Peta-Gay Ledbetter Mrs United Nations Globe 2016
World Class Beauty Queens Magazine would like to welcome amazing Queen and our print issue #2 Cover Girl Peta-Gay Ledbetter Mrs United Nations Globe 2016.
Name: Peta-Gay Ledbetter Title: Mrs. United Nations Globe 2016
Pageant: United Nations Pageants
Zodiac sign: Scorpio
Hobbies: Singing, dancing, skydiving
Platform: Raise Awareness about Sexual Assault and Human Trafficking.
Years competed: 2 years
Countries visited: (recent to past) Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Mexico, China, Germany, Poland, Italy, Bahamas, and Canada.
Likes: Traveling, Honesty, Fundraising, Galas, Teaching and Public Speaking.
World Class Beauty Queens: Hello Peta, thank you for taking the time to Interview with us. Tell us about yourself.
Dr. Peta-gay Chen Ledbetter was born in Kingston, Jamaica and immigrated with her family to the US when she was 8 years old. She holds Dual PhD’s in Educational Psychology and in Individual Differences, a Master’s in Education in Counseling, A Bachelor’s in Psychology, and degrees as both a Registered Nurse and General Science.
Dr. Ledbetter is currently, the Regional Director for Regeneration Behavioral Health, an Associate Adjunct Professor at the University of Houston, as well as the current titleholder of Mrs. United Nations Globe 2016. She, along with her husband Chris and her 3 children, have been very active in the community and attending multiple galas and events and the Race Against Violence as a family.
Dr. Ledbetter has been a vocal advocate for survivors of Sexual Assault for many years, as she herself is a survivor. She has taped Public Service Announcements for The Houston Area Woman’s Center, for Asian American Family Services, Elijah Rising and the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault. She recently went to South Asia to visit children in Vietnam, Cambodia and Malaysia, that are victims of child sex trafficking. Dr. Ledbetter remains on several Speaker Panels, giving presentations nationally as both a survivor of Sexual Assault and as an expert and Professor.
World Class Beauty Queens: I’m going to start by asking you about your crown, you can’t miss it. It looks amazing and it’s different from other crowns. Tell us what you love about it?
I love the Emerald color that to me, represents growth and renewal, fertility and being born anew! The full circle represents being complete and not unfinished, and the diamonds represent clarity and honesty as well as elegance and glamour! It is so sparkly and regal, it always attracts alot of attention and lights up a room because it is not a typical rhinestone tiara. I just love it!!!!
World Class Beauty Queens: To our readers that are unfamiliar with United Nations Pageant tell us what is the system about.
The United Nations Pageant system is unlike any other, in that it is diverse and welcoming to all types of women, there is no age limit in the Mrs. Category and there is beauty in all body types and ethnicities. I believe that this system looks for women of accomplishment that have demonstrated real work in the community. The one thing that really stands out for me in this pageant is the fact that the winner and all the runners-up get their own crown. That allows those of us to represent the pageant and our platforms and to be the winners we truly are, not just a plaque or a sash. Everyone leaves a winner and my fellow winners and I have all gone on to do wonderful, very public events proudly wearing our crowns! There is a multi-colored, an emerald, a gold and a black diamond crown. We are all queens and we are able to show that, no matter the color of the crown! No other system, I know of does that!
World Class Beauty Queens: What made you decide to compete for Mrs United Nations title?
I researched many systems before deciding that this was the right fit for me. I had experienced only one other past competition, but I learned what kind of system that I wanted represent. United Nations truly is an international pageant, winners come from many different countries. The integrity of the judging is beyond reproach. I was looking for a title that I would be proud to represent internationally, to have the opportunity to travel to different countries and a Director that truly cared that I felt supported in what I was doing. The fact that it was in my home country, didn’t hurt my decision to travel for the pageant!!
World Class Beauty Queens: Please tell us about your platform.
As a survivor of sexual assault myself, it has been my life mission to raise awareness of the rates of sexual assault and human trafficking because the rate has only increased, not decreased in the last few decades! Rape Culture is a huge problem and normalizing of sexual assault has contributed to this problem. As a survivor who is vocal, I hope to decrease the stigma of being a survivor and to bring to light the atrocities of Modern Day Slavery that continues to occur everyday in every country. It is truly an International problem!
World Class Beauty Queens: Please tell us about your involvement Texas Association against sexual assault and why is it important.
