WOW! What an AYOP week. CONGRATS to the new 2018 College Miss Majorette of America, Adaline Bebo! We are all over the moon that the CMMOA title is coming home to Baylor University. Amazing! We will have a big recap of #teamtexas AYOP 2018 later this week, but we have a fun post to share first.
While we have been celebrating the pageantry of baton twirling, another baton twirler has been participating in pageantry of her own. As the competes this weekend, we all want to send her the best of luck and support that we can. Let's meet the 2018 World’s Miss United States Tourism Beauty, Jennifer L. Kotzur!
Current Title: World’s Miss United States Tourism Beauty 2018
Platform: Live 2 Educate: Following your dreams while overcoming adversity
Life Motto: “There is no day but today therefore live each day to the fullest and never worry about the world defining you. Just be the light that God has created you to be,” Karen Mosqueda
Jennifer is 30 years old from Stockdale, Texas. She has her undergraduate degree from the Texas A & M University-Corpus Christi and a MA in Youth Ministry from Howard Payne University. Currently she is the Co-Founder/Executive Director of Texas All-Stars Expressions, the producers of the Mary Kay Foundation Benefit Pageants, and a seasonal Edutainer at Morgan’s Wonderland. Jennifer has held many titles in her twirling years including being the Feature Twirler at Stockdale High School, Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi (as the "Island Girl"), and Howard Payne University. She has been a UIL Outstanding Soloist, Twirltacular Collegiate Miss Majorette & Grand Champion, USTA Texas Adult Strut, Dance Twirl, and 2-Baton Champion, ATF State & National Champion, 2005 Outstanding Sportsmanship Twirler, and 2006 South Texas AAU Scholar Athlete of the Year.
There have been many highlights to Jennifer's twirling career. Most notable was when she traveled to live in Australia and in 2017, her competition twirling retirement year, when she had the opportunity to represent the USA at her second WBTF international competition at the 2017 WBTF inaugural Pan Pacific Cup Championships, held in Stockton, California.
Some of the best advice she has been given as a baton twirler was related to her by Coach Ainslie Hunt, “Baton twirling is fifty percent technical, fifty percent artistic but, you cannot be afraid to tell your story and connect with the audience wherever you go.”
This weekend Jennifer is competing in the World Tourism Beauty pageant. As we are all familiar with pageants such as Miss America and Miss USA, but not familiar with the World Tourism Beauty pageant, we asked Jennifer to tell us more....
"The whole entire pageant I will be taking part in is entitled World’s Miss and Mr. Tourism Pageant. The pageant is open to contestants, male and female, ages 5 and up. In addition to age divisions, there are divisions for married women ages 18 and over, unmarried woman ages 19 and 49, ladies 50 and over, as well as the Beauty divisions for women 18 to 49 who are sizes 14w or curvier which, is the division I am competing. This year, the pageant will be held at the Maxwell House Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee July 27-29, 2018 where, the 2019 World’s Miss and Mr. Tourism will be crowned. This year, the pageant is celebrating its 20th year!"
About the World Tourism Pageant:
The World's Miss Tourism Pageant began and originated in 1998 as an online pageant, going LIVE in 2004 for our first competitive event you could attend in person. We are celebrating our many years of "LIVE" pageant events. Based in Nashville, Tennessee World's Miss Tourism Pageant Organization is an event production company specializing in Beauty Pageants. We provide self-improvement opportunities for girls and women through-out the country. We provide public speakers, entertainers and models for events through-out the world.
We are the premier personal development opportunity for girls and women through-s the World. Those who become delegates with The World's Miss Tourism Pageant gain confidence and poise through community out-reach, appearances and public events. We provide delegates a personal growth opportunity she can take with her in life.
The World's Miss Tourism Pageants will change the way you think of pageantry. By providing communities through-out the world with a meaningful alternative for girls and women to celebrate personal charity and personal growth, in support of nonprofits that strengthen our communities and promote the common good. The World's Miss Tourism Pageant Organization is currently on the path of becoming a recognized leader in pageantry, charitable contributions and personal growth.
