Monday, September 30, 2013

Alzheimer's Walk

When I contacted the local Alzheimer's Association and told them I would be happy to help with this year's Walk to End Alzheimer's, I never imagined they would ask me to be part of such a special piece of the day. 
The "Promise Garden" features four flowers:
Purple - for those who have lost someone to Alzheimer's or dementia
Yellow - for those caring for someone with Alzheimer's or dementia
Blue - for those living with Alzheimer's or dementia
Orange - for those who advocate for the Alzheimer's and dementia efforts
The opening ceremony for the Walk allows one representative of each color to present and say a few words. My grandmother, Ga, lived with dementia and it was so difficult for our entire family. When the event coordinators learned of this connection, they asked me if I would present the orange flower - as someone who was not only directly affected, but someone who as a titleholder has the ability to be a public advocate.
I can't remember a day where it rained so hard and steady for as long as it did the morning of the walk! However, spirits ran so high and everyone was excited to Walk to End Alzheimer's! Over 2,000 walkers registered and together we raised more than $186,000. I am so honored to have been able to be a part of such a special and meaningful event.
All set for the walk, thanks to my International Pageants umbrella
Post-walk with some lovely members of my team!
Seek Happiness,
Jesse Ladoue 
Miss International 2013

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Read ALL About It!

The other morning I was racing through our downstairs, trying to pick up every spare toy I could find. Given our children are 5 and 7 years old, there were a lot of spare pieces to pick up! I was wiping down counters and shoving magazines in drawers all in an effort to appear like the organized person I only wish I was. 

Why all the pomp and circumstance you wonder? (Well, maybe you don’t) I had a reporter on his way to the house. His name is Alan Henry. We both worked in Chicago media at the same time. He thought he could retire from news and discovered a week later he already missed it. So, he now works for a group of newspapers including The Glenview Lantern and Winnetka Current.

At this point I must give a shout out to my friend Angelica. She is a mom and mastermind behind a new invention that easily cuts off tags from clothing etc. By the way it's called “The Wizor,” and it is genius! Alan was doing an article on her product when she mentioned me and so he called to do a story.

And so here we are. There is a certain connection you have with fellow reporters/photogs after working in the media for any length of time. We just get it. We understand it from the not-so-glamorous side. Alan and I must have spoken for half an hour before we actually got to the task at hand, which was discussing CASA and the work I will do this year through the Mrs. International pageant system.

We shot a few pictures with my children who were THRILLED to be included, especially when the article appeared in the paper and circulated through their school. That article has already opened doors for CASA and a potential Fortune 500 sponsor!!! Thank you Mr. Alan Henry for stopping by to talk. It means more awareness and support for CASA!

Hot off the press!

Be the change~

Amy Gregorio
Your Mrs. International 2013

Thursday, September 26, 2013

My Vision

I have never had the best vision. In school I couldn’t always read the assignments on the board or see the numbers on the clock on the wall. I’ve known for a few years now that I needed glasses, but because my vision wasn’t too awful and I could still manage, I put off going to the eye doctor.

On Monday I made an appointment and went in expecting everything to go smoothly.

Everything went perfectly fine. The doctor said I had good vision in my left eye, though it was a little bad in my right eye. We were about to get up and leave when he stopped us and said he had found something odd in my left eye. He took us into a another room and showed us the pictures he had taken of the retina on both of my eyes. The right eye was a light pick color all the way through and this was how he said it was suppose to look. The left eye was covered in thick, black and gray blotches. He said it could possibly be scaring on the retina, but it did not typically look like this.

On Thursday I spent the day at St. Vincent’s Hospital having my eyes checked out by a retina specialist. He gave me several different things that could be wrong with my eye, but in the end he could not tell me what the cause was, how long it had been there, or if it would effect my vision or health. He simply did not know. He did say, what he believes might be scarring, is adjacent to my optic nerve on the retina. He said at this time it is not affecting my sight, but if the scarring spreads I could potentially loose my vision in my left eye.

