Jessica Brown Mrs. Colorado Universal 2021
World Class Beauty Queens Magazine would like to welcome amazing Queen Jessica Brown Mrs. Colorado Universal 2021.
Full name: Jessica Brown
Title/Year: Mrs. Colorado Universal 2021
Pageant System: USA Universal
Zodiac sign: Aries
Hobbies: Dance, cosplay, reading, running, community service, writing nonfiction, dog rescue
Platform: Compassion Over Reaction; bullying prevention through personal accountability and responsibility rather than further perpetuating the behavior through pigeonholing kids with labels.
Years competed: 2006-present
Countries visited: Only USA and Mexico...so far
Likes: good music, a sunny day and soft breeze, all dogs, frozen yogurt and movies
Dislikes: Willful ignorance, casual racism, inconsiderate or entitled behavior
World Class Beauty Queens: Please tell us about yourself.
My name is Jessica Brown and I am a Colorado native. I started dancing at age six, teaching at age 13, went pro right after high school, and opened my own studio in 2008. In 2015 I created a style of dance fitness called “SassiFit Dance Fitness”, based on the sideline routines we did when I was a Denver Nuggets Dancer. Prior to Covid, I had expanded my youth dance program and my adult dance fitness company to include Louisiana and Michigan, where my business partner lives. Now we are primarily online to keep everyone safe.
In 2019 my husband and I launched our own nonprofit; Project 21 Foundation, which we run together to better our community. Project 21 started as a dance and cheer scholarship program and expanded to included food and clothing for the homeless, Christmas gifts for kids spending the holidays in shelters, our bullying prevention program, and now we are working to bring awareness to trafficking and exploitation of Korean children. My husband, Kwan, and I have three kids between us; I have two (ages 15 and 21) and he has a son (age 12). Our nonprofit and our kids have been our focus during quarantine and we are very fortunate to be able to devote time and energy to both.
World Class Beauty Queens: What does women Empowerment mean to you?
Empowerment is to possess power; to embody it and personify it. Empowerment means realizing your own strength and resilience. So often we think we are powerless when really we are just frustrated with the options available. Women today are forging new trails and choosing to live their lives as they truly want to, not as they’ve been told they should. We can all empower one another by reminding each other that we are capable, we are formidable, we are indomitable and we are in charge of our own stories. We can take back our own power by living authentically and owning every aspect of ourselves and our stories. And we can create a better society by teaching our children to find, create, and cultivate their own personal power.
World Class Beauty Queens: Tell us about your pageant history.
My first pageant ever was Mrs. Colorado America, placing Top 15. Right after, I competed for Mrs. Colorado International, which was a smaller pageant, and not only won the title but was awarded every specialty award from Best in Interview to Most Photogenic. That year, I devoted my time to community service and personal development. I saw the power of the crown and knew I could make a difference in this field.
I went back to Mrs. Colorado America the following year and placed Top 10. I competed for the title again for the last time this year and placed top 12. I mention these losses because it’s easy to only see wins; to only count titles. But losing has taught me more than winning, and I’m grateful for both. Since that first pageant I have held the titles of Miss Colorado Galaxy 2009 (placing Top 10 at Miss Galaxy International), Ms. Planet Beach Colorado and Ms. Planet Beach Midwest (placing First Runner Up at Ms. Planet Beach International), Ms. Michigan State America 2016 (placing First Runner Up at Ms. Planet Beach International), Mrs. Michigan America 2017 (winning Best in Interview/Evening Gown/Swimsuit and Photogenic, and of course, my final and current state title; Mrs. Colorado Universal 2021. Next spring I will compete for the honor of becoming Mrs. USA Universal and after that I hope to direct at the state level so I may mentor other women in their personal growth and philanthropic journeys.
World Class Beauty Queens: What inspired you to do your first pageant?
I first decided to compete in pageants in 2006 when I saw Marney Duckworth, (Mrs. Colorado 2006, interviewing onstage at Mrs. America. That night Marney placed first runner up, but she would later be crowned Mrs. America 2007 when the winner moved up to become Mrs. World. To this day, Marney is Colorado’s only Mrs. America.
She was so glamorous and sophisticated and I just knew that was who I wanted to be when I grew up. I had the honor of training with her early in my career. I look up to her so immensely and have modeled much of my career after what I admired in her.
World Class Beauty Queens: Why did you choose to compete for your current title?
