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Katie Winchenbach USOA Mrs. Maine 2024



World Class Beauty Queens Magazine would like to welcome amazing Queen Katie Winchenbach USOA Mrs. Maine 2024.

Full Name: Katie Winchenbach

Title/Year: USOA Mrs. Maine 2024

Pageant System: United States of America Pageants

Age: 30

Education Level: J.D./ M.B.A.

Zodiac Sign: Pisces

Hobbies: Yoga, Paddleboarding, Reading Murder-Mystery Novels, Travel

Platform: Empowering Rising Women Leaders

Years Competed:1

Countries Visited: 14

Likes and Dislikes: Likes: Event planning, public speaking, the beach, bookstores, fall weather Dislikes: Peanut butter, getting up early, spiders

Current Status: Married

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: Can you share a bit about who you are? Like, what are your passions outside of the pageant world? My biggest passion is event planning. I’ve been planning conferences, webinars, and workshops targeted to rising women leaders for about 10 years now. I’m currently working as the Program Director for Ms. JD, where I plan programs and events that support aspiring and early career women attorneys. It’s so inspiring to see the talent and passion that the young women who participate in our programs have and I love feeling like I’ve helped them take the next steps in their career. More locally, I serve as the Vice President of Women Standing Together, a Maine-based organization that works to inspire and elevate rising women leaders and entrepreneurs in the state of Maine. With Women Standing Together I am spearheading the creation of a new leadership event for Maine’s rising women leaders.

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: I’m curious about your education journey. What's it been like for you, any particular highlights or challenges? I was a first-generation law student, so I didn’t have the connections or previous experiences that some of my classmates did. It was definitely a challenge learning how to navigate the nuances of the legal profession. That is actually when I was first introduced to Ms. JD. I used the organizations resourced when I was a pre-law and law student! The guidance and mentorship I received from the women I met through Ms. JD are a big part of my success today. It’s also one of the reasons I’m so passionate about providing those resources and opportunities to other first-generation women law students.

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: Women's empowerment is such a key topic. What does it mean to you personally? To me, women’s empowerment means that all women have the ability to design and realize the life that they want. For some women, that may mean advancing to an executive leadership role or starting her own business. For others, it may mean having a family. I think what is important is that each woman is able to choose her own path.

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: How did you get into pageants? What sparked your interest initially? United States of America’s Mrs. Maine was my very first pageant. Before the state director reached out to me, pageantry wasn’t even on my radar. Once I looked into the USOA system, I was impressed by the focus on community service and philanthropy. I was also impressed that everyone I spoke with who had participated in a previous USOA pageant told me what a supportive and empowering environment it was. Everyone instantly made me feel welcomed!

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: What motivated you to participate in your first pageant? Was there a defining moment? I will admit I was hesitant when I first decided to compete in the USOA Mrs. Maine pageant. I knew I had a lot to learn! The most impactful part of pageantry for me has been the confidence I’ve built. As a shorter, mid-size woman, I didn’t think there was a place for me in the pageant or fashion world. Participating in pageants has empowered me to feel more confident and opened my eyes to so many fantastic opportunities.

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: Why did you choose to compete for your current title? What made it stand out for you? USOA Mrs. Maine is my first title, and actually my first pageant ever. What stood out to me was the other women and the community feel that our State Director, Christie, has created. I made so many wonderful friends and met other women who are doing incredible things for their communities. It is truly inspiring to be part of that type of group.

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: I'd love to know more about your pageant system. Could you explain what it’s all about? The United States of America pageant system’s motto is “EMPOWER | INSPIRE | UPLIFT” and I can confidently say that is an accurate description of the system. From the beginning, I felt supported and uplifted by the women around me. Everyone was happy to lend a hand or provide advice and encouragement. Every woman who competed with me was an inspiration in her own right and I loved getting to know them and getting to support them in their goals. USOA is truly a sisterhood.

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: What do you think sets your pageant director apart from others? I feel so lucky to be able to work with the Maine State Director, Christie, and the National Director, Tanice. Both women work so hard to ensure we have resources to succeed in our pageant journey and provide a constant source of support. I had a lot of questions throughout my journey to USOA Mrs. Maine and Christie’s patience and kindness has been unending. She cares deeply about all of the women who participate and I know I can rely on her to lift me up when I have doubts or insecurities.