I’m scheduled to go in for a check up in a few months and if my retina has not changed, I will be going in once a year for the rest of my life to keep an eye on things.

I think the worst part of all this is that I’m left in the dark. Not knowing what is wrong or what is going to happen is scary. All I can do is keep looking forward and know that my God will keep his hand on me and protect me. I ask for your prayers and to keep me in your thoughts in this time.

I recall one of my favorite quotes. “In the end all will be well and if it is not well then it is not the end.” I have hope that it will all be alright.

All my love,

Haley Pontius

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Right Place, Right Time

Mrs. New York International 2013, Karen O'Hara, and I only live about 45 minutes apart. We have done many appearances together and were very involved in each other's preparations for Chicago. She is one of the most wonderful gifts that my reign has brought me.

She is so incredibly passionnate about her platform - working to end human trafficking. When she asked me to be a member of the board of directors for her non-profit, United Hands of Hope House (Western NY's first safe house for victims of human trafficking) - her dedicaiton was contagious and inspiring and I couldn't help but join her crusade.
An opportunity arose for Karen to present her platform at a New York Fashion Week show, and she was generous enough to ask me to join her. Luckily, it fit perfectly into my tri-state area road trip.
We walked into Studio 450 and another show was concluding. As Karen and I posed with guests on the red carpet, a woman (named Cherry) approached me and this is how the exchange went:
Cherry: Are you walking in the show?
Me: oh, no I'm here as a guest with Mrs. New York International who is presenting
Cherry: So you're walking in the show...?
Me: I'm confused, is this a question or a statement
Cherry: We'd like you to walk in the show
Me: Wait, I'm not tall enough, I'm only 5'5" (I'm really 5'4 and 3/4" but I rounded up!)
Cherry: We'll put you in tall shoes!
Next thing I knew I was swept up into the rush of NYFW. Hairstylists, models, designers all going through the motions and here I am BURSTING inside!!! The show itself featured two designers' presentations... Wouldn't you know, the first outfit I wore was chosen as the OPENING of the entire event... OMG!
It will definitely be an experience that I will gladly share with my grandchildren (God willing) someday. Such a surreal moment in my life. I had resigned to the thinking that due to my height this would never happen.
Moral of the story is to take every opportunity and appearance that comes your way during your reign. The crown can be a key to unforgettable connections, moments, and memories if you just put your power behind it.

Action shots on the runway! I only look a LITTLE out of my element ;)
My beautiful and inspiring friend, Karen O'Hara, and I post-show posing for photos
Seek Happiness,
Jesse Ladoue 
Miss International 2013

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

New Websites!

We are excited to share our newly redesigned websites with everyone!

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Kindest Keepsake

During the week at Mrs. International, I along with all the other contestants had a chance to get to know one another. I had one of those great opportunities when we visited the Botanic Garden and Water Tower Place in downtown Chicago.

I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

I had the good fortune of sitting next to Mrs. South Dakota, Shannon Van Uden Rook. Doesn’t she have the best name? She and I had already gotten to know each other a little bit through Facebook. Shannon is that statuesque blonde who is intelligent and compassionate. And I get the sneaky feeling she doesn't quite realize how eye catching she is. She advocates for children and teens handling mental health issues. I learned so much from her that Wednesday and throughout the week. Funny and beautiful!

Gone with the Wind fabulous!

Shannon is a wife, mom, educator and advocates for children’s mental health and well-being. She is working to increase awareness of the at-risk behaviors within our youth population today. Shannon says issues include, “substance abuse, violence, bullying, suicide attempts/self harm, human trafficking and dropping out of school, just to name a few.”

It’s believed 1 in 5 children in the U.S. are diagnosed with a mental illness. However, Shannon says others go undiagnosed for several reasons, “One being the negative perception which surrounds these kinds of illnesses. In order to help families feel more secure in seeking treatment, we need to change society's mind-set when it comes to the issue of mental illness. The same compassion we show for a child’s diagnosis of diabetes or cancer should be the same compassion shown for a diagnosis dealing with mental health.” I agree!