My current system is platform based; which means it highly values community service. So much so that we are allowed extra interview time during which we may present a video or PowerPoint presentation of our service work. I compete for me, but I serve for my community. I use my titles as a microphone to lift my message of compassion and unity. I stand on my crown as a stage to bring attention to the causes most important to me. I recognize that being Mrs. Colorado Universal is an opportunity to affect change; to make a difference, and I want to make the most of it. I have only had my title since August 1, 2020 and I have already raised almost $2000 for charity, made 30 appearances and published my second children’s book. This title is like rocket fuel to my ambition! The year will fly by; time is precious and I am not missing a minute!
World Class Beauty Queens: To those unfamiliar with your pageant system please tell us what is it about?
Mrs./Ms. USA Universal is for women who are active in their communities, who want to make a difference and who want to use what they have to help others. Our system is platform based and community service centered. A platform is like a mission statement; the focus or goal each queen makes her own. I have competed in systems that were platform based before, but feel a distinct difference with this system. I feel an authenticity that I have been seeking and cannot speak highly enough about the director, Victoria Hughe, my sister queen, Sara Yost, Ms. Colorado Universal 2021, and this system. I feel supported, encouraged and, well, home.
World Class Beauty Queens: What are you being judged on during the competition?
Mrs./Ms. USA Universal is a traditional pageant with physical fitness, evening gown and interview. Unlike most systems, Universal contestants may choose between swimwear and athletic wear for the physical fitness portion of the competition. However, what sets us apart is the emphasis on the interview/platform. The USA Universal system is unlike any other system in that not only is the interview portion longer and worth more towards the overall score, but each contestant is able to present a video or PowerPoint showcasing their community service and platform work. Unlike many other systems as well, we do not require contestants be CIS female. Our system is progressive, modern and empowering for ALL women.
World Class Beauty Queens: Tell us about your experience during the competition.
After 14 years competing, I finally feel like I’ve reached my summit. Being part of the Universal system is the culmination of all of my training, all of my hours of service, all my experience and all my goals. Due to quarantine, there was no 2019 Universal pageant. The Director personally reached out to me and asked me to interview for the title. I interviewed through a written questionnaire and video interview, and Ms. Hughes reviewed my resume and community service record. Once I was chosen as the 2021 Mrs. Colorado Universal titleholder, I was asked for input on choosing the Ms. Colorado Universal 2021. I nominated my head instructor and friend, Sara Yost. Sara is intelligent, kind, talented, and well, gorgeous. I’ve been trying to get her to compete for a while, but she has terrible stage fright. Finding about the focus on platforms and service gave her the courage to tackle those fears and apply. Not only was she chosen as Ms. Colorado Universal, but as a thank you for getting her into the system, Sara has chosen my nonprofit, Project 21 Foundation, as her platform. Going through this as her mentor and coach, both representing our community and working hard for our charity is already an incredible experience and I am truly looking forward to this year!
World Class Beauty Queens: Tell us about your platform or what cause do you volunteer for.
Compassion Over Reaction; Bullying Prevention Program is about changing the language of the “anti-bullying” movement from labeling kids to instead help them solve their problems more effectively through personal responsibility and accountability. My children’s book, “Pitty the Bully” uses the example of the negative association with the label “pitbull” to teach the dangers of labeling and how they can perpetuate the very behavior the school is attempting to extinguish. In the book and in my program, we teach kids how to identify the problem they need to solve and how to solve it responsibly. We use animal behavior to demonstrate common situations and emotions, from feeling frustrated and territorial to being hungry and tired. Teaching kids to identify bullying behaviors in themselves, get to the root of the problem, and give them tools to solve the problems on their own prevents bullying, rather than pigeonholing kids with labels.
My husband, and I launched our own nonprofit organization in 2019 called Project 21 Foundation. The best part of it being our own is that we are free to help wherever we see a need. Our board is made up of like minded people who want to make the world better, and beyond that we are not restricted in how or who we can help. This year we are raising awareness and combating child trafficking in addition to our work with the homeless, domestic violence shelters, youth programs, and, of course, the bullying prevention program.
World Class Beauty Queens: What appearances have you done with your title?
