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Another chance at royalty

'Mrs. America' competition attracts
thousands of hopefuls each year

Debra Maylum
Staff Writer

(February 2005) – Every year, many hopeful women work toward a common aspiration to earn the title of Mrs. America. That’s “Mrs. America,” not “Miss America.”
Many women do not realize that this competition is an option for them. Even those who have participated in pageants for many years often think that once they are married, they must leave that part of their life behind. Such is the case for current Mrs. Kentucky, Julie Dorsey.

Julie Dorsey, Mrs. Ky

Photo Provided

Mrs. Kentucky 2004, Julie Dorsey, shares her crowning moment with her family.

After participating in pageants in college, Dorsey, 37, moved on to the next stages of her life in the same way that most women do. She has been married for 14 years and has two children – a 9-year-old daughter and a 7-year-old son. She works for Atria Senior Living Group in Louisville as the national director of financial training.
Fifteen years after her last competition, she was inspired to revisit the pageant world and compete in the Mrs. Kentucky pageant.
“I had the good fortune to sit next to Mrs. America, Kristie Phillips, on a plane while I was traveling with work,” said Dorsey. Phillips shared her story, and Dorsey, thrilled to have it as an option, went home to talk it over with her husband. Wondering where she would find the time among all of her other activities, Dorsey decided, “You find time for the things you want to do.”
The Mrs. Kentucky and Mrs. America competitions are tailored toward families. Husbands and children are encouraged to get involved. Dorsey says her husband and children, and even co-workers and extended family, have all had fun with it. Her children especially enjoy the parades, she said.
For those women who have participated in pageants as well as individuals who have not, the Mrs. Kentucky competition may have something to offer. It represents so many different things that no matter what a woman’s interests, there is a correlation.
“Many women lose their identity after becoming a wife and a mommy. It is great to be those things, but the pageant offers an opportunity for women to re-establish who (else) they are.” said Deana Cox, 42, who was offered the position of Director of Field Operations for the Mrs. Kentucky-America Organization after competing in the 2003 pageant.
Cox first became involved, with no prior experience in pageants, at age 40.
It was something new and exciting for her; an experience she says helps women remember to dream and to put themselves first sometimes. “In the Mrs. Kentucky competition, you put yourself first, and your family supports you,” said Cox.
The Mrs. America organization places emphasis on “encouraging women, empowering them and celebrating their life accomplishments,” said Dorsey. It also celebrates being married – something that Dorsey and her husband are passionate about.
As Mrs. Kentucky, Dorsey makes appearances around the state and the country. She promotes charity events, makes celebrity appearances, serves as a mentor and encourages women to stay active and passionate about the things in which they believe.
To participate in the Mrs. Kentucky competition a woman must be 18 years old. She must be married for at least six months at the time of the competition. There is no age limit for the competition. The oldest woman to compete for Mrs. Kentucky so far was 47 years old. The 2005 Mrs. Kentucky competition takes place on May 13-14. Applications will be accepted through April. First-timers need not worry; they can attend a workshop on March 20, where coaches and Dorsey will be on hand to teach all of the basics needed for the pageant.
“We are looking for real women with real life experiences,” said Dorsey. Pageant skills are secondary.

• For more information about the Mrs. Kentucky-America Competition, call Deana Cox at (502) 266-8724.

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