And then a couple of weeks ago, my doorbell rang. There stood the mailman with a package from Shannon. Inside that package, was the painting she created of my horse, Legacy. I cannot wait to hang it in my house! What a wonderful person and what a wonderfully talented friend.

Legacy in a his glory!

Last week she gave her farewell speech and helped welcome in a new Mrs. South Dakota International 2014. (I had hoped to be there, but was speaking at an annual event as a tribute to my father-in-law.) Congratulations Shannon on a great year representing your state and the International system with grace and integrity! Mwah!

Be the change!

Amy Gregorio
Your Mrs. International

Friday, September 20, 2013

Ready…..Break (out the snacks)!

Ok, I’ll just say it…. I love football!  Fall Sundays are really some of my favorite days to relax and recharge with family and friends.  If you’re planning on being a hostess with the most(ess) this season I have a great recipe that is perfect for entertaining on days like this.  Let’s get one thing straight, I am a NY Giants fan!  However, as a Buffalo resident I do support the Bills - so in honor of my hometown I present to you a guaranteed crowd pleaser…

Buffalo Chicken Dip 
(P.S. This recipe comes straight from my State Director, Jodi Cessna, so trust me –it is amazing!!!)

-8oz package of cream cheese (low-fat!)
-2 12oz cans of white meat chicken (if you’re feeling adventurous, go ahead and shred your own)
-1 cup of ranch dressing
-1 cup of hot sauce (preferably Frank’s)
-2cups of shredded cheddar cheese

Blend all ingredients and microwave for 15 minutes, stirring periodically each 5 minutes.

Delicious on just about EVERYTHING, but if you’re feeling waistline conscious celery is a great alternative to tortilla chips!

Jesse Ladoue

Candid Candace

The class-act, Candace Jordan or Candid Candace.

Candace Jordan is a fixture around the Chicago social scene. She knows everyone and anyone around here. It was a bit of a thrill to discover she included in me in her blog, which appears in Chicago Now.

Candace has a loyal following and is incredibly philanthropic. I would love to know her secret for endless energy and her ability to always appear so flawless! She is gorge, right? Thank you to Candace. I appreciate the time and space given for the shout out.

Be the change!

Amy Gregorio

Your Mrs. International 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Battle of the County

I live in a small town where football season is everything. You arrive at a game and the line to get inside stretches through the entire parking lot. You stand in line and the woman in front of you is your next door neighbor and the teenage girl behind you is in your journalism class. The person working the gate is the 8th grade science teacher and the person who takes your order at the concession stand is your best friends older sister. In this little town everyone knows everyone. Football games are like family reunions as people from all over the county and almost everyone who has ever graduated from my high school come to watch.

There is a tradition in my community called “The Battle of the County”. There are only two schools in our county and for the first game of the season every year they go head to head. There’s a huge trophy that is given to the school who wins the game and then the next year if they lose, it goes to the other school.

I’m proud to report that this year the trophy is now back where it belongs at my high school! Last Friday night was my last first football game. From our first senior battle cry at our pep rally to the tear jerking slide shows of our class, it was so bittersweet. I have been going to school with these students since first grade and we have been through so much together. This year is going the best one yet, I can feel it.


Haley Rose

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Never Forget

I was sitting in Mrs. McNamara’s eighth grade religion class when the announcement was made: two planes have crashed into the World Trade Center. I, like the rest of our nation and much of the world was forever changed on that day. I have always felt connected to (and in love with) New York City. It is one of the many reasons I chose to attend Iona College – its close proximity and accessibility to the “concrete jungle where dreams are made”. The opportunities, the excitement, and most of all the diversity make the city so special to so many.

Iona College lost 15 alumni in the attacks as well as 2 first responders on that day. On September 11, 2013 I was back on campus to honor their memory. The ceremony was so touching and heartfelt. Even though Iona is a Christian Brothers College, prayers of Catholicism, Judaism, Buddhism, and Islam were said to represent all those that were affected and continue to mourn loved ones taken too soon – it was a beautiful touch. Even as the years pass, the vivid memory and pain is still as present as ever. We truly will never forget.

