Sunday, August 31, 2014

Travel With Us!

If you love international travel and changing lives by the thousands, travel with us to Haiti next January!

Last week we announced a special “Travel with Mrs. International” trip to Haiti next January 2nd-6th , 2015. It is truly an experience of a lifetime to travel with Soles4Souls and touch the hearts of people around the world. If you missed the announcement, here is the link!

What does a shoe distribution look like? Take a second to watch this video from Soles4Souls

To sign up, visit :

I look forward to you or anyone you know interested traveling with us to #GiveShoesGiveLove !

Live what you Love,

Your Mrs. International 2014


Saturday, August 30, 2014

My Last First Day...

On Monday of this week I posed for my annual first day of school picture bright and early before I left to meet my 600+ classmates at our Senior Breakfast. My mom said my photo album wouldn’t be complete without “one last one” and it would be really fun to look back at 30 years from now because I wasn’t wearing my usual cute back to school outfit. For this last one I was all decked out in black and gold. As Central High Seniors we have a right of passage tradition. We get to wear skirts, shorts, or pants made of gold lamé fabric for the first day of school as well as on Friday’s during football season. Lots of people even wear tiger ears in honor of our mascot!


I still can’t believe I am starting my senior year! It is definitely bittersweet knowing this is my last year before everything changes. Of course I am super excited to be a senior and all that comes with that privilege, but I’m also a little sad because life as I’ve known it for the past 17 years will change in 12 short months. I have to admit I’m nervous and a little unsettled about my future!

Everywhere I turn, people are asking me about my future plans, where I’m going to college and what I’m going to be. All I can say is, “ I don’t know for sure.” I’m grateful to have a stack of correspondence from colleges around the country but looking at the growing pile reminds me that I haven’t decided what I want to do or where I want to go. I know I have to make some decisions pretty quickly about the colleges that will be the best fit for me. I’m looking forward to making college visits this fall and applying to schools!

I’m happy to be back to school with my friends, participating in my favorite clubs, and to be part of the 2015 graduating class! I hope everyone’s first day of school was as great as mine! Here’s to a year of fun, good times, sweet friendships, precious memories, academic achievement and striving to be the best possible you!

If you believe in something, believe in it all the way!

Blair Wortsmith
Miss Teen International 2014

Friday, August 29, 2014

Stay Organized!

I cannot stress how important it is to stay organized! As a city, county, state, country, or International titleholder you will most likely have appearance requests from multiple organizations on the same day! I keep a calendar to stay organized! Not only do I keep my upcoming events on it, but important due dates, birthdays and vacations! It is much easier to see a conflict in scheduling when it is right in front of your face! I am a visual person so I have a HUGE dry erase calendar that I keep on my wall and add to when needed! You can use different colors to represent different types of events, or even use post its when you don’t have enough space on a specific day!

I have a Huge 3 months coming up and I wouldn’t have been able to schedule it all if it wasn’t for my organizational skills. I have a binder with information on every event that I can refer to if I need to pull up my hotel info, flight schedule or event coordinator’s phone number! It is so much easier than rummaging through emails or trying to track down websites- everything is just in ONE place!

MY Calendar for the next 3 months- I will be traveling to 5 states! Yes you heard me right- 5 states in 3 months! I will be adding more events as they come in!

Ignite Your Spark,

Samantha Riddle
Miss International 2014

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

They've Got Soul!

Over the last year working with Soles4Souls our partnership has grown beyond just someone who is passionate about a platform...we are a family.

This is an homage to an absolutely AMAZING group of individuals who have allowed me to speak on their behalf and walk alongside them in the mission to wear out poverty.

Here is the BEST part about them….they celebrate everyone like this and we are ALL treated like Rock Stars!

I THANK YOU SOLES4SOULS for being lovers of people and givers of hope for all equally. You daily support is humbling and I am grateful.

Nicole Atnip, David Graben and Buddy Teaster. Thank you for accepting me as a spokesperson for you seeing the possibilities through our partnership together to change lives globally.

Kelly Modena. Where would I be without you? Your daily support and our brainstorming sessions are amongst my favorite times of the day (or night!). You are a true superhero living it out to wear out poverty.

