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Natalie Howard Miss Royalty International Spokes Model 2023-2024

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine would like to welcome amazing Queen Natalie Howard Miss Royalty International Spokes Model 2023-2024.

Full Name: Natalie Howard

Title/Year: International Spokes Model 2023-2024

Pageant System: Miss Royalty International

Age: 55

Education Level: Master of Science

Zodiac Sign: Pisces

Hobbies: Singing, writing, physical fitness, runway modeling, fashion/fitness modeling, weight training, Zumba, bodybuilding, athletic coaching (Basketball) Prison pen-pal, social media content creator (Basketball skills)

Platform: Family Homelessness & Prevention

Years Competed: 3

Countries Visited: Seoul, Korea (1984) but none since modeling

Likes and Dislikes: Likes: family, children, puppies, pepperoni pizza, training student athletes, clean wholesome humor; Dislikes: bugs and crawling things, cold weather, onions & garlic

Current Status: Married to Mr. Wayne Howard (June 1987) 4 adult children: Simeon 32, Elisha 31, Samaria 30 and Ezra 28; One adopted son: Antonio, 34

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: Can you share a bit about who you are? Like, what are your passions outside of the pageant world?

Certainly! I would love to share more about who I am and my passions outside of the pageant world! First of all, I am a happily married mother of four adult children and one adopted! Three of them own and operate their own businesses. I am an advocate for marriage, womanhood, motherhood and the family. Additionally, I am a woman of faith and high standards founded on God's word, the Bible, as a disciple of Christ. I further characterize myself as a woman of purpose, pulchritude, virtuosity and resilience. I am a risk taker, overachiever, leader, and independent self-starter. The terms persistent, perseverant, determined, diligent, dedicated, driver may also help paint the silhouette of the woman that I am within. Second, I am passionate about perfecting myself, people, places and things around me to the best of my God given ability. Since I am at the pinnacle of that list, I strive to be the best me that I can be every day. I am a physical fitness enthusiast and bodybuilder. I believe that exercise builds the body and the mind and therefore pushes me to new heights on a consistent basis. I developed into a gym rat during my college days while on NCAA womens basketball scholarship at the University of South Carolina where we had to workout 3-4 days a week in the weight room. My appetite for weight training was founded there and I never forgot it. Even decades later, my daily discipline is to workout an hour before I go to school 5 days a week at 6am. My workouts energize my day and I am able to valiantly surmount any obstacles and achieve my daily goals!

An even greater thrill is coaching basketball! I started as a volunteer coach at the YMCA as I worked with my kids watching them grow up and fall in love with the game. Over 25 years later, I still call the shots as a high school girls basketball coach and group developmental skills trainer. To push student-athletes to improve their skills for the next level of their sports path is a heavily passionate occupation of mine. I’m a team player and therefore enjoy team building and camaraderie. My oldest son always tells me, "Ma, you're such a people person!" And that always reminds me that my goal is to make every individual that I encounter better. I am impressionable and aim to make new acquaintances and learn about cultures everywhere I go. I love to smile, laugh, make friendships and then turn them into relationships! Most of the time, that’s done easily through my charisma and natural people skills accented with talents that I have been blessed with; some of which include communication, singing, writing, Zumba dancing, teaching, athletics, motivational speaking, physical fitness, strength training and wellness.

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: I’m curious about your education journey. What's it been like for you, any particular highlights or challenges?

My educational journey, you ask..? Oh, wow! Let's start with comparing it to that of a roller coaster ride! It has been overfull of vicissitudes! Although I am a former 2-time Dean's List National Honoree and recipient of a Masters Degree in Education, the beginning was not nearly as beautiful as the end... I can sum it up by asking the same question that I did when I took the podium to share my winning speech to receive the Spokesmodel crown: "How many 33 year old married women raising 4 elementary-aged children with a full-time job do you know have dropped out of college not once, but twice, returned for a third time after an 11 year sabbatical, have tried out for a women's basketball team, made the team and led the team to its first championship and national tournament appearance ever in the school's history, was later voted Most Valuable Player and Athlete of the Year and above that, have graduated Magna Cum Laude all in the same year..?" Then to an audience of flabbergasted faces I responded, "You're looking at one!"