I am so proud to be a New Yorker and an American each and every day. Thank you to all those who serve and have served our country in order to protect our freedom.

With the President of Iona College, Dr. Joseph Nyre, following the 9/11 Ceremony

Jesse Ladoue

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Lucy Wheelock

School is so exciting for them. May it always be.

Lucy Wheelock.  Do you know her?  I didn’t either…until today.

Today was the first day of the school year for our 2nd grade son.  I swear, it was just the other day when we were in his new kindergarten classroom, helping him find his cubby for art supplies and the slot for his daily, “mail.”  This year, his mail will be in the form of homework. He is less than thrilled about that last part.  And today, my husband and I are helping our daughter sort through her first day in her new kindergarten classroom, cubbies and all.  Our daughter embraces it all…for now. She is an apparent social butterfly, but who knows how or if she will change over this instrumental year.

Anyway, back to Lucy Wheelock.  I learned about her during our kindergarten get-to-know-you meeting when our school’s principal talked about the importance of kindergarten.  It’s not just, “child’s play.”

Lucy Wheelock.

It was the revolutionary Wheelock who said, "The ideal kindergarten is the ideal republic. Its little citizens are trained to self-activity, self-control, and the 'due freedom’, which comes from a regard for the rights and happiness of others.”

It's an interesting quote, made back in 1891 by the educator who later founded Wheelock College in Boston. It does seem that everything we need to know or, SHOULD, know is taught in kindergarten.  Given my daughter has gym and Spanish three times a week; an IPad lab, art and music twice a week, sign me up. I already learned a lot on her very first day!  

The start of an ideal republic.

And so today my five-year-old entered her first big girl classroom and she is now part of the ideal republic. The lessons she and her classmates learn this year will hopefully serve them well as they grow into adults...which will happen soon enough.

Be the change!

Amy Gregorio
Your Mrs. International

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The VolunteerMatch Partnership

I recently submitted some video blogs to VolunteerMatch to help round out their Millennial Month, targeting the next generation of Volunteers.  Take a look at one of the excerpts here:

Seek Happiness,

Jesse Ladoue
Miss International 2013

Friday, September 13, 2013


One of the most impacting and inspiring things I have ever been told was said to me by Jurnee Carr, Miss Teen International 2011.

In April of 2012, I competed in the Miss Teen Arkansas International pageant for the first time. There were some amazing young women there and I honestly did not expect to win the pageant or even make top five. I was going to be excited just to win any award and happy I was able to compete and experience this pageant. To my complete surprise I placed as 4th runner up! I was beyond excited!

After the pageant was over and the much deserving Erica Brewer was crowned Miss Teen Arkansas International 2012, everyone began to run across the stage to hug their friends and congratulate Erica. I was looking into the crowd and smiling at my family, when the next thing I knew, before me stood Jurnee Carr. She looked at me and said not to be disappointed about not winning. She said that the first time she competed she placed fourth runner up and look at where she was now! She was Miss Teen International!

I was inspired by her and it gave me motivation to come back the next year and compete again. This gave me courage and determination to make my dreams come true, though I had no idea that I would be Miss Teen International a little over a year later!

The point of this story is to pass on what Jurnee gave me. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again! With a little hope and determination you can go a long way. It is my most sincerer  hope that you never stop dreaming and believing that anything is possible. Shoot for the moon and even if you miss you will still be among the stars.

All my love,

Haley Pontius
Miss Teen International 2013

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Red Dress Dash

We are ready for Dash!

It was time to tread in red.  My friend who has been the Miss and Miss Teen Illinois International director, Jennifer, escorted me downtown for Chicago's first, “Red Dress Dash,” for the Go Red Campaign through the American Heart Association.