Tiffany Johnson and Kelly Hoskins. My travel buddies and leaders extraordinaire Love you gals! The world is literally better because of you both!

Soles4Souls stepped up to the plate to Go Red for the AHA 10th anniversary after I asked if they would be willing to help raise awareness Heart Disease is the #1 Killer of Women. 

After learning I had made it on NBC’s American Ninja Warrior to raise awareness for their cause, the staff at HQ sent me this super amazing picture to cheer me on in their best “ninja” pose

Their support through social media was amazing

The support from them through all of the endeavors to Give Shoes and Give Love as a spokesperson for Soles4Souls has been more than I could ever pray for in working with someone.

Live What you Love

Your Mrs. International 2014


Tuesday, August 26, 2014


The Natural State, the Land of Opportunity, and Hog Nation are just a few nicknames given to my home state of Arkansas. Pronounced Arkan“saw” not Ar“Kansas.” I am a product of this great state. It’s where I was born and raised!

In Arkansas we are loud and we are proud! We love our Razorbacks, the mascot for the University Of Arkansas! My dad was a cheerleader for the Hogs in college. Needless to say, I have been a die-hard Razorback football fan since I was young! We are also proud to claim the Clintons. If you ever come to visit me in Arkansas you will more than likely be flying into the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport!

We have been calling the Hogs together for as long as I can remember! Woo pig sooie!

I was lucky enough to meet Mrs. Clinton a few months ago when she was in Little Rock for a book signing.

It isn’t unusual for me to see a gorgeous sunrise like this. I took this picture on my back deck one morning before school.

If you haven’t been, you need to plan a trip to visit. If you love the outdoors there are so many exciting things to do and see. You could hike to the top of Pinnacle Mountain, watch the Great Passion Play in Eureka Springs, dig for diamonds at the Crater of Diamonds State Park, tour a cave at Blanchard Springs Caverns, or one of my personal favorites- spend a day relaxing, fishing or boating on one of our 2,240 gorgeous lakes. It’s super easy to stay active in Arkansas!!!

Water sports are all the rage in Arkansas. I learned to ski when I was 7 years old.

There’s nothing better than a watching the sunset on the lake after a fun day on the water.

Our average temperature range is 58 to 65. We aren’t typically known for our moderate temperatures or annual snowfall totals, but we are well known for our humidity. You don’t get a lot of “good hair days” during the summer months in Arkansas! When it snows even just a little, school is cancelled and everyone stays home.

We don’t get snow often, but when we do it is always pretty!

There are some interesting things you might not know about Arkansas. We are #1 in the nation for rice and poultry production. We are the home of Wal-Mart founder, Sam Walton. Every spring, Wye Mountain in Bigelow is covered with about 250,000 daffodils. You have to see it to believe it! The nation’s oldest cemetery in located in Fort Smith. You can soak in water from a hot spring on bath row in Hot Springs National Park. And last, but not least, the Ozark National Forest covers more than one million acres.

That is only a sampling of the many, many, many things that my home state has to offer. I’m sure you can see from my pictures why Arkansas is called the Natural State. It truly is a beautiful place to live and I’m proud to be an Arkansan. Even though I LOVE my home state, I also love to travel! This year I hope to be “coming to a city near you.” I am excited to visit as many new places as I can during my reign!

If you believe in something, believe in it all the way!

Blair Wortsmith
Miss Teen International 2014

Monday, August 25, 2014

Cool Facts About the West Coast!

I was born and raised in a small town in Southern California (Moorpark) and represented the West Coast at The Miss International Pageant this year. The West Coast is consists of California, Washington, and Oregon! (Some people do count Alaska and Hawaii) Let me share with you some reasons why I LOVE to call the West Coast home!

The West Coast is home to the lowest and highest points in the continental U.S. You can travel 282 feet below sea level at Death Valley or visit Mt. Whitney at 14,494 ft!

We boast the world’s largest outdoor amphitheater: The Hollywood Bowl!

Hollywood Bowl

We are also home to the infamous DEATH VALLEY- the hottest, driest place in the United States.

