Patience, Perseverance & Gratitude

It is hard to believe that my year as Miss International is already half-way over. The months are going by so fast, so I am really trying to soak up every moment. For my birthday, my parents had one of our amazing sponsors, Paula Preston, make a photo book of my week at the Miss International pageant. The pictures include everything from orientation to my crowning moment. Since this was my first time to see most of these pictures, tears filled my eyes as I remembered one of the best weeks of my life. 

Some may think that I waltzed in to the International system, won my state crown, and then won the International crown. Let me say, it was definitely not that easy. Looking at my beautiful photo book reminded me of the 12 years of hard work and perseverance it took to get to where I am today. What you may not know is I competed in another system for 10 years. Through success and failures, I worked really hard to win the top crown. It never came to be. When I aged out of that system, I felt that God had let me down. I had given so much energy and prayers into a dream that I had since I was a little girl. What I did not realize is that God had other plans for me. I was told about the International system many years before I actually competed. When it was brought to my attention again, I honestly did not even think about competing. Not because I did not support the pageant's mission, but for the fact that I feared I would put my heart into another pageant just to get crushed. After being in “pageant retirement” for a year, God revealed to me that I should compete in the Miss International system because they valued everything I stood for…family, community service, and woman empowerment. When I decided to compete, I gave it all to God. This is actually how I should have competed all those years before. This time I would pray “Lord, let Your will be done”. 

So when I won the Texas and International crowns, this was not just an exciting moment of adding more crowns and sashes to my collection. Those two moments were special in that God fulfilled a dream that I wanted for over a decade. However, He did it in His timing. So I write this blog with a heart full of gratitude. I continue to be grateful that God has trusted me with this opportunity. I am grateful that my family and friends have supported and encouraged me in this journey. I am also very thankful to Paula Preston for capturing all the photos of a week that I will remember for the rest of my life!

God Bless,

Elise Banks
Miss International 2015


  1. Elise, you have reigned with such class and integrity - it's been a joy to follow your journey on FaceBook. Praying exceeding, abundant blessings for you for the remainder of your reign and God's loving direction for the next step in what's already a wonderful life!!!


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