Texas International Names 2016 Queens

20160410_5975.jpg 2016 Texas Queens.jpg sm

2016 Texas International queens were named April 10th at the Granville Arts Center.  Gracie Hunt (left) was crowned Miss Teen Texas International, Taylor Ashworth (center) was crowned Miss Texas International, and Kori Zwaagstra (right) was crowned Mrs. Texas International.  All three ladies will represent Texas at the International Pageant in Jacksonville, Floria, in July.

Kori Zwaagstra Crowned Mrs. Texas International 2016, Taylor Ashworth Crowned Miss Texas International 2016, and Gracie Hunt Crowned Miss Teen Texas International 2016

2016 queens will represent the Lone Star State at the International Pageant in July

After a weekend of sparkles and speeches about service, Texas International has named its 2016 queens. Kori Zwaagstra, a mother of two from the Lubbock area, was crowned Mrs. Texas International.  Taylor Ashworth, a student at the University of North Texas, was crowned Miss Texas International, and Gracie Hunt, a student at Ursuline Academy, was crowned Miss Teen Texas International.  All three ladies won their respective divisions during the Texas International Pageant, held April 10th at the Granville Arts Center in Dallas.

Zwaagstra competed among accomplished married women from all over the state of Texas to win her title.  Areas of competition included interview (both on-stage and personal), fitness wear, and evening gown. The Mrs. Texas International system is the premier pageant competition for married women in Texas and emphasizes a woman’s ability to serve and lead her community, as well as inspire other women. Zwaagstra is a dedicated wife and mother whose family includes her husband, Jake; and two boys, Zayne, 7, and Gage, 4.  She is a health and fitness coach.

As Mrs. Texas International, Zwaagstra will promote her platform, “Beyond the Baby Blues,” which raises awareness for the most common complication of childbirth, postpartum depression. Zwaagstra’s goal is to bring visibility to perinatal mood disorders among women, their families and also the medical community. Zwaagstra uses her personal story about her struggle with postpartum depression to break the stigma associated with this disorder that one in seven women will experience. She chairs the Climb Out of Darkness event to educate and provide access to outreach resources for women struggling with postpartum depression.

Zwaagstra will represent the Lone Star State as she competes with women from across the U.S. and countries around the world for the title of Mrs. International July 22-23rd in Jacksonville, Fla

Taylor Ashworth competed among accomplished young women from all over the state of Texas to win her title.  Areas of competition included interview (both on-stage and personal), fitness wear, fun fashion and evening gown.

As Miss Texas International, Ashworth will promote her platform, “The Power of Pink,” to stress the importance of early detection through self-exams and regular mammograms. After seeing several family members successfully battle cancer, and others lose their battles, Ashworth is committed to improving awareness for all women.  She plans to travel the state talking to women about the positive impact of early detection and raise funds for breast cancer research and awareness.

Ashworth is in her final year of study at the University of North Texas, where she majors in Sports Management, a field in which she plans to pursue a career.  She serves as the photography chair for Susan G. Komen of North Texas, as a “You’re the Cure” advocate for the American Heart Association of Dallas, and a marketing assistant for Habitat for Humanity of Denton County. Ashworth has received the George R. Eastman Young Leaders Award from the University of Rochester.

Ashworth will represent the Lone Star State as she competes with women from across the U.S. and countries around the world for the title of Miss International July 29-30th in Jacksonville, Fla.

Gracie Hunt competed among accomplished teenagers from all over the state of Texas to win her title.  Areas of competition included interview (both on-stage and personal), fitness wear, fun fashion and evening gown.

As Miss Teen Texas International, Hunt will continue working with her platform, “Breaking Barriers Thru Sports” to help level the playing field for those with intellectual or financial disadvantages by inspiring participation and inclusion in sports.  Hunt serves as a partner player and halftime advocate for the FC Dallas Special Olympics Team, an ambassador for the Special Olympics and a volunteer leader for Rays of Light.  Her goal is to raise awareness for the importance of respect and inclusion, and she plans to travel the state during her reign, bringing visibility to causes that accomplish these goals.