More specifically- California has the largest economy in the states of the Union. If California was a country- it would rank as the seventh largest economy in the world!

Fortune Cookies, Apple Computers, Theme Parks, Blue Jeans, and BARBIE were all created in the West Coast!

The West Coast makes up a little over 15% of the population of the united states!

My current hometown- Los Angeles- is the largest city in the West Coast!

Los Angeles is home to Celebrities, film studios, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, The Famous Chinese Theatre, The Lakers, Clippers, Kings and Dodgers! (Still no football team!)

Chinese Theatre

But on a more personal level the reasons why I love the West Coast are simple:

You cannot find better weather than in Southern California!

THE FOOD! Whether its farm to table all organic restaurants, extremely inventive food, cultural food, or just an amazing food truck, there is always a great place to eat right around the corner!

The Fashion District! I live 15 minutes from the Los Angeles Fashion District which is nestled right next to FIDM- The Fashion Design school made famous by Project Runway and Lauren Conrad! You can always find something eclectic, fashion forward or edgy for an amazing price! A lot of the students sell their one of a kind designs downtown to gain a following and notoriety!

The BEACHES! I lived in North Texas for two years and boy, did I miss the beach! Whether it’s the dog friendly beaches in Long Beach (Home of the Queen Mary) the bonfire beaches in Manhattan Beach, or just the beautiful views in Malibu, there’s a beach to fit everyone’s needs!

Malibu Beach Hiking Trail

Ignite Your Spark,

Samantha Riddle
Miss International 2014

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Nebraska..the Good Life

“Nebraska?! You wouldn’t like it there. It is flat and just full of cornfields. You’ll never be happy going to that state.” I remember one of my track coaches’ telling me this when sitting in his office discussing schools that had offers on the table to run for them finishing out my collegiate career as a hurdler. The options were plenty from North Carolina to Texas, Arizona to mountains of Northwest Washington, schools lining the pacific in California to edging the coast in Florida. I had really liked Nebraska’s approach in whenever they called though, it was just like talking to family and they truly wanted to get to know me as a person. This is why I chose to make Nebraska my first official visit and from the moment of arrival it felt like home. The pace was slower, the people were extremely nice and the environment family focused. Before leaving the recruiting trip I committed to Nebraska and have never looked back.

What is so captivating about a state whose name means “Flat Water” that can pull away a San Diego beach girl? Here are 10 Fun Facts about the state I have called home for the last 12 years.

Population of Nebraska is over 1.865 Million, but 89% of the cities in Nebraska have fewer than 3,000 people

The Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo was recently named the “Best Zoo in the World” and contains the World’s Largest Indoor Rainforest. Ironically my previous hometown of San Diego their Zoo is number 2 (

On football game days’ Memorial Stadium, home of the Huskers becomes the 3rd largest “city” in the state continuing its NCAA sellout streak that has been held since 1962.

Nebraska Huskers Memorial Stadium seats over 90,000 after its recent stadium expansion that opened in 2013 that I was able to help design, manage the construction and outfit.

Lincoln is the capital and the second-most populous city of the State of Nebraska, after Omaha. Home of the University of Nebraska where I obtained my degree and ran track, the Sower, a 19-foot bronze statue representing agriculture, crowns the Capitol.

Home to many inventions known around the world including TV Dinners, Kool-aid, Vise Grips, Crash walls used in Nascar, the Reuben Sandwich and the 911 Emergency System, Nebraska has many creative thinkers!

Nebraska is a state that lies in both the Great Plains and the Midwestern United States and is the only state in the United States with a unicameral legislature. Although this house is officially known simply as the "Legislature", and more commonly called the "Unicameral", its members call themselves "senators". Nebraska's Legislature is also the only state legislature in the United States that is nonpartisan.

Nebraska is home to the International Quilt Center & Museum, and the National Roller Skating Museum

Many Internationally famous people have come from Nebraska including Fred Astaire, Malcolm X, Johnny Carson , Larry the Cable Guy, Warren Buffet and Henry Fonda to name a few.