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: During competitions, what are the key things you're judged on? During the USOA state pageant we were judged on interview, evening gown, swimwear, and on-stage question. The judges are looking for overall confidence and poise on the runway. They’re also looking to get to know the delegates during the interview and understand the platform that each woman is supporting and their goals for the coming year if they are to win the crown. There isn’t one defining factor that makes someone the ideal pageant queen. It’s really about the overall package and who the judges feel is the best fit.

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: What’s your competition experience been like? Any memorable moments or learnings? I’ve had an extremely positive pageant experience. I was skeptical when I first joined the pageantry world, but I’ve been so inspired by the diversity in the contestants. Everyone brings unique attributes to the pageant and I love that pageantry celebrates and amplifies those things that make us unique. What has been most memorable to me are the friendships I have formed. I have a distinct memory of winning the USOA Mrs. Maine crown and being enveloped in a huge hug by all of the other Mrs. contestants. The positive energy was just so overwhelming.

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: Would you recommend your pageant system to others? If so, why? I would 100% recommend the United States of America pageant system. The workshops that Christie planned for the contestants leading up to the state pageant were immensely helpful. As a new contestant, they made me feel so much more confident about the process and what to expect during pageant weekend.

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: Tell me about your advocacy or volunteer work. What causes are you passionate about? As a young female leader, I am committed to advocating for gender equality and empowerment. My passion lies in empowering women and dismantling the obstacles that hinder their advancement. I want to make the path to leadership roles easier for women that will come behind me. Through Ms. JD, I have been able to support and mentor aspiring female lawyers, providing them with the guidance and resources they need to navigate the legal profession. Additionally, my participation in Women Standing Together has given me the opportunity to engage locally and work to break down barriers that hinder the progress of rising women leaders in various fields. Through these experiences, I have been able to leverage my platform to champion the causes of gender equality, mentorship, and women's empowerment.

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: With your title, what kinds of appearances or activities have you been involved in? Since winning my title, I have taken on a leadership role in creating the Women Standing Together Leadership Intensive, a groundbreaking one-day event designed to empower women in Maine. Organizing and leading this event has involved meticulous planning and coordination to ensure its success. The purpose of the Leadership Intensive is to provide a platform for women to network, gain valuable professional development skills, and access resources aimed at breaking down professional barriers. To guarantee the event's impact, I spearheaded the recruitment of experienced speakers and coaches and curated workshops focusing on leadership development, business growth, and career advancement. This event will equip women of Maine with the tools and support needed to advance in their careers and will foster a community of empowered and resilient rising leaders.

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: Can you share some of your achievements, both in and outside of pageantry? I consider myself to be a lifelong learner, and I am always looking for opportunities where I can push myself out of my comfort zone. Outside of pageantry, that led me to attending law school, where I graduated Summa Cum Laude in the top 10% of my class. During the challenging times of COVID-19 and while working full time as a corporate attorney, I earned my M.B.A. Summa Cum Laude. I am also proud of my professional achievements. In 2023, the programs I created and managed for Ms. JD impacted over 1,500 women across the United States.

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: In such a competitive field, what do you think makes you stand out? I think my resilience makes me stand out and is part of the reason I have seen success. No matter what has been thrown at me I have continued to put my best foot forward and make progress. I have faced the challenge of being a first-generation law student and of completing an M.B.A. program during a global pandemic. Yet, even more difficult, I faced the loss of my mom after a years-long battle with cancer shortly before I began preparing for the USOA pageant. Losing my mom was one of the hardest things I have ever had to go through, but I looked to her as my example. No matter what she was facing, she exuded positivity and displayed an incredible resilience. She taught me to always keep fighting and giving it your all. I believe that outlook has helped me in every aspect of my life, including during my pageant journey.

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: I can only imagine how it feels to win. What was going through your mind when your name was announced as the winner? That moment was surreal to say the least. Looking back on it, it truly feels like a dream. I remember taking my first walk and seeing my dad and my husband waiting at the end of the stage. It made the whole moment extra special to be able to celebrate with them.