The catered event was held at Daley Plaza. Everywhere you looked there were women, and even men, in red dresses and tennis shoes. Quite the look! Everyone then raced around the plaza in a 50-yard race to the finish. The winner was given both a trophy and a gift card, which he'll use for a girlfriend's upcoming birthday.

With some of our Red Dress Dashers!

It was great to see some of the familiar faces from the American Heart Association and Go Red for Women. And we enjoyed getting a chance to meet the many staff and students from Mercy Hospital who helped organize this race. Mercy has a great cardiology program and during the year they have many different events to help educate everyone about heart health related issues.

Be the change!

Amy Gregorio 
Your Mrs. International

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A Piece of History

The Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village is home to the Amherst Museum.  They offer a wealth of history for both New Yorkers and overall culture.  I have attended two of their exhibit openings as Miss New York International: “Modern Childhood”, a collection of games and activities that have littered living rooms across the country for centuries, and “Body Beautiful”, an impressive display of the evolution of what society considers beautiful at each time period and the lengths we went through to achieve it.

They do such an incredible job displaying the items and curating the exhibits.  I could (and have) wander(ed) around for hours and still find pieces I missed the first few times.  The staff is such a talented group and I have come to know them well.   Whenever I attend an event with them I know it will be a fun and also educational experience.

I received an email from the director of the museum sharing some information about their next exhibit: an exploration of occupational uniforms over the years.  To my surprise, they asked if they could display my Miss New York International crown and sash as part of the two-year exhibit that will open in February of 2014.   I was so flattered and honored by request.  Looking forward to solidifying the International Pageant System as a part of history!

Enjoying the interactive games at the Modern Childhood Exhibit

With Body Beautiful Exhibit Curator, Kayla Shypski

Seek Happiness,

Jesse Ladoue
Miss International 2013

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Official Photo Shoot!

During orientation at Mrs. International, we were all given a date for the official Mrs. International photo shoot with Clay Spann in Dothan, Alabama. I wrote it down along with everything else we learned that night. Now, I was on my way to Dothan for that very shoot! It is an amazing gift to be given!

It was an entertaining evening at Bella’s!

I arrived Friday and was greeted by Mary Richardson and our Miss Teen International, Haley Pontius. After checking in to the hotel, we had time to catch up a bit.  Haley is kind to her core and such a standout.  Of course I adore Mary.  She is smart and powerful.  And she is also very funny and so interesting. We met up with Joey Rutherford and Clay Spann for dinner at Bella’s.  I am hungry just thinking about it! They took great care of us there.

I had a hard time sleeping because I was so excited for Saturday!  Joey and Terri had lined up some of the most beautiful and edgy wardrobe I have ever seen! Given Bella’s, I was thrilled I was able to fit in the extravagant clothing they selected.

Miss Terri making sure everything is in place.

And for the day, Clay worked his fingers to the bone with the help of Terri.  It was a great make over every time.  And I say, “every time,” because we shot several looks; each one very different from the other.  It is still a mystery to me how my hair does not cooperate for me the way it does when it is in hands of professionals.  Clay, Joey and Terri are a tremendous trio of talent.  I have no idea which pictures they have selected and I am glad I don’t have to make the final choices.  You will get to see some of them shortly when the brand new International website is launched.  I can barely contain my excitement for the big reveal! And then throughout the year more of their hard work will appear.

This look was shot for the Go Red for Women campaign and the American Heart Association.

Clay, “the magician,” at work!  This breathtaking gown was selected by Joey and accessorized by Terri. Loved it!

These are just a couple of pictures taken at the start of the shoot. You will have to check out the new International website for the final cuts!

Post-shoot with Joey and Clay.

Thank you to Mel and Mary for this opportunity and thank you to Joey, Clay and Terri for a magical experience!

Be the change!

Amy Gregorio 
Your Mrs. International

Monday, September 9, 2013

Let Us Represent You!

To kick off my senior year just right I decided to run for student council! Now my high school isn’t very large so we don’t have anything fancy, but the student council does do a lot for not only our school, but our community as a whole. From homecoming to community service events, the student council does it all.