I was happy to be able to tell the onlookers how my family and I surmounted the greatest obstacle of our lives--homelessness. However, I was not happy to admit that I forfeited my free education twice and finally gave up on school and basketball due to failing grades in exchange for motherhood because that decision was heavily responsible for many losses and a series of unfortunate events that followed. After many years of regret and remorse (although extremely happy as a wife and mom) I always contemplated going back to school but wasn't sure when or how. Weeks, months and years blew by and before I knew it, I had been out of school for over a decade. The older my children grew, the more I realized that one day I would have the unpleasant, pathetic task of having to tell them that their mom was a dropout and quitter. I didn't like that. And for years I spent battling the tormentous thoughts of should've, could've and would've until they drove me back to the classroom as a 33 year-old college Senior playing on a womens basketball team. I attended an accelerated adult class one night per week for 4 hours amidst basketball practices and games. It was an amazing, magical year because as the eldest player to ever play at this college, we won the Conference championship that year for the first time in the school’s history! My student-athlete experience was so inspirational that it made headline news and was featured as a cover story on the front page of our local newspaper in Jacksonville, FL back in November of 2001. After the news spread to my home state of New Jersey, it was also published as headline news and I’ll never forget the closeout that the Courier News sports writer wrote: "Natalie Howard, from homeless to hometown hero!” I consider that to be the highlight of a lifetime after such a rough road.

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: Women's empowerment is such a key topic. What does it mean to you personally?

Women’s empowerment means so much to me because it has done so much for me! Since competing in pageants, runway modeling and fashion shows, I have experienced empowerment by way of my peers, the pageant systems in which I have competed and most of all, personal empowerment within myself. Pageants remind me about what the true image of a wholesome woman should be and pageantry remains alive today because it aims to reaffirm and exalt the true image of a woman. Therefore, she is admonished to continue to uphold true, authentic beauty and comeliness that defines a real woman.

When I compete in a pageant, its like my competitors are my sisters. I feel like a woman among women FOR women! We are the visual examples to other women who contemplate displaying their beauty and self worth fearlessly yet refrain from doing so for one personal reason or another. Walking gracefully down the runway to me makes a beckoning call to these women! Its not one that says "look at me, I'm better than you" but rather "look at me and look at what you can do!" That's how I was empowered; and that’s how I empower! When my mother was modeling during my youth, I recall seeing lovely women on display alongside her showcasing their beauty, talents and confidence publicly and although the desire to join them didn't happen for me overnight, I always kept that image in the back of my mind. Today, it has empowered me to be a Queen! We as women are nurturers of and for the human race! The world can't function without us! When the Lord made woman, He made her purposely with maternal instinct to be that soft, compassionate, kind hearted, loving, caring, giver of life, yet bold, courageous, fearless, fierce and courageous woman of strength simultaneously!

At this stage of my life, I feel more empowered than ever and have always been happy about the woman whom God created me to be! As a midlifer, I am the happiest I’ve ever been, I am the strongest I’ve ever been, I am the wisest I’ve ever been, yet it doesn’t stop there! Opportunities like these oblige me to display a true image of womanhood and thanks to pageants I have only gained more confidence and empowerment to do so. Whether we say it or not, “every woman wants to be a Queen!” And that doesn’t necessarily mean to walk down an aisle adorned with a crown, but to be recognized, acknowledged and esteemed as one by society. Pageants have empowered me to not only set and accomplish personal goals but to help other women along the way to ascertain theirs. World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: How did you get into pageants? What sparked your interest initially?

My interest for pageants was sparked after I graduated from John Casablancas back in 2021. I participated in my first major runway show during New York Fashion Week. At that time I was so hungry for reaching my potential, my daughter and I traveled to the Big Apple where it was a bone-chilling 24 degrees! Much to our surprise, the choreographers decided to have us models walk the streets of Manhattan to attract onlookers as we took photos in the middle of traffic in that weather! (Yikes! My poor frostbitten fingers and toes!) Coincidentally, a modeling agency later signed me and asked me if I would be interested in participating in a beauty pageant. Just the very words struck a nerve and intrigued me to pursue. After further research, I decided that it would be a neat change since I could now dedicate the time and attention it would take to make this newfound hobby successful. Besides, all of my kids were all grown and gone and on their own, so I could begin to concentrate a little bit more on myself now.

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: What motivated you to participate in your first pageant? Was there a defining moment?