I was honored to be chosen as one of only a dozen survivors to take part in filming a Public Service Announcement for the state of Texas. The PSA will be shown state wide and nationally on the website and social media. The purpose is to decrease the stigma and increase awareness of both the rate of sexual assault and resources for healing.
World Class Beauty Queens: Tell us about Ryan White Planning Council and what is your contribution.
The Ryan White Planning Council is a diverse group of volunteers that determines how to best provide medical services to the people living with HIV/AIDS in the Houston area. Council members are appointed by the Harris County judge, in my case, Judge Ed Emmott appointed me 3.5 years ago. I am now Co-Chair for the Priorities and Allocations committee and we budget the annual grant of almost 9 million dollars from the federal government.
World Class Beauty Queens: What is KNOWAutism and how are you involved?
KNOWAutism is a non-profit organization that helps families of children with Autism find resources for testing and treatment, find special programs and schools, as well as training for parents and professionals for the best standards of care. Last year, I was honored to walk in the fashion show at the 2nd Annual gala as a celebrity model! We raised over 200,000 in one evening!
World Class Beauty Queens: Tell us about Love 146.
Love 146 is a non-profit organization that works to prevent children from being abducted into sex trafficking through programs in schools in the US and UK. They also fund several safe homes for children rescued from Sex trafficking that are worldwide, from the Philippines to the UK and South Asia. I have been blessed to be involved in this organization for the past 2 years and plan to take a mission trip with them in the near future!
World Class Beauty Queens: Tell us about your support for Jamaica Foundation.
The Jamaica Foundation is a local organization that holds an annual dinner to celebrate the Jamaican Independence Day and to raise money for scholarships for several deserving students each year. Applicants will go to college to study everything from medicine to engineering. We have several other social events during the year to spread the joy of the Jamaican and Caribbean culture such as the annual JAGA reggae festival, Family Fun Day and JFH Annual Labor Day Picnic. We also collaborate with other area organizations and I had the honor of being a judge at the Miss Caribbean Houston pageant!
World Class Beauty Queens: What is Asia Society?
The Asia Society has museums world wide in NY, Philippines, India, Hong Kong and Texas. I have been a volunteer at the Texas center for the last 4 years, and a member of the Asia Society since 2012. I have had the honor of attending multiple events at the museum, acting as an ambassador and face for the Asia Society. I get to enjoy attending the Annual Tiger Ball and receiving the guests for the last 3 years!
World Class Beauty Queens: What are some major accomplishments as Mrs United Nations Globe 2016?
There have been so many opportunities that I have had due to the notoriety of my title! I am most proud of traveling internationally to Vietnam, Cambodia and Malaysia recently to present on my platform of increasing Awareness of Sexual Assault, Human Trafficking, and HIV/AIDS! I was able to give formal presentations to both the Children’s Detention Center population and the Women’s Detention Center population and staff in Malaysia. I am also proud of filming the 2 PSA’s for Elijah Rising to promote awareness of Human Trafficking, and the one for TAASA to promote awareness of sexual assault!
World Class Beauty Queens: What made you decide to compete in pageants?
I first became interested in 2015 due to a friend who competed and won a state title. She was able to increase awareness of her platform and encouraged me to compete to do the same for my platform on Sexual Assault awareness. I joined as a local delegate for Pearland where I lived and after the first article in the Houston Chronicle, I was able to see the benefits of have a title in order to promote a worthy cause. Although I had already done TV interviews, a PSA and several presentations on the subject as a Professor, I realized the power of the crown as a megaphone to reach a wider audience with my message. It was never about the “Beauty or Brains” for me, it was more about helping others in a wider venue.
World Class Beauty Queens: What would be most heart warming mentoring story you have.
While I was in Cambodia, I met a 7 year old girl that was sex trafficked by her own parents. She was in a safe house with staff and 20 other girls but I could tell she didn’t feel special or especially cared for by anyone, including her own parents. While she remained standoffish with others, she took to me, coming up to sit in my lap or give me random hugs, even though we could not communicate. She knew I truly saw her and cared about her as a special girl. Before I left, using a translator, I promised her I would be her “Auntie” from now on, I would come back to visit her and I would write to her alone. We both cried when I left Cambodia. I will keep my promise to financially sponsor her, and I will be visiting annually to make sure she is okay as she grows up. I will write to her often and she promised to do good in school and learn English so she can write back to me. I made a commitment to her and myself to be the one person who will love her forever and I do it with a great sense of responsibility and joy.
