My Crowning Moment

Being the first name called for Top-12 made it a little less nerve racking for me b/c I didn't have to wait, listening to one name after another be called-hoping I'd made it!  I've been there, I know what it feels like for MY name and title not to be called.  But with that said, my name was called, my blood was pumping.  I was so excited I forgot to go to stop at center stage to get my picture taken before walking to my position in the Top-12 line up.  I just walked to the tape on the floor that said "1". Missing that cue to me meant I had to get the next one.  So when the announcers said, “Thank you” that was our cue to walk off stage and get ready for on-stage interview.  I turned to my right and bolted off stage.

Back in the dressing room I realized Mrs. Minnesota and myself were the only two from Group A who had made it into the Top-12, so we had to rely on each other to help with zippers.  My on-stage interview suit was a cream and gold Jovani which I had used as my interview suit at my state pageant. 

Back up two flights of stairs and in the line-up, the stage manager quickly directed us to our places.  I took a moment to breathe and relax.  I took a body check to make sure my legs weren’t shaking.  I felt very calm.  Too calm.  I had been given the training to visualize my speech and embrace the opportunity to share my platform with an audience who may not know anything about who I am or my charity.  I relish moments to talk about The NASCAR Foundation, so I was overwhelmed with the joy of having this opportunity.  I was in the moment! 

On-stage question was over.  Back down in the dressing room I realized the audio was being broadcast in our dressing rooms.  I listened to each of the contestants talk about their platform and it made me so very proud to have been part of this group of amazing finalists.

Fitness wear was next and I was back up the stairs.  As I was waiting, my sister queen, Mrs. South Carolina Elizabeth Malvasia came and found me and gave me a big hug and told me how great my answer was on-stage.  Elizabeth and I were crowned together as our state pageants were held at the same time.  Over the course of the week, we bonded even more and were each other’s go-to for honest advice on all the little things like hair, make-up, fitness poses, speeches and everything else under the sun. 

As I turned around to walk to my place I encountered more contestants who told me they loved my on-stage interview.  I was shocked that contestants I may not have even had the chance to get to know very well were giving me thumbs up, hugs and well wishes!  That instantly gave me an extra jolt of energy for the fitness wear competition.

During the fitness wear competition I kept thinking of how great it felt to know I had my family in the audience, and also my new international pageant family – my sister contestants – were also cheering for me.  I always say “strength in numbers” no matter what the situation. 

Next was evening gown.  I come down the stairs into the dressing room and all my sister queens from Group A, including Elizabeth, were there on the ready to help me with anything I needed.  Love them all.  They were still cheering me on and also Mrs. Minnesota.  It’s like the tunnel at an NFL game when the players are lined up on either side giving you high fives as you are introduced.  I will always remember that moment. 

I love my Sherri Hill gown and felt like a royal princess in it.  Being a former bridal wear model, it is fun and exciting to play “dress up” and wear some of the most beautiful gowns in the world.  Needless to say, evening gown is my favorite part of the competition.  My husband and I don’t get to dress up a whole lot, so he too looked like a million bucks in his Armani tuxedo. 

That was it.  The competition was over.  There was nothing else I could do.  I had given my all and performed at my best.  Waiting in the wings for the crowning was great because I could actually watch the amazing performances and enjoy them without thinking of the competition.  It was over!

Walking back on-stage, I did another body check to make sure my legs weren’t shaking.  The announcers didn’t waste any time announcing the court.  Fourth runner-up was called, not me.  Third runner-up, not me.  Each name called, I prayed it wasn’t my name because the only time I wanted to hear my name was as the winner.  When that moment came, I think I remember turning to Mrs. Illinois to verify it was my name, looked into the audience at my director Joy Pfister, and then wasn’t sure where I was suppose to walk.  But I saw my husband and Shannon Devine and just walked towards them.  Then I looked at the judges and thanked them for the opportunity.  And then I remember looking into the audience to find my mom and my friend Kelly and wave at them.

I will be forever be grateful for all the people who God put in my life to help prepare me for this pageant.  My week at the Mrs. International Pageant was more than I had hoped for by networking with other business professionals all who have exceptionally creative marketing minds, and the strength and passion to make a difference.  Those who didn’t walk away with the crown were inspired and energized to have the opportunity to come back next year and compete again.  For me, I am inspired by their passion and honored to represent all of them, as well as myself and my charity, as their Mrs. International 2011.

Janet Bolin


  1. Sounds like a dream! Congrats!

  2. I get chills thinking of that moment! Janet, you were so gorgeous - and graceful - and so completely impressive with all you did to prepare for and excel in the pageant! So proud to have been there with you and your family - my true pleasure! Congratulations!

  3. SOOOOO Proud of you Janet! I don't think Mrs. International could have a better representative! You are an idol to so many! Love you!!


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