they announced the Go Red for Women winner (Mrs. India Intl) and the photogenic award. That I WON! I was so shocked! I have never won that before. (The photos from the entire week were judged, along with personal style and not just the photo submitted for the web page). After I made top 16, the rest of the night was a race to the finish line. We had about 5 seconds to change from one area of competition to the next beginning with On Stage Question.

In the dressing room, ready for opening number. So blessed to represent the great state of Texas!

In the dressing room, ready for opening number. So blessed to represent the great state of Texas!

When the top 10 were standing at the end, holding hands, I remember hearing 4th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st and then my name and that’s it. I saw Maggi walking towards me, followed by my husband holding a huge bouquet of flowers. I know I saw my arms, not hands, shaking (haha) and Maggi telling Justin to just smile because he was having trouble placing the crown on my head.

Thank you, Paula Preston Photography, for capturing this amazing moment! This picture was up in Times Square in New York City!

Thank you, Paula Preston Photography, for capturing this amazing moment! This picture was up in Times Square in New York City!

It was the most amazing experience and my reign, so far, has been nothing short of a dream come true. Once a TEXAS queen ALWAYS as TEXAS queen!

Until the Mission is Complete,

Farabe’

Mrs. International 2015

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Elise Banks Reflects on the Moment She Went from Miss Texas International to Miss International 2015

“And the winner is….” Every pageant girl I know is hoping that their name, state or country is followed by that phrase. We think about what the moment will be like and work really hard in hopes that it will finally come true. Having won titles in the past, including the coveted Miss Texas International crown, I knew what the feeling was like to have the crown placed on your head and sash draped across your chest. But the emotions that came over me on August 1st, 2015, when Samantha Riddle crowned me Miss International 2015, is like nothing I have ever experienced before. In that one moment, I saw 12 years of hard work, prayers, and determination finally pay off.

Although winning the title was a highlight of my week at nationals, I must say that the other highlight was spending my week with some of the most intelligent, beautiful and passionate women I’ve ever met. I was able to form some close bonds during my week, and I honestly felt like we were at summer camp versus a competition! Of course, it was also amazing having my teen sister queen, Savannah, there that week as we got to go through our competition weeks together. And having my other sister queen, Farabe’, win the Mrs. International crown the weekend before was inspiring and gave me a little extra push as I entered my pageant competition week. I am thrilled to have been blessed with another teen sister queen, Jules, and can’t wait to see what this year has in store for us.

It has definitely been a whirlwind as I transition from being a state titleholder to holding the International crown! I feel incredibly blessed to have such an amazing support system who have encouraged me during my week at nationals and every day since I won. And since I’m averaging about 4-5 hours of sleep right now, their support is appreciated now more than ever! I am also thrilled to have the opportunity to continue the plans that I set as Miss Texas International. The stigma associated with mental illness is very real and one of the main reasons why so many individuals do not get the help that they need. My goal as Miss International is to continue to break this stigma so that every cry for help is heard.

Be sure to follow my journey as Miss International on Facebook (Miss International 2015-Elise Banks or Mrs., Miss & Miss Teen International Pageants) or on Instagram (@MissIntl2015).

Continuing to break the stigma,

Elise Banks

Miss International 2015

Here I am as your new Miss International on the night I was crowned with Mel and Mary Richardson, the CEO and executive director of the International Pageants organization. We are all so blessed to have them running a system that uplifts and inspires women around the world!

Here I am as your new Miss International on the night I was crowned with Mel and Mary Richardson, the CEO and executive director of the International Pageants organization. We are all so blessed to have them running a system that uplifts and inspires women around the world!

Miss Teen Texas International Helps Pets Find Homes through ‘Clear the Shelter’ Day

I loved rolling up my sleeves to volunteer with animals who need us most.

I loved rolling up my sleeves to volunteer with animals who need us most.

“Clear The Shelter” was a HUGE success this past Saturday!!! It was SO exciting to hear that some shelters were completely emptied!  In the North Texas area, eleven shelters actually had to close their doors and turn people away because there were NO MORE SHELTER ANIMALS TO BE ADOPTED! Isn’t that just amazing?  At the HSNT Waggin’ Tails Animal Shelter in Benbrook where my Mom and I volunteered, almost all the dogs and cats were adopted. We even had a few small friends (rabbits and hamsters) that also found their “fur-ever” homes. In the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, the total number of adopted animals for this one day was 2,951.  Nationwide, this event seems to get larger every year as more and more shelters take part in the momentum created by all the buzz.

There was so much excitement at Waggin’ Tails that day. I loved getting to see how happy & excited the  dogs became when they got picked by their new family. It was so wonderful to be a part of such a great cause and getting to be involved in the adoption process. My Mom and I volunteered in the “big” dog room. Sometimes these dogs get overlooked because of their size. But local community residents stepped up to the plate, and almost all were adopted. I will never forget this experience and I’m already looking forward to the next “Clear The Shelter” Day on July 16, 2016!

Saving our best friends,

Savannah Wahrer

Miss Teen Texas International 2015