The University of Nebraska leads the Nation with the most Academic All-Americans across all sports leading over Harvard, Stanford, Notre Dame and other prestigious academic schools. Even the Cornhusker football team has produced more Academic All-Americans than any other Division I school

In 1950, Omaha became the home of the College World Series now played at TD Ameritrade Park.

With all of these fun things to do in Nebraska, where can you most often find our family when we go on our “Family Fun Dates”?

Here are the Top 5 places we love to have our adventures together:

1. Hiking through the woods. Nebraska has many great parks, but our favorite is Mahoney!

2. Bike rides or running together. There are over 131 miles of hard surface and crushed rock trails for us to explore. We typically stop at a playground, fountain or garden to explore during our rides. One our favorites is Sunken Gardens that has two large coy ponds and adjacent sculptural fountain

3. Attending the Farmers Market to support local growers an small business’s while enjoying the newly redeveloped family friendly downtown Lincoln Haymarket

4. Cheering on Husker Athletics at sporting events

5. Fun indoor play! Mahoney indoor playground, Air and Space Museum, Lincoln’s Children Museum, Amazing Pizza Machine and CoCo Keys are our top spots

Top 5 local date night spots if you visit our hometown!

1. Venue
2. Misty’s
3. Fireworks
4. Indigo Bridge and Books
5. Flatwater Grill and Bistro

Interested in finding out more or visiting my home state? Here are a few useful links:

Live what you Love,

Your Mrs. International 2014


Saturday, August 23, 2014

An Active Plan

Since I returned home from the National Pageant lots of people have asked me where I am going next and what my plans are for the upcoming year. After several weeks of thinking, planning, coordinating, and scheduling I can finally begin to answer this!

As Miss Teen International 2014, I plan to continue my work with Fuel Up to Play 60 in my own community and help promote the program on a national level. To do this I will visit many elementary and middle schools throughout the nation, attend kickoff events for the organization to help establish new FUTP60 programs and encourage students to start initiating “plays” from the playbook in their own community. I would also like to get sponsors to help me provide students around the globe with playground balls and jump ropes to encourage them to engage in fun forms of physical activity. I am very excited about the opportunities to make a difference in children’s health this partnership will provide!

I am also looking forward to making appearances on behalf of Go Red for Women! Six of Go Red’s “Life Simple 7” are about living healthier lifestyles. Half of my platform focuses on prevention of conditions like heart disease and stroke. By encouraging youth to be proactive, we can drastically reduce the number of people affected by heart disease later! A healthy heart is a happy heart.

The International Pageant system is opening so many doors for women. This year I plan to not only represent this organization, but to encourage more women from all over the world to become involved. I want everyone to know that through participation in this system females are encouraged to become positive role models, live with purpose, find their passion by developing a heart of service through her personal platform, and promote inner beauty. I am extremely ready for this year of service, and I plan to make the most of every second!

If you believe in something, believe in it all the way!

Blair Wortsmith

Friday, August 22, 2014

A Goal Without a Plan Is Just a Wish!

I have some large shoes to fill in my upcoming year! Jesse Ladoue- Miss International 2013 was not only full of grace and class- but was an extremely hard working and busy queen! I can only hope to make her, all of the 2014 contestants and judges proud as I represent them this year!

In an earlier post, I explained my platform- Hold On To Hope, Because No Child Should Grieve Alone. I have some very specific and clear goals that I would like to achieve during my reign.

*My Workbook- I am going to have it redesigned and translated into different languages so that children all over the world can have the opportunity to memorialize their lost loved ones!

*Visit as many Camp Erin’s as time allows. Most Camp Erin sessions are during summer and many overlap on the same weekends. I am going to try to visit the Camp Erin’s that are the least funded and in most need of volunteers!

*Visit orphanages and Children’s organizations internationally. I have a few places in mind and will be able to give you more details as soon as my flights are booked!

*Fundraise through my Fathers Memorial Fund to purchase grief bears and overnight bags for Camp Erin Children!

*Use Social Media, Radio, TV, Publications, or any media outlet to promote the Miss International system. I want to increase the number of contestants next year by 50%. This is the greatest pageant system in the world and should have representatives from every country!

*I also plan on attending events for the American Heart Association; I currently serve on the passion committee in Dallas, TX, where their corporate offices are!