As a Covid Queen, I am limited as to what types of appearances I can make at this time. While I cannot do the typical in person appearances I have done in the past, I have enjoyed getting creative and finding ways to reach my community. I am starting the year of “Giving of Yourself”; finding ways to share from ourselves, of ourselves. Once a week I lead a free “Pay It Forward Facebook Fitness” class on Facebook live (asking participants to pay the kindness forward to someone else and report back), a free Facebook live youth dance tutorial, weekly Story Time for littles every Wednesday (also on Facebook live on my ‘Jessica Brown; Mrs. Colorado Universal 2021’ page). My legacy project is my interview series “Beyond the Barbie; Powerhouse Paper Dolls” that asks “who inspires the women who inspire everyone else?”, where I sit down with the most influential women I know and find the common threads among all of us. “Paper Dolls” refers to the connection between each interview; each interview is linked to the one before and after with something they have in common.
I also do a daily video blog called “Pin Curl Corner; Life Lessons Learned Through Pageantry” on my instagram account @Sweet_JessicaBrown, where I talk about the personal growth aspect of my journey in ways that are applicable to all of us. Currently, I am organizing fundraisers for Project 21 Foundation, including organizing our annual gala “Night of Starz”, and helping with charity drives for local groups including my friend’s nonprofit; Racing for Paws, for which we are collecting dog toys, treats, collars, leashes, harnesses and blankets. Tomorrow I will present at the University of Colorado at Denver as part of their ongoing series on athletes and training. My goal for this year is 300 appearances (tripling my previous records). With the ease with which I am able to volunteer virtually, I am on track to have an absolutely outstanding and impactful year!
World Class Beauty Queens: What are some of your achievements?
I have had the honor of representing many esteemed organizations and charities; from being an Ambassador for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital to now directing Project 21 Foundation. With each of my state titles I was able to make an average of 100 appearances during the year. In 2016 I was awarded the Presidential Award of Service for being part of a group that completed over 1000 service hours. I published my first children’s book in 2019 about bullying and my second children’s book about coping with quarantine through dance will be out this fall.
World Class Beauty Queens: What makes you stand out from all those other beautiful girls?
What makes me stand out in a crowd of beautiful women isn’t what can be seen at first glance, but rather what emanates from within; there is an authenticity to me that can be felt. A realness that cuts through the glitter and hairspray and lets you know I am who I say I am. When I stand out most of all is when I am showing my heart; when I dance or when I speak on subjects important to me. There is a light inside me that can be seen, felt and shared. My legacy is not about my accomplishments, but about how I have influenced others. I feel success when students come back and tell me how my lessons have influenced their lives, or women tell me they hear my words in their heads when they lift themselves up with positive self talk. My mark on this world will be through the other powerful women who also stand out of the crowd because of the light within.
World Class Beauty Queens: Tell us about the moment your name was called out as the winner.
Finding out I was chosen as the next Mrs. Colorado Universal was a dream come true! I have been working towards this opportunity for my entire career, and finding out I was chosen because of my service work was incredibly validating. I am thrilled to be chosen by my body of work and not just my body in a swimsuit. Knowing that I am seen and valued and appreciated for who I am and for the work I do makes me want to work that much harder! What I remember most was how excited my husband and family were. They are so excited about this title and this system, for the same reasons I am, but seeing them so involved and invested feels really good to me.
World Class Beauty Queens: What does it mean to you to be a Beauty Queen?
A Beauty Queen is the standard of beauty for our times; she represents the ideals and goals for the contemporary woman. She is a role model; not because she lives a model life, but because she is willing to hold her life up as an example to help others. She is the epitome of compassion and grace and she works as hard on her personal development as she does on community service. She is selfless but ambitious. Strong and kind. Authentic and genuine. Beauty is as beauty does; one cannot be a beautiful person without action. Beauty in Beauty Queen is an action and a description. She gives back and works hard for others. What she thinks, says and does align.
World Class Beauty Queens: How did competing in pageants helped your life?
Pageantry has had the biggest impact on my philanthropy. Though competition I have discovered the joy in service work. I’ve learned the power of positive role models and the unlimited ability we all have to help others.
World Class Beauty Queens: How did pageants helped your self esteem and body image?
I started dancing at age six, teaching at age 13, went pro right out of high school and opened my own studio at age 28. I’ve grown up in front of a mirror; hypercritical and constantly living in judgement of myself and others. However, through competition I have found a zen balance of striving to be my best self and being grateful for where I am. Through pageantry, I have found the true beauty that lies in owning your story and the grace in finding your voice. Through pageantry I have found myself.