World Class Beauty Queens: You also have a title of a Doctor please tell us about it.
I hold 2 PhD’s, one in Educational Psychology and one in Individual Differences. Educational Psychology is regarding the study of learning and how different programs of education are effective based on the target population. Individual Differences is the study of how individuals who may grow up in the same home, or experience the same school or program of training, even experience the same trauma, will react in a different manner or learn in a different manner. Many of us are “visual” learners versus reading something or trying it for ourselves, it is just how we best learn.
World Class Beauty Queens: Have you been awarded for your volunteer work?
Yes, many times! I have been honored to be an Ambassador for Asian America Family Services, an Ambassador for the Aga Khan Foundation and multiple service awards such as 10-years on the Houston Show and Rodeo Safety committee as a Medical team volunteer. But I volunteer for the altruistic rewards, not for the recognition, plaques, certificates, etc.
World Class Beauty Queens: What was your talent during the competition?
I sang a Capella for my talent. It was a worship song, “Strong Enough” and one line is “He took my life into His hands, and turned it all around. In my most desperate circumstance, it’s there I finally found, that He is strong enough... to break me, pour me out and start again.” It speaks to my souls and the moment God rescued me from my abductor and delivered me to safety.
World Class Beauty Queens: Fun part of the competition is national costume tell us how did you represent your country and why?
I loved my national costume because it was hand made, head to toe in sparkly rhinestones and had the colors of the Jamaican flag incorporated! The meaning of Jamaica is “Land of wood and water”! It has a headpiece that is made from real sea shells and the sparkle of the rhinestones represented the beautiful crystal clear water that is found in and around Jamaica. The shawl has both driftwood and sea shells attached to a net, representing the wood element but also the net is our diversity, for we are “Out of many, one people!” The skirt has the Green, Gold and black of our national flag! The overall effect was meant to capture the “Carnival” feeling of Jamaica as well!
World Class Beauty Queens: Big part of the competition is evening gown. Tell us what did you choose and who designed it.
Well, I wore two different gowns for competition. During the preliminaries, I wore a beautiful blue gown made Fernando Wong! It has this gorgeous super long train and lots of ruffles that made it so feminine but regal, like a queen’s train. However, the train was not practical for the stage nor the stairs up to the stage. So, for gown I wore in finals was a gorgeous sea-green, almost turquoise color with lots of sparkle under the lights, a mermaid shape with ruffles that were finished by a horsehair edge to make it flair with no train as such. It’s a MacDuggal pageant line. It matched my crown perfectly!
World Class Beauty Queens: What was your thinking process for selecting the gown?
I wanted a high fashion, international level gown. So, I believe that certain labels are required for that level of pageant gown. But I also had to be realistic about budget as sponsors are scarce nowadays. I wanted a gown that I felt I could be comfortable and shine in, one that reflects my personality and sense of style. Packing constraints were also a factor and I could not pack anything too bulky or heavy for the flight. I brought several gowns to choose from, just in case I needed a backup gown, as in my case, my first choice was not functional for the stairs or stage. Ultimately my pageant coach gave me honest feedback, and I listened to her sage advice.
World Class Beauty Queens: Tell us about all the activities you’ve done during the competition.
Pageant week is hectic and fun! Fun activities included going shopping for fun and groceries for the Cook-off, going to the famous Dunn’s River Falls, going out to eat at several authentic Jamaican cuisine restaurants, and an opportunity to meet the PM that was unfortunately rescheduled. We had multiple photoshoots for active wear, evening gown, National Costume and just having fun! We got to introduce ourselves and or platforms and also to video why we had chosen United Nations Pageants! We got to go and do service for the Jamaica Boys Home, both to paint and to cook as well as entertain them! We also got to practice walking, practice posing, practice for the show, practice speaking, lots of practice! We got up early and went to bed late everyday, but it was rewarding and fulfilling and we all got a bit more in shape!
World Class Beauty Queens: What charity work have you done in Jamaica during the competition.
During the competition, we went to meet the boys at the Jamaica Boys Home, we got to help paint their home with a fresh coat of paint and then we had a cook off and fed them lots of yummy food! I continue to be in touch with one of the boys, but I am also in contact with the Jamaica AIDS Support for Life organization.