The motivation to participate in my first pageant came from a hidden desire within me at age 50 after receiving a personal invitation from a pageant director!. The idea of embarking this new venture of pageant competition at my mature age built a new internal motivation to personally drive myself to perfection but it was also followed by a few serious questions to myself:

“Am I really built for this..?” “Am I ready to handle the rolling eyeballs of strangers watching me?” “Am I ready to respond to the critique, criticism and commentary of spectators of all kinds?” After prayer and a deep inward search, I answered myself: “Why not give it a try?” “Let me see for myself what I’m made of; I won’t know otherwise..” The idea of being able to wear a new shoe (other than a Nike basketball shoe) and strutting down a runway (as opposed to running sprints down a basketball court) made me smile! I also loved the idea of walking tall in stilettos, being able to wear a shiny, long dress and most of all, captivating the crowd with a crystal crown–a new look I had never seen myself sport before! The more I envisioned it, the more I wanted it–the time to be under the lights with all eyes gazing on me! I loved the idea of walking like a Queen!

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: Why did you choose to compete for your current title? What made it stand out for you?

I chose to compete for the Spokesmodel title because I like public speaking and wanted to capitalize on an opportunity to potentially connect with people nationally and from abroad. It behooved me furthermore to potentially learn about new cultures and opportunities to serve as a Diplomat or Ambassador of some kind! Most of all, I liked the idea of being able to share a triumphant, personal life experience involving my family and I to an unfamiliar audience.

What made it most outstanding was because of the unique paradox involved. I chose to talk about a homeless woman who became a hometown hero; Homeless..? Why talk about that? Why talk about something sad, maybe even boring at a time of celebrating achievements and success? This event is about Queens and beautiful stuff, right? (Who does that..?) Why share a testimonial about a time of loss in your life when onlookers are expecting to hear about your victories and accomplishments...? Well, the latter is indeed greater than the former and since I wasn’t preaching to the Choir, I wanted to see how new and total strangers would respond (after I finally realized what I was going to say!) Yes! Nearly the entire time while standing in line, I had not a clue about what I was going to say and as every step I took drew nearer to the podium, my heart pounded and palpitated heavier and harder mixed with a little anguish and anxiety–until I prayed (again!) and remembered asking the Lord right there in line to give me the right words to say and how to say them–if I could come up with “what” to say! I drew a blank every time. “I don’t know what to say”, I kept repeating to myself. “God, please help me…!” On one of my last steps before hearing my name called to approach the mic, I got the confirmation in my heart. “Tell them your story!” Tell them about how you and the Howard family overcame the toughest time of your lives–homelessness…”

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: I'd love to know more about your pageant system. Could you explain what it’s all about?

The Miss Royalty International Pageant system was by far the best pageant experience I have had. MRI welcomes teens and women with all backgrounds and stories; women who are married, widowed, separated, divorced, single with children or no children. MRI is about celebrating women of all shapes and sizes while they champion causes that are close to their hearts. The personal mission of the MRI pageant is the #ModelCitizen Campaign. One thing that separates the MRI pageant from other pageant systems is that you are not alone in your journey. I found MRI to be very supportive along the way. Another fun fact is that MRI prides itself on being a family friendly environment where siblings and Mother/daughter duos can compete alongside one another while having the time of their lives!

Not only is MRI a supportive and family-friendly organization, but it also provides a 3-hour Zoom informational session for each new contestant, and each contestant is paired with their very own Contestant Coordinator who is there to guide each contestant with any and all questions she may have. Should additional help be required such as extensive training, MRI Coordinators are readily available to be hired as coaches. What I also noticed about MRI as compared to other pageant systems was that MRI offered a transformative 3-week Model Citizen Academy for those wanting to get into the news media or needing help developing their platforms and plans of action. MRI has so much more to offer!

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: What do you think sets your pageant director apart from others?

Sherrie Gearheart was my pageant director for MRI and what sets her apart from other pageant directors that I have been acquainted with is her transparency, cordiality and availability. She has the best interest of every woman and her platform in mind; She has the back of every delegate who is a part of her system. Additionally, she cares enough to meet with each participant one-on-one and even goes the great length of offering runway coaching, tips on pageant etiquette and so much more on a personal level. Above that, Sherrie is more than a Director. She is a former titleholder herself and continues to compete in pageants today! I thought it was a great experience to work with a winner and for her to take her knowledge and expertise and willingly share it with aspirants like me was quite compassionate.

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: During competitions, what are the key things you're judged on?