Hunt is a junior at Ursuline Academy of Dallas, where she plays on the varsity soccer team. She is a member of the National Honor Society, Support Our Troops and Special Olympics. In addition to volunteering and sports, Hunt enjoys playing guitar and hiking with her family. She is the daughter of Clark and Tavia Hunt

Hunt will represent the Lone Star State as she competes with teenagers from across the U.S. and countries around the world for the title of Miss Teen International July 28-30th in Jacksonville, Fla.

The International System was established more than 20 years ago to adhere to a higher standard than other systems.  Texas International seeks more than a pretty face: winners have beauty and depth, and are committed to their communities. Like all pageants in the International System, contestants compete in fitness wear rather than swimsuit. The emphasis is on healthy lifestyle choices in accordance with the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign, with which the pageant system holds a national alliance.

For more information on the Mrs. Texas International pageant system, please visit www.mrstexasinternational.com, www.misstexasinternational.com, or www.missteentexasinternational.com.

To schedule a speaking engagement or appearance from any Texas International titleholder, please contact Rachel Hedstrom at texasinternationalpageant@gmail.com.

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Mrs. International Farabe’ Algor Offers Fitness Tips

Farabe Feb

As promised in my last Texas blog, I am briefly touching on each area of competition leading up to pageant weekend. We are getting so close to crowning a new Mrs. Texas International. In fact, less than 3 months away. With February being heart health month I thought I would talk about the fitness portion of the competition. Even though fitness is not weighted as heavy as the interview portion, it can easily keep you from winning the coveted Mrs. Texas International title.

There are so many different work out routines easily available these days you just need to determine which one fits your style. For me personally, I need more of the structure of a class. I love Pure Barre! I was a competitive dancer until I graduated from High School so doing any kind of work out with a ballet barre was exciting to me! My first class, I left shaking! I also made sure to get to the gym about four times a week leading up to the pageant. Being non stop with the kids all day everyday helps immensely as well!

While you are busting your booty inside the gym, make sure that you are putting healthy things inside your body. There’s no point in working out hardcore if you are just going to head straight to McDonalds when you pull out of the parking lot. Remember, in the fitness portion you want to show not only how confident you are on stage in fitness wear, but also show that you are living a heart healthy lifestyle all year, and not just a few months before the pageant.

Until the Mission is Complete,

Farabe’ Algor

Mrs. International 2015

Mrs. Texas International 2015

Miss Teen Texas International Urges You to Keep Your Pets Safe

LostDog

There are so many ways to prevent a missing pet. Here are some good prevention tips!

1. Be sure to collar, tag, and chip your pet.  Even if your pet is never out of your care, it’s always a good idea to make sure they can find a way home if they get lost.
2. This may be something you’ve never thought about but, safe transportation of your pet is important too.  Some animals can become lost during traffic accidents and you’ll never see them again. It has also been known for some cats to claw their way out of cages and other things.
3. Keep current photos of your pet on hand and ready just in case they get lost. Be sure to also prepare a lost pet kit to have ready (including flyers).
4. While you’re outside with your pet, be sure to show your neighbors. If your pet gets lost and they find them, they can return them to you.
5. Train your pet to stay inside or to stay in your front yard. You can do this yourself or for more stubborn pets you can hire a dog trainer.

Savannah Wahrer

Miss Teen Texas International 2015

So Long, 2015! Miss International Elise Banks Bids Adieu to 2015

So Long, 2015!

It’s hard to believe that 2015 is almost over. It seems like just yesterday I was ringing in the New Year in Tampa with my family! I do not know if it’s just me, but I feel like the years go by faster as I get older!

I’ll be honest and say that I did not have many expectations as I started this year. Coming from the past few years of disappointment, loss and a big breakup, I knew things had to get better, but I had no idea what God had in store! As I look back over this year, all I can say is “Thank you, Lord!” He has given me such an amazing support system in my family & friends, who have carried me through the highs and lows of this year. He introduced me to so many wonderful people in the International system who have touched my life in many ways. He allowed me to represent the International system, both as Miss Texas and Miss International. This is something I could have only dreamed of! He gave me the passion to put into my platform of mental health to hopefully make a difference in the lives of others. He gave me two incredible bosses who allow me to grow in my career, and also support my duties at Miss International. He has also trusted me with the responsibility of living my life in such a way that will bring honor and glory to Him.