World Class Beauty Queens: What was your onstage strategy to win the judges over?
I think walking properly is important, but eye contact and conveying confidence with a smile is more important. We had already had our interviews and so how we presented ourselves, our stage presence was a priority.
World Class Beauty Queens: During the evening gown competition, how did it feel to take your first step?
I felt confident! I felt I had chosen the proper gown and regardless of the outcome, I felt and acted like a winner already. It is so important to pick the right gown to feel confident in on the stage!
World Class Beauty Queens: Behind the scenes competition is a whirlwind. What was the most nerve wracking moment during the competition?
Honestly, it was hot! I felt sticky during the costume changes. I’m sure anxiety was a small part, because most of us helped each other to change. For some of us, it was waiting to get in the makeup chair.
World Class Beauty Queens: Which country was your biggest competition and why?
I felt it was the USA because so much hype happened before pageant week that built up a lot of expectations. Once we all got to know each other, it decreased a bit. Realistically, It was only my second pageant and the USA had 10 years of collecting crowns. So, I felt maybe there was an advantage to experience. However, I had the best coach and practiced my heart out while I was there!
World Class Beauty Queens: We want to hear in your own words how did it feel to hear your name as the winner.
Well, I must say- the best part for me, was hearing my name called as the People’s Choice Ambassador! That meant the world to me and I was given that honor before anybody got a crown! I got to wear my sash as others were called for all the different levels of competition. The Mrs. were called last and the anticipation between JA and US was played out on stage, but as I was called first for the title of Mrs. United Nations Globe, I was beyond thrilled to have that beautiful emerald gown that matched my gown!
World Class Beauty Queens: This is not your first crown but this one is very special because of what it symbolizes. Tell us what does it mean to you to win this title?
I really consider this my first crown! My other international competition included an appointed title as Mrs. Jamaica, for which I received a crown and sash. But this Emerald crown was the first that was hard fought for and won by me and not appointed. This is why it means the absolute world to me! Because it was not given, it was won! My family, my parents, my cousins all flew down to Jamaica to see me crowned. I have never been prouder to be chosen People’s Choice and then as Mrs. United Nations Globe. Beyond the love of my family, is the love I found with my pageant sisters who also won crowns of different colors and titles. We continue to support and love each other and follow each other in events!
World Class Beauty Queens: Competition forges life long friendships. Which sister queen will be your friend for life?
Mrs. Asia Ambassador United Nations, Tanvi Sawant will be my friend for life. She and I bonded in a way that I cannot explain. We will be traveling to Singapore together to judge the United Nations Singapore pageant and then I will be travelling to India with her to visit her home town.
World Class Beauty Queens: What does the crown and sash symbolizes to you?
To me, the crown and sash symbolizes my thriving, not just surviving after my assault. It is my hope that it has the same symbolism for other survivors. They also symbolize success and hard work and a sense of accomplishment. It garners respect and admiration, but it is a reminder to me to always put my best foot forward.
World Class Beauty Queens: Why should every girl compete in pageants?
Competing in pageants will build your self confidence, your self esteem, your ability to speak publicly, improve the was you carry and present yourself. It will grow your sense of self, who you are, your sense of fashion, your standards for those around you. It will help you to help others and to be an ambassador for charity, kindness and caring. Having others look up to you will make you act better as a person and learn to be immune to those who judge you unfairly. I recommend this learning experience to any girl.
World Class Beauty Queens: What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind?
I hope I am a role model for healing and wholeness beyond just survival, but thriving beyond what I might have been, if I had not been assaulted.
My assault affected my life in ways I cannot explain. But, it is the reason I became a Registered Nurse, the reason I became a Counselor and Psychologist, the reason I am an advocate for survivors, the reason I speak out and continue to be a voice for the voiceless. It is the reason I decided to compete, to be a bigger, international voice for the 1 in 3 women that continue to be assaulted in her lifetime.
World Class Beauty Queens: What is the happiest memory you took with you after the competition?
After the competition, my family and I had a family reunion and vacation in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. My husband and I also renew our wedding vows on the beach surrounded by family as July is our wedding anniversary month!!!
World Class Beauty Queens Magazine would like to say thank you to Mrs United Nations Globe 2016 Peta-Gay Ledbetter for this amazing interview. Print Issue 2 purchase link. http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/1259432
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