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: What does being a Beauty Queen mean to you? To me being a Beauty Queen means being a role model. I want to show everyone that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes and that what matters is how you feel about yourself and the impact you leave on those around you.

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: How have pageants impacted your life? Pageantry has helped me to gain so much confidence. It has also helped me build my public speaking and presentation skills, which benefits my work as well.

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: How have pageants influenced your self-esteem and body image? As a mid-size queen, I definitely felt self-conscious.  I didn’t think there was a place for someone who looked like me in pageantry, fashion, or modeling. Being in such a supportive environment has not only boosted my confidence, but has also opened doors to me that I never thought would be open.

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: You’re an inspiration to many. How does that feel, and what message do you want to share with others? It’s really an honor to be a USOA Maine queen. I hope that by seeing a queen that is shorter and mid-size, other women will feel more confident in their bodies and feel more welcomed into the pageantry and fashion spaces.

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: What’s your strategy for captivating the judges on stage? I think confidence is key in all areas of competition. When you feel your best, you’ll perform your best. With that in mind, I pick styling that makes me feel beautiful and I think that comes across on stage.

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: How do you prepare for competitions? Any specific routines or practices? I feel most confident when I am well practiced, so leading up to any event I dedicate time to practice my runway walk and interview questions. I know in the moment I will be nervous and I want to be able to fall back on muscle memory, especially for runway!

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: Got any tips for nailing the perfect pageant walk? You have to be comfortable in your shoes. That’s really the biggest thing. Get your pageant shoes ahead of time and practice walking, turning, and posing in them constantly. If you’re not comfortable in sky-high heels, don’t wear them! The judges will notice if your feel are killing you or you are teetering on platforms.

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: Choosing the right pageant dress can be crucial. What are your tips for making the best choice? There are so many gorgeous gowns out there, but I think it’s important that you pick a gown that looks like you and fits your personal style. Don’t buy a dress just because you think it looks like a “pageant dress.” Find something that makes you feel absolutely gorgeous. That confidence will show through when you are on stage.

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: Interview rounds can be tricky. What are your strategies for a winning interview? I go into each interview with 2-3 points that I want to convey to the judges. These are things that I feel are super important for the judges to know about who I am as a person and what type of queen I will be. You only have a limited time with the judges, so knowing those key talking points and being ready to work them in to your answers is critical to staying on track and making the most of your time.

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: Looking back, is there a moment in a competition you wish you could redo? There really isn’t. My journey to USOA Mrs. Maine wasn’t perfect, but it was a learning opportunity for me and I do feel like I learned a lot from every single decision that I made.

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: What common mistakes do you see others making in contests? The biggest mistake I see is people not being authentic and true to themselves. Don’t compare your wardrobe, or platform, or background to anyone else’s and don’t try to turn yourself into the person you think the judges are looking for. Be yourself and do what is best for you. It’s your uniqueness that will win you the crown.

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: Do you have any experience in modeling or acting? Before pageantry I had minimal experience modeling. I am excited to be doing more of it now, starting with walk in the Beauty It’s Everywhere show during New York Fashion Week!

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: What are your plans or goals for the upcoming year as a Queen? My goal is to continue to plan impactful events and programs for rising women. I’m hoping to leverage the crown to raise awareness for the nonprofits I work with, and hopefully lead even more women to participate in event that will empower and inspire them.

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: Finally, what kind of legacy do you hope to leave behind? I hope I can be a role model for women who want to enter the pageant or fashion world to see that it doesn’t matter what size or shape you are. There is a place for everyone in the pageant world.  

National Director: Tanice Smith

Local Director: Christie Hines

Pageant Website: https://www.unitedstatesofamericapageants.com/

Photographer and Credit Details: Photo 1, Boulier Photography. All other photos, Marissa Elise Photography.

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine would like to say thank you for this wonderful interview.

Katie Winchenbach USOA Mrs. Maine 2024, World Class Beauty Queens Magazine, Left Top Photo by Boulier Photography. All other photos, Marissa Elise Photography. Interview by Derek Tokarzewski Owner/Editor in Chief Mr WorldClass 2023 Mr United Nations 2018 Platform: Women Empowerment





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