Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Summer Work? And Summer Fun!

It is nearly the end of the spring semester here at the University of Kansas where I work so that means everyone is looking to summer ... and I am no exception! But while for most people (especially the college students here in Lawrence) summer means lazy days and late nights, for me it means being busier than ever preparing for nationals, working and making appearances! I'm happy to be so busy, and even happier that I'm busy doing things like this ...

I had an interview with the local Lawrence paper, the Lawrence Journal-World, last week and the article came out this Monday! I had the opportunity to speak about my work with Warriors for Ross, how I'm preparing for nationals, my pageant experience, and many other things. The article also compares my journey to the crown with another local titleholder, Mrs. Kansas America 2013 Elizabeth Stephens', journey. Two titleholders in one year in Lawrence is exciting in itself! So make sure you check out the article here. And also check out the picture below, which was taken before my interview at the Kansas Union on campus.

We recently received all of our official paperwork for the national Mrs. United States Pageant this summer, which is so exciting! Going through the packet, I can't help but be thrilled and honored to represent the great state of Kansas in Las Vegas, and so fortunate for the wonderful opportunities that have come my way. From judging pageants to attending events in support of the battle against childhood cancer - I've even recently signed with the modeling agency Voicesand in Kansas City, too! Keeping busy this summer ... very, very busy!

Speaking of keeping busy, I have another VIP coaching session with the wonderful Valerie Hayes tomorrow afternoon and I can't wait! She's such a great pageant coach and sponsor, especially when it comes to interview preparation. And as I prepare for our two summer bootcamps where I'll join my Vanbros sister queens in Kansas City to work over three days to prepare for nationals by practicing walking, interviewing, makeup, etc., I'm continuing to hit the gym to stay in competition-ready shape and am putting together my wardrobe for nationals as well.

Don't forget to vote for one of my sister queens, Miss Kansas USA Staci Klinginsmith, to send her to the finals at Miss USA in June! Go Vanbros! Finally, as I wrap up my latest blog, I want to encourage you to have a great summer - whether it be busy or lazy or anything in between!

All the best,


Before my interview with the Lawrence Journal-World!
Photo courtesy of Nick Krug.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Well, it's May! Time to Look Back + Forward

Hope everyone is well on the first Sunday of May, the day after the Kentucky Derby, which happens to be Cinco de Mayo! As I watch the Stanley Cup Playoffs and listen to a few new jazz records, I thought today I'd write briefly today about the last month and a half since I was crowned, and then what I'm looking forward to between now and nationals. Enjoy!

I can't even believe that it's been a month and a half since I was crowned your new Mrs. Kansas United States! It feels like it was just yesterday, and I have been so fortunate to be so busy in that short amount of time. Between appearances, work, photo shoots and preparation for nationals, it seems like it will be June ... or even July ... before I know it! I love making appearances, so if you'd like me to stop by an event in your city, feel free to email me at or leave a comment below.

John Vannatta, my director, sent along the dates for our summer "boot camps," which I am really looking forward to! Boot camps are three days in Kansas City packed with walking and modeling practice and interview preparation, among many other things, with all the Vanbros titleholders and our world-class sponsors (see the list to the right) to prepare us for nationals. I can't wait to see Mrs. Missouri United States Kristy Kelley again, and meet my newest sister queens, Mrs. Tennessee United States Amanda Uggla and the new Mrs. Texas United States, who will be crowned yet tonight!

Also, as promised, I wanted to share a few additional photos from my first official photo shoot with Rachel Imdieke of Rachel Imdieke Photography/Simply Joyful Photography. If you scroll down to the bottom of this post, you can check them out. I had such a great time shooting with her, and I thought the pictures really came out great!

I submitted my official biography a few weeks ago for John to include with a headshot from this photo shoot, so hopefully the Mrs. United States website will be updated with everything very soon. I know the reigning Mrs. United States Aquillia "Q" Vang, who also happens to be one of my wonderful sponsors, has been busy working with the national directors to come up with the itinerary for nationals week in Las Vegas this July! I can only imagine all of the fun activities and appearances we have planned in between rehearsals and the competition.

I know I've said this many times before, and I'm sure I'll say it many more times, but I am so lucky to have such supportive people around me! A wonderful director (with quite an eye for style), a loving husband, fabulous sponsors, exceptional sister queens and a family who has always, and will always, stand by me through thick and thin. I can't even tell you how excited I am to represent the great state of Kansas at nationals this summer with all of these people behind me!

Have you ever thought about competing in a pageant in Kansas or any other state? If so, I would urge you to check out my website, follow me on Facebook and Twitter or email me at with any questions you may have. Pageants in general, but especially Mrs. United States state pageants, are great experiences that you can learn so much about yourself from, while meeting wonderful people and having the chance to give back to your communities in a truly meaningful way. In Kansas, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas they're always accepting applications and it's never too late, I promise! Join the Vanbros family!

Even though the weather has been absolutely crazy here in Lawrence (crazy even for Kansas), at least we are nearing summer! Well, that's about all for today - have a wonderful week!

All the best,


Rachel Imdieke is truly talented!