Before the election week there was a meeting with the candidates to discuss some of the events that would be taking place throughout the year for the council. Immediately I was excited by all of the ideas and plans they hoped to put into action though the council. I was literally jumping with joy!

When I decided to run I also thought it might be fun to run with a friend and campaign together since there can be three representatives. This, of course, had never been done before, but, my best friend, Morgan and I decided to change up this election a little bit.

The first step we took was to look at the students past records of voting and what swayed their votes. Surprisingly, one of the major factors in their choice of candidate was the funniness and creativity of the posters! So, Morgan and I, with the help of our friends, came up with the craziest and funniest posters we could think of. If we were going to do this we were going to do it right!

I have never before seen quite the reaction that we received! We had more compliments from teachers and students than we can count and gained more followers than we ever expected! The majority of our poster were done with photo shop and filled with references to nerdy movies and books. I must say they are hilarious!

Morgan and I are very close and neither of us will be too upset if we lose. Instead, we will be happy for the other if they win and happy that we had the opportunity to run for office. We know that who ever is chosen by the student body will do wonders for our school and community and represent us well.

The announcement of the new student council will be next Tuesday morning, so until then, wish us luck!

Much love,


Sunday, September 8, 2013


One of the taglines I like to tout about volunteerism is “One person can start a movement.  Let the movement start with you”.  I think too often we lose sight of the potential impact one person can have.  More than this, we lose sight of the bigger picture – if we are ALL doing good things (even small acts of kindness) we can affect great change.  One of my favorite stories to illustrate this is “The Star Thrower”.  Read on and be inspired to do your part today…
A young girl was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up, and throw it back into the ocean. People watched her with amusement.

She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and said, “Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!”

The girl seemed crushed, suddenly deflated. But after a few moments, she bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as she could into the ocean. Then she looked up at the man and replied,

“Well, I made a difference to that one!”

The old man looked at the girl inquisitively and thought about what she had done and said. Inspired, he joined the little girl in throwing starfish back into the sea. Soon others joined, and all the starfish were saved.
adapted from the Star Thrower by Loren C. Eiseley
Seek Happiness,

Jesse Ladoue
Miss International 2013

Friday, September 6, 2013

Mrs. California International Pageant

Isn’t La Quinta beautiful?

This weekend I found myself waking up on the West Coast, in La Quinta which is a charming community just outside Palm Springs, California

I met this adorable 5year old who wanted a glimpse of the crown. She was incredibly sweet!

Eddie Peterson is the director for Mrs. California International. He also is a beloved person to all those who meet him. It was a privilege to be a part of his beautiful pageant this year. I was a chance to catch up with three of the judges from this year’s Mrs. International pageant. I owe them SO much for giving me this year of opportunities. The judges for the 2014 Mrs. CA International pageant were each former Mrs. California Int’ls along with Rebekah Negrete, who won Mrs. International 2007. I had THE BEST time having lunch and late dinners with everyone and even pulled a side muscle from laughing so much with them!

Although the weekend was very busy, I was so happy to sit and talk for a while with Shana Smith, Mrs. California Int’l 2013. Shana is a devoted mother and supportive military wife. The work she has accomplished on behalf of the “Got Your Back Network,” is just the beginning of all she will be accomplishing in years to come.

The New Mrs. CA International 2014, Eddie Peterson and me.

Congratulations to the new Mrs. California international 2014, Staci Ortiz – Davis! She is providing scholarships through an organization she started on behalf of her late grandmother. She is now part of a wonderful family that is California International and with the support of her sister queens and Eddie Peterson, she's going to have a fantastic journey ahead of her.

Be the change!

Amy Gregorio
Your Mrs. International 2013

Thursday, September 5, 2013

My Second Chance At My First Pitch

After I was crowned Miss Teen Arkansas International, one of the first events that I was able to attend was a Dickey Stephens (Arkansas Travelers) baseball game where I would be throwing out the first pitch. I was so honored and excited, but there was an issue. I’m terrible at sports. I can’t even throw a baseball straight! So, before the game I buckled down and practiced, practiced, practiced until I could throw a decent pitch. I thought that I was ready… and oh how wrong I was!