*I would also like to attend as many preliminary pageants as possible- so please feel free to contact me with more information on your upcoming state or country international pageant!

And Last but not least:

Represent the Miss International system with Honor and Integrity. I am walking in the shoes of so many inspiring women and I couldn’t be more excited to get started!

Ignite your spark,

Samantha Riddle
Miss International 2014

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Give Shoes, Give Love

Over the last year as the International Spokesperson for Soles4Souls we have been able to change hundreds of thousands of lives globally through our combined efforts.

Over the next year, we have 3 main objectives to help wear out poverty that we look forward to continuing to share with you as the year progresses.

1: Increase our International Partnerships for shoe distributions and micro-enterprise

2: Ignite Professional Sporting teams to engage in our mission through donated shoes and online giving programs

3: Engage other cities to participate in a curbside shoe recycling effort to increase awareness, gather shoes for others in need and show people of all ages how easy it is to change the world with the simple gift of used shoes

Our goals are big, but we are ready to go wear out poverty and Give Shoes, Give Love!

Live what you love,

Your Mrs. International 2014

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

My Crowning Moment

After I won Miss Teen Arkansas International in April, I heard again and again that I probably would not win nationals this year because Miss Teen International 2013, Haley Pontius, was also from Arkansas. These doubtful remarks helped fuel my fire as I prepared for the pageant. I refused to accept that I could not win just because I was representing a certain state. However, I did realize the odds might not be “ever in my favor.”

Because of this, I decided I was going to work hard, get as much out of the experience as possible, and just have fun! I made the decision to not to go into the competition feeling anxious, apprehensive or over analytical. Instead I embraced every opportunity I was given to make friends and have a good time. When Saturday night came around, I knew that whether I left Jacksonville with the crown or not I would be very content with my experience!

Saturday during rehearsals I was nauseous, dizzy and even threw up a few times. The staff and my new friends took care of me and thankfully I was feeling better by show time! After the competition was complete that night, I stood on stage listening to the announcement of the runner-ups and said a quick prayer while squeezing the hands of the girls next to me. Most people that are in this position would probably describe the moment as extremely nerve racking and stressful, but I was feeling excitement and peace. I knew someone’s life was about to change forever and her destiny would be revealed; however, I didn’t know that it would be mine.

Then came the announcement. “The new Miss Teen International is… Miss Teen Arkansas International, Blair Wortsmith!” In that moment all I could do was scream with joy. I could hear my family and friends cheering and I almost fell to the ground. The photographer captured the moment perfectly. I laugh now because a majority of my crowning pictures are of me with my mouth wide open. You can tell by the look on my face I was truly stunned. I really could not believe it!

You might notice that there was one typical thing missing from my crowning moment. Several people also noticed it. I didn’t cry when they called my name. I did not even shed a single tear until the show was over. Hard to believe from someone that was just crowned MISS TEEN INTERNATIONAL, right? Now that I’ve had time to reflected on this I realized why I wasn’t crying. I was in SHOCK! The moment felt so surreal and better than anything I could have ever imagined in my wildest dreams that it didn’t seem like it could actually be happening to the representative from Arkansas- the same state that now claimed the title 2 years in a row. I was so surprised to hear my name that it took almost five minutes to really hit me. After I had time to process the moment and let it sink in, the waterworks definitely came!

If I had listened to those telling me I couldn’t do it, I wouldn’t be writing this post today. My family always reminds me when I’m competing that there is only one crown to be won, but many new friends to be made, many lives to be touched, and many lessons to be learned. Having this mindset helps me enjoy the experience and not put total focus on the crown. If you don’t get anything else from this little story I hope you will be inspired to always chase your dreams, overcome the odds, and most importantly, enjoy the journey!

I was crowned by Haley Pontius, Miss Teen International 2013, two times!

If you believe in something, believe in it all the way!

Blair Wortsmith
Miss Teen International 2014

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

My Personal Fairytale - 8 Years in the Making!