During MRI competition, delegates are judged on the following 3 main areas of competition: Interview, Fashion Wear, and Evening Gown. These 3 areas of competition are the only areas that determine the overall International age divisional winners but there are various optional areas that are fun and exciting to compete in as well!

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: What’s your competition experience been like? Any memorable moments or learnings?

My competition experience has been nothing less than a thrill and invigorating! With each pageant I gain more experience, confidence and momentum. Each one teaches me more and prepares me for the next. It feels like my foot is on the accelerator and all the lights are green; or like I’m a gazelle scampering happily at high velocity across an open field without a care! I am aiming to ascertain the crown–the sweet success of being a titleholder!! And I won’t stop until I reach my goal… One of my most memorable moments took place during my first pageant in Orlando, FL (Little Miss Citrus–Ms. Central FL) During the Citrus pageant, although I finished second runner-up in just my very first pageant, I was happiest about being able to make all of my sessions punctually and not missing any of my walks. Being on time is critical and can be stressful if not fully prepared. I packed all of my garments properly and was able to maneuver to and from sessions with minimal stress and anxiety! My confidence was so great that I chose to participate in two Optional talent competitions–Singing and Monologue. This was a thrill for me because its what I love to do and I was hoping that sharing a gift with a strange audience would yield the same results as it has with many others; and it did! When I sang, I received a standing ovation! It was an exhilarating feeling and I will never forget it… One audience member approached me later after the show just to tell me personally how heartfelt my performance was and that my selection brought her to tears! What a blessing to hear!

Two additional memorable moments took place during the North America pageant (Ms. Elite Florida–North America) when I won the Fitness Competition! Nice to see hard work in the gym pay off! And last but not least… the most memorable moment of them all–Crowning! As I approached the stage with Ms. Utah for the moment of truth, I knew I had everything that it would take to be the next titleholder–even the cast on my right arm… Cast..? Oh, yeah… Well, unfortunately, one week before my departure for the show, I was in a wreck and the accident left me with a broken wrist. (and a broken heart) I was completely devastated to say the least and I almost pulled out altogether thinking that because of the injury I would be disqualified. However, the fighter in me pushed through the adversity and I accepted the challenge to compete with an injury. Although my hopes were shattered over this, I guessed it would be better to say that at least I displayed perseverance as a contestant. So there we were, waiting on the first Runner-up’s name to be called… “Could I defeat the odds and be the first injured contestant to win a crown..?” I was only one step away as an Elite finalist… As I held my breath and held Ms. Utah’s hand, with my heart palpitating heavily under my gown, I heard the MC say the first runner-up’s name. It was mine… I wasn’t shocked but I was let down because all I could think about was the shiny, blingy cast on my right arm that I decorated to hide my pain and that had I not been injured, I probably would have been the titleholder in just my second pageant… I tried not to let it get me down too much but it was a difficult blow. It hit me as hard as the crash… but just like I bounced back from that, I too, will bounce back from any loss because that’s what I do. I’ll get the next one!

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: Would you recommend your pageant system to others? If so, why?

Since Miss Royalty International is by far the most memorable and enjoyable pageant experience I have had, I would most definitely recommend it to any aspiring woman who wants to empower herself. I would return again and again to compete for my title and a different one. The MRI family embraced me to the extent of online coaching, availability of answering my questions via phone, text and social media platforms. I’d like to believe that with high recommendation, new competitors will have the same happy experience that I had!

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: Tell me about your advocacy or volunteer work. What causes are you passionate about?

I am an advocate for the family and passionate about doing what I can to help keep the furtherance of God’s first institution; even if that means exemplifying it through the Howard family. My additional passion is helping incarcerated young men; especially those I become aware of who are from my home or whom I’ve had acquaintance with either personally or through my children. I am a prison volunteer alongside my husband, Wayne, and together we work as prison ministry volunteers with the Department of Corrections where we have had the privilege of offering mentorship to incarcerated men above ten years. Our ministry consists of mentorship through the study of God’s word–the Bible, prayer, receiving their collect calls, sending cards and emails to encourage them, even the sacrifice of making personal visits.

Over the years of our mission, we have built many relationships and back in 2012 we were impressed by the Lord to adopt an inmate. He reports that his life has turned around for the better and believes that he has been rehabilitated because of the care and compassion he has received from the Howard family ! To this day, we continue to dedicate additional time to meet his needs to sustain him until he is released!

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: With your title, what kinds of appearances or activities have you been involved in?