As I close the book of 2015, and look ahead into the new year, my heart is full or gratitude and happiness. I end this year with so many more friends and relationships that I can’t imagine not having in my life now.

May God bless you and your family over the holidays!

God Bless,

Elise Banks
Miss International 2015

Keep Your Furbabies Safe This Holiday Season, Says Miss Teen Texas International Savannah Wahrer

Savannah Dec

I’m proud that my family includes many furry friends. Make sure to keep yours safe this holiday season!

Over the holidays it is important to “pet proof” your house. Keeping your decorations away from your animals reach can make the holidays safe and fun for your pets. Here are a few tips to follow.

Keep children’s toys out of your dog’s mouth.  Puppies like to be puppies and might unintentionally destroy the things that they can get to.  It’s a good idea to have a few “pet” toys for them to play with so they won’t get bored.  My dogs love to play fetch in the backyard with tennis balls.  This also helps them to “burn off” the never ending energy that they have!

Decorations can be a hazard for animals. Any kind of string, ribbon, tinsel, or bows could be potential problem. If they swallow these things, it could lead to a visit to the vet to deal with vomiting or digestive issues. If any of these items got stuck in their digestive tract, surgery might be needed.

Some holiday plants can be toxic to your pets. Mistletoe, Poinsettias and Holly are naturally toxic and dangerous for dogs and cats. During the holiday season these plants are treated with chemicals to preserve them, and these chemicals are also dangerous for your pet.

Another potential problem can be ornaments on the Christmas tree. Ornaments are sparkly & shiny, which pets are drawn to, especially cats! The ornaments could potentially be something your dog or cat may want to play with, or knock off with their snout/paws. Keep watch of your pet when they are around the Christmas tree.

Human food can be dangerous for your pets too. There are several types of food that are not good for your dogs and cats like chocolate, so it’s best for them to eat their pet food. Our pets love treats! We always keep a bag of treats available for them to enjoy. Pets stores have some really tasty  treats.

I hope you find these few safety tips helpful in keeping your pets safe.  I hope you and your fur-babies have a wonderful Christmas season!

Saving our best friends,

Savannah Wahrer

Miss Teen Texas International 2015

 

Miss Teen Texas International Savannah Wahrer encourages everyone to honor veterans all year long

Savannah veterans

In honor of this past Veterans Day, I attended a fundraiser for Honor Flight DFW at the Texas Region Sports Car Club of America.  After taking honorary drives, we were all presented with “trophies.” I had so much fun meeting Mr. Perdue and Mr. Gentry, two great American heroes.

While Veterans Day is a time to honor those among us who were willing to make the ultimate commitment to serve our country, I believe it should not be limited to one day.

There are many easy ways for you to show appreciation for our Veterans year-round:

1) Just say something simple like, “Thank you for your service to our country.” Many Veterans have never actually been told that before and it’s such an easy thing to do.
2) Pay it forward with a random act of kindness and pay for a veteran’s meal the next time you are out to eat or visiting your favorite coffee house.
3) Make a new friend with a Veteran.  Talk to them and ask them about themselves and their families.  Unfortunately, 22 Veterans a day commit suicide due to PTSD and depression from their experiences during wartime.  You’ll never really know if those few kind words you might speak to a Veteran that you meet may just give them a reason to stay alive for another day.
4) Donate some money and volunteer your time to the USO, Wounded Warrior Foundation, 22Kill, Honor Flight, or any of the other many worthy Veteran organizations.
5) Visit your area’s National Cemetery and place flowers and flags on the graves of some of our Veterans who paid the ultimate price and lost their lives during war.
6) Go to a retirement home and spend a few minutes getting to know some Veterans who would love to share their stories with you.
7) Prepare some care packages and send them to some active duty soldiers who are far from home in a foreign land and would appreciate a small gift from home.
8) If you know a Veteran, make it a special occasion to take them out to eat and tell them thank you for what they did for you and your family. Make sure you get the story of their service written down.
9) If you are at the age where you can babysit, offer to volunteer and babysit for free for a Veteran, or for an active-duty military spouse who would appreciate some time to themselves since their loved one is away on duty and they are home alone.
10) Make a promise to yourself to do one nice thing for a Veteran this holiday seasons that you wouldn’t have normally done.  Make that season special for a Veteran.
I would like to take a moment to say a special “Thank You” to my Great Grandfather Pop Wahrer for his service during WWII, and my Grandpa Nick for his service during Vietnam.  I wish I could also say “Thank You” to my family member Veterans who have already passed away like my Grandpa Richard and Great Grandfather Pop Manser – I will meet them someday.  There are so many reasons to be thankful for what we have in this great country and for the protection that our Veterans have provided for us over the years.  Please be sure to show a Veteran your appreciation not only on Veterans Day, but also throughout the year.
Happy holidays, everyone!