It has been 2 weeks since I was crowned Miss International 2014. I had so many emotions and feelings running through me the entire week of competition, please allow me to share them with you:

I arrived a few days early to this year’s pageant to watch the Mrs International 2014 pageant! I highly recommend doing so if you’re planning on competing next year. I was able to see the layout of the stage, the backgrounds and even listen to the Mrs. Onstage Question answer’s. I wore a stunning Sherri Hill that I had picked up at the 2014 International Pageant trunk show at The Competitive Image and got to meet other contestants who came early as well! Congratulations to the new Mrs. International 2014 Maggie Thorne! I am so glad I was able to see her crowning moment in person! Her excitement and enthusiasm was contagious!

Flash forward to Monday night at orientation: I met and took photos with all of the contestants from around the world! Everyone had to get up and share something about themselves and of course, I talked about chocolate! We learned hands only CPR and heard from all of the Pageant Staff and Sponsors!

On Tuesday we toured downtown Jacksonville, made candy at Sweet Pete’s, and went on a tour of the Jacksonville Jaguar’s Stadium! We were shown underground tunnels/ Banks and historical spots in Jacksonville! At Sweet Pete’s we made our own Cherry Lollipops! I am also guilty of purchasing some chocolate covered potato chips and sour watermelon rings! I love candy, so this was my favorite part of the trip! Another cool spot (literally) were the infinity pools at the Jacksonville Jaguar stadium! I cant imagine anything more amazing than watching a game on a beautiful Florida day while sitting in one of those pools!

One of my favorite traditions of the pageant is the group photo and Inspirational talk/ Dinner with Eddie Peterson! Every single contestant wore a stunning gown and took a giant group photo along the harbor as well as in the theatre! After the photo is taken all of the Teen and Miss contestants ate a delicious dinner followed by an inspirational speech by Eddie Peterson- I don’t want to give away anything he says because I think it’s a beautiful thing to hear straight from him, but I will tell you- there isn’t a dry eye in the house.

Another wonderful experience during the week was our visit to The Pace Center! It is a place for at risk girls. We were able to teach them life skills as well as bring in donations we had collected before nationals! My group was in charge of helping these young ladies prepare for possible upcoming job interviews!

Rehearsals are one of my favorite parts of competing, not only did it give me a chance to show off my style, but I was able to actually walk the stage and practice my poses and turns! I highly recommend using this time wisely, practicing on the REAL stage in the ACTUAL shoes you are planning on wearing in such a valuable asset when it comes to the final competition!

The biggest Interview I have ever faced in my life was Thursday morning! I wore a custom purple Fernando Wong that I got during the International Pageant trunk show at The Competitive Image. I felt strong and confident about not only my platform but who I was before going in to meet the judges. I have spent the last year of my life preparing for this moment. Instead of trying to be perfect and have the best answers – I focused on showing them who I was and my personality. I may have even meow’d at a judge. I didn’t walk out of my interview feeling like I had won, BUT I did walk out knowing that I was completely myself in every aspect, which I think is more important.

Preliminaries were on Friday night! I competed in Fun Fashion, Fitness and Gown with all of the other Miss contestants while the teens watched from the audience. Backstage I joked with the girls sitting by me and sent updates to my friends and family who couldn’t attend. I didn’t feel any pressure or stress because I told myself that tonight was just “practice” for tomorrow!

Fun Fashion

Evening Gown

Before I knew it, I was waking up Saturday morning, little did I know what was in store for me that night.

Since competing in my first pageant in 2006 (Miss Teen Greater Conejo Valley International) I had dreamed of becoming Miss International. I had competed for a state title 4 times before I made it to nationals the first time last year. I had made top 10 last year and that had felt like a dream come true. I came back this year hoping to win- but honestly I really never thought it would happen. With so many accomplished and beautiful girls from all over the world competing this year, I was just praying to make the top 5! But I can say that I have never wanted anything more or worked harder for anything in my entire life. Backstage I sang Let It Go from Frozen with the other contestants and took photos to relieve my stress. While I know that I left no stone un turned and did everything possible to be the best representation of myself- you never know what the judges are looking for. As I walked out with the other girls in the top 10 for crowning, I heard my friends cheering my name and couldn’t help but feel so unbelievably blessed and loved. I knew they were proud of me no matter what the results were. As they started calling out the names of the runners up- I kept thinking to myself “Don’t say my name” and when I hadn’t received a runner up placement- I looked around at all of the girls left in the top 10- It could have been any one of us. A lot of people have asked me If I knew that I won when I was still standing and had not placed and truthfully- No.