During my title reign, I was able to make an appearance at the public school where I teach! It was interesting to share with the student body from a different perspective especially since it was about my personal life which shed a bit more transparency. When I came walking in our auditorium with high heels on, a sash and crown, the students were amazed, in wonderment and longed to understand why I stood before them all dressed up! That was my opportunity to tell them how I became a Spokesmodel Queen and a little about my platform. My idea to speak at my school was twofold: it was a family oriented atmosphere and I got the opportunity to share my personal experience of overcoming homelessness–the worst time of my life which, unfortunately, involved my school-aged children.

Before the presence of 100 plus attendees including students, colleagues and our Administration, I chose to share my experience because in essence, it was a success story! My school pushes academics, of course, and furthermore admonishes character and demonstration of character through five specific character traits. We call them High-5 habits. They are respect, responsibility, courage, compassion and perseverance. And I was right honored to have the time to share how my family and I overcame homelessness through perseverance! In doing so, my life came back together and perseverance was the reason why I could stand before them that day! Oh, I’m sure a speech about how I went to school to become a teacher would’ve been more befitting or even how I went back to school to acquire my Masters degree after a long sabbatical, but I wanted the kids and every hearer to know that the Howard family made it out together and even though families are showing up bringing their kids to school, some of them might be homeless. Family homelessness is a serious matter and it calls for more awareness. I hope one day that I can have more of an impact. My ongoing efforts are to partner with local shelters to see how I learn more and help.

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: Can you share some of your achievements, both in and outside of pageantry?

I am happy to report a number of achievements in pageant competitions! Inside of pageantry, I have my current Title (MRI 2023–24 Spokesmodel winner) Elite North America First Runner-Up (2021) and Fitness Overall Winner, Little Miss Citrus 2nd Runner-Up (2022), Forever in Blue Jeans, Supermodel and Citrus Classic Winner. Outside of pageantry, but in the modeling and fashion industry, I have had the pleasure of walking in two New York Fashion Week runway shows and was named a Top-10 finalist in the Miss Fashion Global Runway competition back in 2021–22. I hold additional awards for talent competition in Singing and MonoIogue performances. With my Master of Science degree, I am a certified Athletic Coach and Elementary Education teacher. Upon graduation from high school, I received an NCAA athletic scholarship to the University of South Carolina to play Womens basketball.

After a rocky college experience, I took an 11 year layoff but returned to the court at the mature age of 33, married with 4 elementary-aged children and a full time job. That season I managed to win Most Valuable Player and Athlete of the Year accolades as a returning student-athlete. Basketball continues to bounce in my life! For the first time in my life, I purchased a franchise and I am now the owner of a business that teaches toddlers basketball skills through music! It is an exemplary program that engages the whole child in their learning process by developing them emotionally, socially, cognitively and physically! The culmination of their learning experience is to participate in a live performance during half-time at a basketball game where they can showcase all of the skills they’ve learned throughout the course of the program!

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: In such a competitive field, what do you think makes you stand out?

In such a competitive field as Pageantry, I manage to stand out from the rest because of my eliteness and fitness of age! Other characteristics are my height, my natural, long hair, charismatic personality and smile! It’s a neat little paradox but I always seem to attract the younger ladies because they respond in awe when I tell them that I am a happily married mother of four, and that I’ve been married over 35 years! Seems like that conversation has always made its way into every competition I’ve ever been in! I think it builds camaraderie and generates healthy, fun dialogue! The ladies ask me questions about beauty secrets, health tips, advice on love and marriage, longevity in love and marriage, fitness routines, how I got started working out, what keeps me going and a plethora of other health and fitness conversation pieces. I count it all a blessing and use the conversations as opportunities to be a source of encouragement, motivation and inspiration; but most of all, to make connections that ultimately form long lasting relationships!

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?

When my name was announced as the winner, I think I froze for a few seconds ( ha ha ha!) not for fear, but for really trying to internalize what I had just heard before celebrating because in my mind I knew that this was the last competition of the entire pageant for me before crowning, and I had to take away something in this category or else I would have gone home with nothing… I would have had no accomplishments at all; so a number of mixed emotions were going on inside, and when Sherrie asked for the Spokesmodel sash to be presented, I wasn’t even sure she was going to give it to me. I was still standing there watching and waiting to see who the judges decided to give it to not realizing that the crown and sash was mine!