Savannah Wahrer

Miss Teen Texas International 2015

Miss International Elise Banks talks about conquering fears

Elise Nov

If you were to tell me years ago that I would be doing all the public speaking that I have been doing as Miss International, I would have laughed in your face! You see, the whole reason why I started competing in pageants at the age of 15, was to break out of my shell as “Little Shy Elise”! Although I have accomplished that goal, I am still considered an introvert. I am entirely more comfortable in smaller settings than larger ones. So that is why I have actually surprised myself when I spoke at both the NAMI Gulf Coast and the NAMI Texas Professional Conferences last month. Not only was I speaking in front of hundreds of people, but I was also speaking to men and women who have been in the mental health field for decades. Talk about intimidating!

What helped me during the conferences, as well as other large social settings that I have been involved in is to first, know your audience. When you know the types of people who will be at the event, it helps you prepare for the conversations you could be having. Make sure to have a few “go-to” topics that you can talk about when you are conversing with people you don’t know. I typically discuss latest events in the news or my platform!

Secondly, be aware and mindful of how others may perceive you. When I was preparing for the presentations that I was going to give at the conferences, I knew very well that my older audience (doctors and therapists who are established in their careers) may not fully listen to someone who is still in their twenties! But I decided to use that as a motivator to make my presentation more interesting. I used new technological ways of presenting a PowerPoint, and I used an interactive approach to the presentation that plays to what my generation is known for. To my surprise, I received a lot of positive feedback from my presentations! If you know what your potential weaknesses are, you can spend time turning them into strengths!

Finally, make sure to reward yourself for the hard work you put into conquering your fear. Although I still have improvements to make, I still congratulated myself for taking a bold step in a very intimidating situation. Conquering a fear is never easy, but it must be done in order to fully be the person God made you to be!

Wishing you success as you conquer your fears!

All my Texas love,

Elise Banks
Miss International 2015

Elise Nov 2

Staying True to Yourself: Thoughts from Mrs. International Farabe’ Algor

Hey Texas! Are y’all busy preparing for Mrs. Texas International 2016? You are one month closer to walking on that great stage in Garland, Texas, and one of you is one step closer to joining the Mrs. Texas International sisterhood. With that being said, it is important that you not only stay focused on you and your goals, but also remember to be you and not to try to fit into one of the past queen’s shoes.

You are each unique and you each have an amazing story to tell (and remember that regardless of your placement). Don’t mold yourself into my look, Whitney’s, Rachel’s, Suzy’s, or any of the past fabulous queens that represented our great state. Each one of us are so different, yet we all had the same drive and goal in mind when we walked into the interview room.

Don’t change your look, the way you wear your hair, or your platform because you think you should pick one that was a “winning platform” in the past. Be YOU! Be the queen that is already representing her town, county or area with style, grace and beauty. Our system truly is one that has a different look each year. Not every system can say that, and you can clearly look back at previous winners and see that for yourself.

Mrs. International 2014 Maggi Thorne and I are not what you would call

Mrs. International 2014 Maggi Thorne and I are not what you would call “twins,” but we share something very important: being true to ourselves as individuals, and to our commitment to serve others. Official portraits by Clay Spann Photography at Competitive Image.