World Class Beauty Queens: You are an inspiration to all the girls out there. How does it feel?
When I taught my first dance class at age 13, I realized that the young dancers looked up to me with stars in their eyes. I realized the power and potential of the position and have structured my career around that responsibility; even naming my dance team the Starz (after that early experience of realizing I was a role model). My title is a part time job but a full time responsibility and I take it very seriously. It is an honor to shape young minds and to affect how people talk to themselves. It’s how I change the world.
World Class Beauty Queens: What is your on stage strategy to win the judges over?
Auditions, pageants, interviews...my only strategy is to be authentic and present in the moment. I love what I do and it shows. The joy and gratitude I have for the opportunity flows out of me and judges can’t help but take notice. Joy and gratitude look good on everyone, and that’s what I embrace as I compete.
World Class Beauty Queens: How did you prepare for your competition?
I am in constant preparation because my preparation is simply growth and personal development. Rather than crash diet, I set large and long term goals (for example, my current goal is to run 500 miles before the Mrs. USA Universal competition next spring...I am 80 mile in after 26 days). I work my platform and develop my resume so that I may stand by my beliefs and support my charities. I have worked with coaches and walked hundreds of miles in heels, but the most important prep is what happens in the real world; it’s becoming the person I need to be to earn the title for which I am competing. I have a vision in my head of where I’m going, of who I’m trying to become, and of what I want to accomplish. Everyday I take steps towards that goal, some big, some small, some just in my head. Preparing during quarantine was extra challenging, however, and I found myself struggling to get in competition shape. Without gym and pilates, I had to do a LOT of dancing. I think the hardest part of quarantine prep was the mental game, though. The world was out of whack and I was trying to get focused and centered. I’m grateful for my training as it is a welcome consistency during these inconsistent times.
World Class Beauty Queens: What are your tips for learning better pageant walk?
To get a graceful pageant walk you need a mirror or at least record yourself. Lift the hip of the leg that’s stepping to create space, extend that leg all the way out to place the shoe down HEEL-TOE. Do NOT step down flat footed or on a bent knee. Let the foot drip off the end of your leg. How much you lift and how much you cross is up to your own personal style. But NO ONE looks graceful stepping onto a bent leg or slapping a shoe down flat. Listen for a click click, not a CLOMP! Most importantly, practice enough that you feel comfortable. Take a dance class. Video tape yourself. Walk in front of friends. Just do it so much that by the time you’re on stage you don’t have to think about it (because you won’t be able to at that point). And don’t forget to HAVE FUN!
World Class Beauty Queens: What are your tips for choosing right pageant dress?
Choosing the right pageant dress is very personal. You want to feel like yourself; don’t let the dress wear you. Does it enhance you? Do you feel beautiful? Glamorous? Sophisticated? Sexy? How do you envision yourself and does this dress get you there? I made the mistake of always going pink or other soft colors. With my coloring those light colors had no punch. I was washed out. Then I switched to jewel tones and saw what a difference color makes. Just remember- you are the focus. Not the dress.
World Class Beauty Queens: What are your tips for winning interview?
Going into interview, I always have my five bullet points; the five main topics I’d like the judges to know about me. Each of those five things has a little slice of life story, or a quote or something that makes it special and unique to me. When I’m asked a question, if possible, I steer the conversation towards one of my five topics. The trick to interview is to do it...a lot. I mean A LOT. Get used to talking about your platform and about your appearances and about yourself (judges want to get to know you, so get comfortable talking about yourself). Don’t try to give them the answer you think they want. Give them your honest answer. They can tell if you’re being authentic or not. There’s no right answer, but a disingenuous one IS the wrong answer. I know it sounds overly simplistic, but the best advice truly is “be yourself”.
World Class Beauty Queens: What is one mistake that you've done during competing you wish you could redo and fix it?
I don’t often regret mistakes in competition, as I find them excellent learning experiences. However, I recently made a judgement call not to tell a story during interview and later regretted the decision. I was being interviewed by Marney Andes (Mrs. America 2007 and my first interview coach), and before I found out she was going to be a judge, I had prepared bullet point answers that included stories about her and another queen who was also judging. Once I found out they were on the judging panel, I opted to not tell those stories and quote them to them. Instead I talked around it and not only were the answers not as strong, I missed the opportunity to tell these women in real time what they had meant to me. I regretted not taking the opportunity to thank them and later sent them a video message, telling the stories and admitting I made the wrong choice in not telling them. I just really believe that life is too short to not tell people they matter to you.