The most beautiful memory I have about being announced as the Spokesmodel winner was not only that I was the winner but the overall winner. I was later told that the voting was unanimous, that my speech touched the hearts of everyone and even brought some to tears. I was amazed, happy and thankful. I rejoice every time I reminisce on my accomplishment!

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: What does being a Beauty Queen mean to you?

Being a beauty queen means that I am being held to a higher standard and that I have a greater responsibility of being a positive role model in society. Its more than just walking around in a crown and sash in high heels. Its about exhibiting beauty inside and out. As a beauty Queen I am willing to allow myself to be seen in the public eye as one who represents and demonstrates beauty in every sense of the word; beauty in appearance, beauty in speech, beauty in motion… It means being beautiful at everything! People are expecting more from me simply because of my status and in doing so, I have to be more open to being admired, adored, accosted, even analyzed as an example of what it means to be beautiful by entertaining the thoughts and opinions of the public.

Because of this status, I look at myself as one who now must be more understanding and respectful of other people's thoughts and opinions, actions, and reactions to how they may view me because being a beauty queen is not just a title and status; it’s like being redefined with a new change of description that comes along with the perspectives of seeing as a Queen and being seen as a Queen.

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: How have pageants impacted your life?

Thanks to my mother (an octogenarian beauty herself) pageants have had a positive impact on my life ever since childhood while watching Bob Barker announce the new Miss America on our small black and white TV with the bunny rabbit ears in New Jersey! My mom never missed a crowning moment and her excitement was so real because my two younger sisters and I would cheer alongside her as the culmination of this event that mesmerized her drew to a close! Who would be the new Miss America..? Would it be the pretty lady that my mom was following and rooting for from the start..? Or would it be her competitor..? This intrigued me because a few times my mom actually picked the winner from the start! That truly shocked and amazed me!

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: How have pageants influenced your self-esteem and body image?

It’s also amazing about how pageants have influenced my self-esteem and body image over the years since I began competing in 2020 at the age of 50 I also began a new workout regimen and personal fitness routine. I was always a gym rat and have NCAA women’s basketball to thank for that, but the extreme discipline didn’t commence until I got really serious about competing and every good athlete knows that when competition calls, you gotta be ready and you’ve gotta have an answer. That applies to athletics as well as in pageantry! My workouts went from one to two mornings per week for a few years to every morning for the last few years; from an hour after work to hoop with the guys to 90 minutes before work every morning to tone and exercise! Since falling in love with pageants and modeling, myself image, personal confidence, appearance, self-esteem and motivational drive have all significantly improved for the better! I am the happiest I have ever been, the healthiest I have ever been and and the strongest I have ever felt Seeing is believing and the more I see the results of hard work and dedication to self improvement, the more I strive for more! it’s almost like an addiction (and thankfully a healthy one!)

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 is truly wonderful to be viewed as an inspiration to so many! It makes me feel honored and humbled, maybe even heroic at the same time! I know that because many women shy away from pursuits such as pageantry for various reasons; negative factors such as low self esteem, childhood experiences such as bullying or just the perception of a negative personal self image and numerous other unspoken reasons… When I was at my lowest and my self esteem took a hit because I lost practically everything and felt like a failure, it reminds me of how the Lord strengthened me to pull my family up out of a deep ditch and as an overcomer, I can help somebody else because that is what I’ve always seen myself do—heroic things!

The message that I would like to share with others is this: “push yourself because there’s a lot more in you than you think you have! Nobody can push you like you! Raise the bar a little higher every day and watch yourself grow… watch yourself climb to heights you never imagined.” When I was pushing a stroller around an old hotel with my newborn son and his three older toddlers taking nature walks because there was nowhere else for us to go, so broke, I couldnt afford to pay attention, it was mind over matter for me. I knew it wouldn't always be like this; and as bad as it seemed, it took a growth mindset to climb up and get out! Some days I thought it would never end, but on better days I remembered that all things are possible with God and I am ever so grateful for His mercy and being able to share my family's success!

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: What’s your strategy for captivating the judges on stage?

My strategy for captivating the judges while on stage is communication with my eyes and smile. Another strategy is simply displaying poise; a relaxed and natural wholesome look and not overdoing it.. Most of all it is to maintain eye contact with each individual judge in a welcoming and humble way. This communication creates a sense of one on one personal connection. We can't communicate in any other way while on stage, so the best way is through the eyes and smile! Like they say, “ the eyes have it!” and “ the eyes are the windows of the soul!” Smiling is a universal positive language all its own! Greet a stranger with a beautiful smile and you'll win them over!