Winning a state title pretending to be someone you really aren’t deep-down will make for a very long year. Compete as yourself. Remember, no one does you better than you!

Until the Mission is Complete,

Farabe’

Farabe’ Algor

Mrs. International 2015

Mrs. Texas International 2015

Traveling as a Pageant Queen! Tips from Miss International Elise Banks

Traveling is a way of life for Miss International Elise Banks!

Traveling is a way of life for Miss International Elise Banks!

For the last 6 months, I have been doing lots of traveling as Miss Texas International and now as Miss International! I thought I would share some of my tips for those of you making appearances around your city or state!

  1. Make sure to plan out enough travel time. One piece of advice that I received that I will never forget is “If you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late. If you’re late, why bother showing up.” Always plan for potential traffic or lines at the airport. It’s better to be early and have time to adjust your crown, than to be running in late having to apologize!
  1. When traveling for appearances where you need to pack:
  • Make sure to pack your essentials and toiletries
  • Always bring an extra outfit (you never know if you’ll have a wardrobe malfunction or if an extra event is planned while you’re in that city)
  • Bring shoes that can go with several outfits to reduce how much you’re packing
  • Carry your crown/sash with you on the plane (just in case your luggage gets lost, you don’t want those two things to be in your suitcase)
  • Have all the contact information for the places you will be going while in town, make sure you know what type of transportation you will need (driver, taxi, subway, Uber), and again account for the fact that you are in a different city.. So leave early!
  1. Make sure to get plenty of rest, water, and vitamins! Traveling can take a lot of energy out of you. With the hustle and bustle of catching planes or a lengthy road trip, make sure to let your body recuperate.

    4. Travel safe! If you are able to, have your pageant director, family member or friend accompany you on the trip. If you have to travel alone, make sure that someone knows where you will be and where you are staying. Safety is always the priority.

    5. Capture the journey! Your year as Miss ___________ (fill in the blank!) will flash before your eyes. Make sure to take lots of pictures of the events that you attend. One of my favorite things to do is go back and re-live the appearances I have been doing. I also encourage you to journal about your experiences. You will meet so many people and have so many great opportunities during your year, writing about them is a great way to “pen” down how you were feeling during that moment!

    Wishing you much success and safe travels as you venture across your city, state or country spreading awareness to your platform!

    All my Texas love,

    Elise Banks
    Miss International 2015

Working your platform: Mrs. International Farabe’ Algor shares a few tips

Hi Texas ladies. I’ve been nonstop lately working my platform, Beyond Glory- Supporting our Veterans, and thought I would jot down a few things to help you prepare for the Mrs. Texas International pageant. With the interview portion being 50% of the score, you cannot neglect your platform work. It is so important to understand the WHY behind your platform, meaning why you chose it to be your platform in the first place. The judges want to see a personal connection. When you are passionate about something one can almost guarantee you will not neglect it in the future.

It is also very important to make meaningful appearances. Sure, anyone can throw on their crown and sash and take a picture, but I cannot stress enough how important it is to connect with influential organizations that fall within your platform and work together to make a positive difference. With that being said, don’t be scared to think outside of the box. For example, in regards to my platform work specifically with veterans with PTS (drop the D, people) I can work with an organization called Canines 4 Hope that provide veterans and their family members with assistance and hope to once again live a fulfilled life.

Begin preparing now for your personal interview. Google, study everything about your platform and start answering practice questions. When your official contestant handbook arrives in the mail, you will have more information available to you in regards to interview and who the official state sponsor is. Remember, the early bird catches the worm. Xo!

Until the Mission is Complete,

Farabe’

Mrs. International 2015/ Mrs. Texas International 2015

I enjoy working hard for many veteran support organizations. As an international spokesperson for Heroes on the Water, I get to spend a lot of time in canoes and kayaks as a peaceful activity for our veterans. It's my pleasure to serve!

I enjoy working hard for many veteran support organizations. As an international spokesperson for Heroes on the Water, I get to spend a lot of time in canoes and kayaks as a peaceful activity for our veterans. It’s my pleasure to serve!