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  • Writer's picturesaraamandapeterson

My Friend Tina - Now it's her time to SHINE!

Updated: Jun 9, 2022

In my last blog post, I shared part of a new chapter in my life’s journey. As women of a certain age, we find ourselves changing course or taking new opportunities, and in most cases, something or someone inspired us to take that chance. That is why it is so important for women to support each other and learn from each other’s journeys and experiences. Shining the light on those who have impacted us profoundly is a great way to express support. So, one amazing woman I would like to shine the light on is Tina.

Just over a year ago, when I first got into pageantry, I met Tina. Tina and I were both competing in the Ms. Woman United States division. As this was my first national pageant and only my second pageant, I can tell you that my nerves were quite high. I felt so out of place and was sure that every other woman there was not nervous or scared. Tina, I thought at first, proved my point: in walked this beautiful woman who carried herself with such grace and poise. She seemed so confident and comfortable, and I was convinced that she had been doing pageants her whole life, or at least for some time now. We did not talk the first time I saw her, but a few hours later, while we were standing in rehearsals together, we started talking.

We were backstage when she shared with me as she grabbed my hand that she was nervous as this was her first national pageant. This came as a surprise to me; oddly, it made me feel better that I was not alone in the feelings I was having. Smiling in understanding, I told her that she hides it well, and we became good friends ever since. Living many states apart, we do not get to visit in person; however, we do keep track of each other on social media.

I want to take some time and share Tina’s story as I feel that many of us will be able to relate. Sit back, grab a glass of wine or a cup of hot chocolate, and be prepared to be inspired by her story and the journey she is on in this chapter of her life.

Growing up in a very abusive home, Tina rescued herself by getting out of that environment; however, she ended up on the streets at only 15 years of age. Throughout this challenging time and many other difficult situations along the way, she shared that it was her faith that gets her through and drives who she is. The lesson here is that it does not matter where you come from or what you have or are going through, you can be who you want to be and never stop no matter what. Ultimately, it was Tina’s unwavering faith that carried her through times of adversity.

Now in her 50s, she is one of the strongest women I know. Her dedication to volunteering and giving back to communities across the country is extraordinary. When I first discovered Tina’s social media, I was delighted to see so many posts of her participation in many magnificent events and activities that focused on taking care of her community and those who are less fortunate. Understanding firsthand what it is like to be homeless, she has dedicated many years to give back.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, she had spent 18 years volunteering for an elderly hosting chapel and cutting and styling hair. She is also an entrepreneur, owning and operating salons in Michigan, Texas, and Florida. She is currently finishing her master’s in divinity and is a licensed minister. Furthermore, she is entertaining the idea of authoring a book to share her story—though I will not give away the title at this time, so stay tuned to find out!

So, with all that going on her in her life, why pageantry? Let me tell you that story. Just a little over a year ago, Tina was asked why she was not competing in pageants and that she should try it. She had been behind the scenes on several occasions styling hair for photoshoots, the 2019 Jonathan Kayne shoots, and pageants. On one occasion, she was asked to try on dresses in the “queens’ room” of one of the directors, and as we all know, donning such amazing gowns is definitely hooking. Tina stated getting the changes to learn from behind the scenes and meeting so many amazing women along the way that when she was asked, she exclaimed, “Oh my gosh, I was so surprised that anyone would ask me, I didn’t know anything about what to do, but I was going to do it. It was such an honor having been asked.” She went on to say that her whole experience has been breathtaking. The women in the group have all been so supportive of each other, going through the walking patterns together, helping each other with zippers, and just holding each other’s hands when the nerves were overwhelming. That is what sisterhood is all about. An environment of generous love surrounds them, and it is heartwarming to be around those women.

For those who have not been in pageantry, you may not be aware of all that goes into preparation—it requires much work. Pageantry does not just revolve around wardrobe selection or even the walking patterns; more importantly, it thrives on the participants’ commitment and drives personal growth. Tina explained that she had not shared her story much before. As she prepared to share her personal platform promise (PPP), she found herself growing and learning to be open to being vulnerable. Women can be afraid to step out, and they feel alone until they hear someone else’s story and how they made it through, allowing themselves to take that step or leap in some cases. “Every day is a gift, you don’t know what life will bring, so rejoice in the time you have.”

Tina’s mission in life is to bring people closer to God with her actions as examples and spread the word. She finds that through her work, people are drawn to her, so she can help guide them and show them that they can survive and overcome their struggles as well. In doing so, she can help them realize that they can thrive and do what they desire with love and goodness.

I hope that this post inspires you. Ultimately, Tina’s story is a testament that no matter what chapter you are going through in your life, you need to keep growing and learning. Believe in yourself and your capabilities. Take a deep breath and go for it!

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