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: How do you prepare for competitions? Any specific routines or practices?

This is a wonderful question and it is by far the question of them all because it’s the preparation process that leads to the potential outcome. My late awesome uncle who just left us in December 2023 was following my pageant career and would tell me often how proud of me he was as he saw me pursue this newfound craft in my mature stage of life. During one of our sweet conversations one morning, he called me and I remember him praising my efforts and reminding me that it is the preparation that makes for the success. When I prepare for pageants, I prepare just like I do for athletic competition. It is a unique comparison even though the shoe is on the other foot, but the preparation is all the same. I have to prepare mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually, and I always aim to stay calm because without organized preparation, even the preparation process can become overwhelming!

My specific rituals and routines for an upcoming competition are number one to practice, I get in the gym one to two days a week just to use the training group floor as a runway for walking practice in my heels for about an hour I even bring my Bluetooth and I play music and pretend I’m strutting down the runway I also use this time to work on poses and turns and smiling! Yes, there are even smiling techniques that I practice too. To critique myself, I videotape my walks to analyze techniques such as my posture, poise, facial expressions, walking speed and stage presence. To be ready at any available location, I keep 2 to 3 pairs of heels in the trunk of my car and a black catsuit so I can be ready to suit up and strut whenever the opportunity presents itself! Two to three months before the main event, I begin making regular trips to the gym after work (sometimes before) and the closer it gets to the big day, the more I practice until I’m totally confident that I’m ready to perform. This calms me down, diffuses any anxiety and builds strength at the same time. Day by day, practice after practice, I begin to feel less nervous and more confident!

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: Got any tips for nailing the perfect pageant walk?

One of my best tips for nailing the perfect pageant walk is to walk pretty! Sounds simple, but there is an art to it. I have worked diligently differentiating between runway and pageant because on the runway, I like to strut, but that’s not proper technique in pageants! The pageant walk is one of elegance so you don't rush and strut through it… it’s almost walking like you’re blushing! It also reminds me of how I walked down the aisle when I got married. My grandfather gave me away and I remember how slowly he was walking with me as we held hands. I was trying to speed him up while he was trying to slow me down —and he did! I’m not sure exactly how long it took, but before he finally released me to the altar to meet my groom (who thankfully is still my husband 37 years later, I must admit that it was the slowest, longest but most graceful stroll with purposeful steps I ever trod. In Pageantry, the graceful stroll allows the onlookers to applaud, to appreciate and to apply everything they’re hearing and learning about you as you absorb all of the limelight! Walk pretty, blush, walk gracefully and purposely and win the hearts of your audience!

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: Choosing the right pageant dress can be crucial. What are your tips for making the best choice?

When it comes to choosing the perfect pageant gown, I suggest one that is pleasant to your eye. It should be well fitted and flowing all the way to the floor. I love bling, sequins, shimmer and glitter, but it’s mostly the fit and look of elegance that the dress should offer. My personal favorite style is the backless, sleeveless mermaid dress with a V-neck or a neck choker. This highlights my elegant appeal and attractive image, in my opinion, but the best pageant dress choice is of course, based on personal preference of the buyer/beholder; however, whatever the choice, the dress should be one that accentuates your body shape and ultimately gives you the feeling of displaying a captivating appearance!

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: Interview rounds can be tricky. What are your strategies for a winning interview?

My strategies for a winning interview are first of all to be clear in speech to use good vocal tone, voice inflection, and to smile, smile, smile! As a matter of fact, walk in the door, smiling! Walk in straight and tall looking the panelists straight in the eyes. Be natural and a lot of the winning interview is not about what to do it’s really about what not to do for example don’t tell the panel you’re nervous and don’t use any phrases to gain their sympathy. For example, if you mess up, don’t ask them if you can start over and don’t apologize over and over and don’t start crying (although you may feel like it!) But if you mess up, just keep on going because a lot of times they may not even know that you messed in the first place!) Use good vocal projection, speak fluently, but don’t talk too much. try answering each question with details and in full and complete sentences Upon completion, thank the panel and smile on your way out confidently!

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: Looking back, is there a moment in a competition you wish you could redo?