It wasn’t until I was out on the field, standing on the mound and gazing up at the large crowd and the catcher who was signaling me to throw the ball that I realized I was far from ready. But, still, I let it fly and even with all of the catcher’s speed he wasn’t able to catch it before it hit the dirt. At the time I was a little sad that it wasn’t the pitch I had hoped for, but I was ecstatic that I even had this opportunity.

Fast forwarding to after I won Miss Teen International, I discovered that I would be able to throw out the first pitch again! And I was being given a second chance to redeem myself!

This time I didn’t practice, but went straight into the pitch with confidence that I could throw a decent strike. Unfortunately, the second time around the pitch was far worse than the first! I honestly couldn’t believe it! It practically didn’t go anywhere near home plate!

When I look back now, I can’t help but laugh! It’s alright that the throws weren’t perfect, because I had the time of my life doing something people only dream about. I’m grateful for the opportunity and I’m proud of my first pitches, even if they didn’t exactly make it home!


Haley Rose Pontius

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Perfect Face

One of my first appearances as Miss New York International at a very public blood drive gave me a real wake-up call.  It went well enough. I mixed and mingled, took photos with fans and attendees, manned my assigned stations to make donors feel at ease, and spoke in great lengths about the International Pageant System and Volunteerism.

As it was time for me to leave I was shaking hands and thanking the staff and one of the coordinators, a man, said to me “I didn’t think you looked the part when you walked in, but seeing you in action and hearing you speak I can tell you are very deserving of your crown”.  While it is a compliment that I proved myself with substance, it was a lesson to me – never take your role as a “beauty queen” lightly.  Since that day my mission has always been to be the most glamorous woman in the room with the warmest heart.

While every aspect of a make-up routine is important there are three things I find most essential to elevate my look from a nice Saturday evening dinner out to titleholder appearance that I now NEVER skip: Lip Liner, Eyelashes, Eyebrow Definition.  The eyes and lips are the focal points of every face so it’s important that they are emphasized (but not exaggerated… save that for the stage).

Lips: With all the smiling, talking, and laughing titleholders do, a soft yet defined lip is a beautiful thing.  If this is a new trick to you, play it safe and draw your line right where your lip meets your skin.  I usually blend my liner inward for a more seamless look when I add my lip color.  My two favorite Clay Spann combinations are: Whisper liner and Nude Beach color or Paradise liner and Bubble Gum color for brighter looks.  Finish off with a clear lip glass.

Eyes: Eyelashes are not always fun and they take lots of practice (at least they did for me).  I typically use lashes that will build up my volume as opposed to my length to keep the look as natural as possible, but again giving that amped up glam that will make your eyes pop.

I was amazed the difference that defining my eyebrows made for my overall appearance.  The adjective that comes to mind most is “polished”.  It just pulls everything together. I use a brow gel and Clay Spann Brow Definer in “Soft Brown” to ensure they always look neat and sleek.

All ready for the camera – decked out in my Clay Spann cosmetics!

Practice, practice, practice!

Seek Happiness,

Jesse Ladoue
Miss International 2013

Sunday, September 1, 2013

National Night Out

Around the country, more than 15-thousand communities took part in National Night Out.  In fact, 37-million of us came out for the nation-wide event. It’s a great way for police and emergency personnel to build stronger bonds with the communities they serve and protect.  That is especially true in communities where the public may not have such a friendly relationship with police.

The kids were so excited to be given police cards. It’s much better than a ticket!

I was invited to take part in the festivities in Vernon Hills, Illinois. The activities are focused on children so I brought along my son and daughter. Along with the face painting, the moonwalks and the various games to be played... children learned better ways to stay safe. Thank you Vernon Hills for welcoming me into your community and for allowing me to be part of these festivities.

Be the change!

Amy Gregorio