World Class Beauty Queens: What other mistakes are made by girls during the contest?
The biggest mistakes women make in pageants is trying to be someone they aren’t. Whether that’s giving answers that are inauthentic, or putting up a front about who they are, what they believe, what they want to accomplish...basically all the details that really matter. When someone just wants to “win”, it’s easy to lose sight of the real goal and that’s to come out a better person on the other side. You can’t make the crown your goal. That’s ultimately not up to you. What IS up to you is how you prepare, how you compete and how you react.
World Class Beauty Queens: Any modeling or acting experience?
The main focus of my career has been dance and pageantry, but I did dabble in modeling and acting when I was younger. My favorite gig was playing the female lead in the Batman Stunt Show at Six Flags Elitch Gardens in my early 20’s. I went to audition for the dance show, but they had filled those roles and asked if I could stage fight and act. I figured stage combat was just like dancing, so I said “absolutely”! I got the part and then went out on set only to realize it was two stories tall (and I am terrified of heights)! I trained hard and even though I had to sit on my bum and scoot across the cat walk the first time, by opening day I was running back and forth and throwing myself off the side of the building into a pit! Those were some pretty great summers.
World Class Beauty Queens: What are your plans for 2020 as a Queen?
Being a Quarantine-Queen isn’t easy; there’s no roadmap for a virtual reign. So when I was preparing for my year, I tried to ascertain what my community needed and how I could provide it. With both the pandemic and the civil rights movement, what we need most is connection. We need to see we are in this together and on the same team. My legacy project; Powerhouse Paper Dolls, is my means of connecting us. My interview series with influential women that asks “who inspires the women who inspire us?” with a questionnaire that shows the common threads that run through all of us. It has been an incredible honor to sit down with these women and the project is something of which I’m really proud.
I am doing daily virtual appearances, collecting donations for local charities, spearheading a letter writing campaign to local seniors who are isolated due to Covid, and will be using my dance and fitness background to give back both virtually and at socially distanced events throughout my year.
World Class Beauty Queens: What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind?
The final question in my Powerhouse Paper Dolls interviews is always, “What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind?”. I feel like my 20’s were about building a resume; getting the credentials to later build a career (like dancing for the Denver Nuggets, or mentoring in local programs). Then my 30’s were about building my career; I grew my studio and launched my own nonprofit and competed as often as I could. Now, as I have just entered my 40’s, I feel as though I am thinking bigger picture; what do I want to leave behind? What do I want to be know for?
I know we always talk about the ripple effect; our actions having ripples that go beyond what we can see. My model takes it a step further and includes a teaching element. Like the story of the girl tossing starfish back in the ocean and the old man who says “you can’t possibly make a difference”, and she replies “I made a difference to that one”. Which is all well and good, but what if that little girl taught the old man why she was doing it, how to do it and then not only did they both started saving starfish, but then the old man would teach the next person to walk by. It’s the domino effect; we affect change and we teach others to continue the work. So my legacy is that of perseverance and positive self talk, of compassion and empathy, of grace and generosity. But most importantly, my legacy is that of teaching others to live in generous compassion as well, so that they may then teach others. One domino at a time and we change the world. That’s why pageant girls believe in world peace; we see it. We create it.
International Director: Victoria Hughes
National Director: same
Your Local Director:same
Pageant website: https://www.mrsuniversal.org/
Name of the Photographer and other credits: Photography by Samantha Jessup, www.miraclekisses.com
Thank you to my sponsors:
Shed & co Spa
Ange de la Mer Salon and Spa
SassiFit Dance Fitness
Studio 21 Dance & CO Starz Dance Team
Inclusive Care, llc
The Lash Line 303
Restoration Skin and Body Care
Make up by Liana
Hair by Steph Kailey
Center for Cosmetic Surgery
Miracle Kisses and Kiss My Curves Photography
Studio Julie Snow masks
MB Creations custom tee shirts
World Class Beauty Queens Magazine would like to say thank you for this amazing interview.
Jessica Brown Mrs. Colorado Universal 2021, World Class Beauty Queens Magazine
Interview by Derek Tokarzewski Owner/Editor in Chief Mr United Nations 2018 Platform: Women Empowerment Ambassador to International Foundation for Orphans iffocares.org
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