Looking back, there are lots of moments during pageants that I wish I could redo, but can’t unfortunately; Since experience is life’s best teacher, I am grateful and even more knowledgeable because of those moments. One of those moments happened to take place during my interview… I walked in with what I thought was a memorized introduction to get my juices flowing, but as soon as I was asked to respond to my first question, I drew a complete blank. I started stuttering and stammering and not only that, I did what I have told others NOT to do and what I was taught NOT to do, which was to apologize and ask to start over again… Uuuughh! I was in quick sand! The more I spoke the more I sank until I finally gave up and asked to skip onto the next question. It was excruciating embarrassment, and I promised myself I would never allow that to happen again, but why did it happen..? Nerves, I guess.

Unfortunately, nervousness and anxiety got the best of me that time and I did not do well… I have preached to myself “slow deep breaths, positive self-talk, be smooth and natural and even after adhering to that, I flopped. Seems like if a perfect connection isn’t made, anything can happen. Yikes! Wish I could do it all over again but better. In previous interviews, I have knocked it out the park!! However, every interview has provided for me a unique experience each time and sadly, I flopped on this one... I walked out of the interview the size of an ant knowing that I blew it, thus ruining any chance of gaining the crown. Interview is one of the highest percentages in the competition so with realizing that, I walked out shaking my head thinking, “oh, well, maybe next time!” World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: What common mistakes do you see others making in contests?

Common mistakes that I have seen others doing in pageants are similar to mistakes that I’ve made in the past which are doing too much, over packing, under packing (and therefore having to borrow supplies from others due to poor preparation), relying on the guidance of strangers due to lack of research, and just operating over emotionally. I’m not saying that these are mistakes but they create them! We’re human and it’s common to forget things, but I have learned over the years that in pageant competition preparation, research and organization are paramount for success!

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: Do you have any experience in modeling or acting?

Thankfully, I have experience in modeling and acting. I’m a graduate of John Casablancas (℅ 2021). After contemplating modeling, I decided to take myself to school because I wasn’t familiar with the industry and felt personally that I just didn’t know enough…Common terms and other industry jargon went over my head and rather than start at the level of a novice, I wanted more education. The school enrolled me in 30 unique classes that trained me for the runway and taught me other basic essentials such as history of the industry, monologue techniques, improv, slating, and posing techniques. Since graduating, I’ve been in six runway shows and placed in the top 10 in more than half of them! I love acting because I love comedy and clean wholesome humor is internal healing! I believe my training has empowered me and helped me for pageantry both now and the future.

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: What are your plans or goals for the upcoming year as a Queen?

My plans and goals for the upcoming year as Spokesmodel queen is to connect with area homeless shelters as a volunteer to either serve evening meals, organize clothing donation closets, and/or get involved with assisting homeless youth by offering life skills, fitness classes (such as Zumba) and of course, basketball skills training! I love to exercise and dance my way to fitness, so ZUMBA will be a winner!

Unfortunately, being relatively new to the area this year, I wasn’t able to cover as much ground as I would have liked but my additional goal is to maintain an ongoing effort to learn the area and help people who are in the similar predicament that I once was in, and that way I can offer hope and mentorship. Ultimately, as a ministry leader I can also provide spiritual guidance and insight through prayer and the study of God's word, the Bible.

World Class Beauty Queens Magazine: Finally, what kind of legacy do you hope to leave behind?

As a middle-aged, mature woman who just started pageant competition as a hobby at age 50, I definitely endeavor to leave a legacy! In doing so, I am hoping to fulfill my mother‘s dream of being a successful model, but even more, I want to exemplify a wholesome woman example to other women with a tag that says “it's never too late to reach your full potential or unleashed potential and it is done by elevating your mind and your body to push through adversity and supersede the odds by consistently striving to be the best you that you can be!!” I’ve actually proven that to myself and the Lord has shown me that with new pursuits come new gifts, more talents, abilities and responsibilities that have yet to be exposed. Not only to help me, but to help others.

From zero to my own hero, the legacy I hope to leave behind will be for all women of all races, nationalities, creeds and ethnic backgrounds to remember a woman who persevered from "homeless to hometown hero" through her faith, family support and fruit of her own hands. 

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

Natalie Howard Miss Royalty International Spokes Model 2023-2024, Photo by Vanessa Lewis Studio LLC   Interview by Derek Tokarzewski Owner/Editor in Chief Mr WorldClass 2023 Mr United Nations 2018 Platform: Women Empowerment


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