I was holding hands with 5 of the world’s most intelligent, glamorous and passionate women. I could have seen any one of them being called the new Miss International. So, I did the only thing I knew that would calm my soul. I prayed. I lowered my head, closed my eyes and asked god not for the crown, but for peace in whatever the outcome.

Thanking God- I shine because of him

Hugging the beautiful Jesse Ladoue- I have Huge shoes to fill!

Your new Miss International 2014 is….. Miss West Coast International 2014 Samantha Riddle-

I had dreamed of this moment for eight years. I wanted to cry, laugh, scream, jump up and down- One of the biggest dreams I have ever had- had come true. It didn’t feel real, and quite frankly, I think I am still in shock. I am Miss International 2014- It still gives me chills saying that out loud.

The best decision I’ve ever made? Coming back and competing a second time for Miss International.

Ignite your spark,

Samantha Riddle
Miss International 2014

Friday, August 15, 2014

Second Chances

As my eyes slowly opened the morning after Mrs. International Finals to the oh so friendly hotel wake up call, I took a deep breath and burst out of bed. As the days agenda ran through my mind, reality had still not quite sunk in.

I remember showing up at orientation and as 64 beautiful, compassionate ladies introduced themselves I took some deep breaths. Wow, what class and grace filled the room.

As the week progressed and I fell in love with each accomplished woman even more. Pouring their hearts out as they shared their platforms, watching them trudge through heat in St.Augustine in our "comfortable shoes" and giving their all during rehearsals, I felt honored each moment to be around everyone.

My roommate was Mrs. Arkansas International Dana Wessel, she has a beautiful servants heart and is one of the sweetest ladies ever! Thank you Dana for being an amazing roommate!

The funny thing is, contestant to me for the International Pageant system can seem incorrect at times, because we are encouragers, teammates and now sisters forever.

Getting ready for the week I kept myself surrounded with reminders of what mattered the most. My faith, My family, My platform.

The crowning moment was one of the most exciting moments of my life behind marrying my husband and the birth of each of our children, but it is not a moment that defines the last week in Jacksonville. Looking back, some of my favorite moments are seeing a woman battling cancer standing strong before a room full of people. A burn victim overcoming her fear of bearing her legs in public shining bright in front of an audience radiating beauty from her confidence. Ladies pulling together in others time of need as wardrobe malfunctions happened close to opening number. I had visualized the moment in my mind, but when my name was called I absolutely went bananas! It was an overwhelming moment of joy and deep gratitude because this is only by God’s grace I can stand before you as Mrs. International 2014 and how He helped me overcome and most importantly Never Give Up.

I am beyond honored, blessed and delighted to continue representing Soles4Souls in a high capacity as Mrs. International 2014. Over the last year serving as Mrs. Great Plains International I saw the impact that would be possible to help wear out poverty as Mrs. International and have never looked back.

In my heart I am forever grateful for second chances. I have had many in life, but for the International Pageant system to give me and others another try is such an unbelievable opportunity that I never, ever want to take for granted. No other system can measure up.

Thank you for my amazing husband Fred and his constant support and prayer during this journey. The love we share in our marriage and with our children means more than any award or honor I could ever receive.

What is your next journey? Coming back? Expanding your organization's reach? New life direction?......maybe sleeping for a week straight with a foot massage everyday ;)

Sisters, plain and simple I am here for you to walk alongside in anything you need. You are my moments and I cherish all of you in your beautifully unique selves. We are family. We are International Pageants!

Live what you Love,

Your Mrs. International 2014


A special thank you to Amy Gregorio for being an amazing Mrs. International 2013 and all around wonderful human being. She calmed my nerves during crowning as my body shook with excitement. I have always watched her treat every person with equality and kindness. Amy, you are a true queen in and out. The International Pageant system is truly blessed to have you as a part of their legacy.