How Jennifer won her title:
I won my title by winning a head shot photo competition the pageant organization was sponsoring last June which would allow me to represent the United States for one year and compete at this year’s International Live finals in Nashville, Tennessee July 27-29 2017.
Mandatory Competition Areas:
Weighing at an equal 25% each, the four areas of mandatory competition are- Private Interview, Evening Gown, Country/Culture costume, and Photogenic.
- Miss Broadway (aka the Dance talent competition). Jennifer will be doing a contemporary piece entitled “Take Back the Throne” from Game of Thrones and it was choreographed by Whitney King Coons. We feel the routine encompasses my journey back from recovering to being able to compete for not only Texas but, the United States.
- Miss Hollywood (aka non-dance talent competition, including baton twirling). Jennifer will be doing a multiple baton routine to the award winning song, “This Is Me” from the Greatest Showman, with the track being her vocals. "The costume I am wearing, I actually designed to embrace my theme of “Eye of the Tiger” and Living to Educate. My twirling coaches and I felt back I September This Is Me was the best song to tell my story over the past 20 years in my life and baton twirling journey".
- Wow Model
- Super model
- Fashion Model photo
- Creative Model photo
- Cover model photo
Now that we know a little more about the pageant in general, we wanted to know more about how Jennifer got into this pageant circuit and what lies ahead for her....
What made you pursue competing in this pageant?
"Upon retiring from competition baton twirling, I had longed to discover a way to still continue competing despite and showcase to the world that no illness, like Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, can keep the inner athlete in me from continuing to being able to thrive. I knew in competing in pageant, I wanted to compete in a system that was natural and focused on volunteerism, platform, mentoring, and a system that would provide opportunities that I may not have outside of the networks I already have. Jokingly, my pageant coach Spruce Dickerson will tell you that when I turned 29 last year she issued me a challenge of getting out of my comfort zone, leveling up in the pageant world, and for my 30th birthday be thirty and thriving because I really did have a voice the world should hear and story that needed to be told."
How would you say Baton twirling has helped you in your pageant journey?
"I feel the sport of baton twirling taught me so much about being a professional, a performer, an athlete, a competitor, in addition to be able to network and socialize with likeminded individuals and helping me get out of my comfort zone. More so, I feel the sport has helped me in my pageant journey to continue developing my poise, femininity, communication skills, and being able to balance the pressure of stressful competition, especially when events tend to be close together. Baton twirling has allowed me to take my passion for living life, no matter what storms we most endure, be tenacious, and continue preserve in all aspects. Once a competitor, always a competitor."
What is your platform and why did you choose it?
"My platform is #Live2Educate: Following your dreams. I chose this particular platform because it is my reality and the journey I am traveling. Despite living each day with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, a blood disorder, anemia, dyslexia, and most recently surviving a being “T-boned” in a car accident back in November of last year which, caused me not only have physical injuries but, to endure a traumatic brain injury. While I was released physically after 8 months of physical therapy and I have a long way to go cognitively, I am reminded daily that we have no day but today and each day is a gift therefore, we must strive to do our best, not let the world or any aliments define you, and know that you have the power within you to let your light shine brighter than any star to achieve your dreams. However, we just have to have a little faith and be patient."
"I feel my platform is impactive because each of us have our own adversities in life we are training to overcome and dreams we want to achieve but, often might have the difficulty of seeing it is possible. Through role modeling, mentorship, and inspiring, we can help exhibit towards one and other that no matter what we are battling in life, we are about living and we can educate each other about our struggles, adversities, etc. Naturally, we are able to grow and learn together."
What has been the most rewarding moment as your current title holder?
"During my reign over the past year, there have been so many incredible experiences and rewarding moments. The most rewarding has been being able to live out my platform while being able to fulfill the charitable obligation of my title. Having the opportunity to team up with both the San Antonio Stars and the San Antonio Rampage to hold 2 benefit pageants for the Mary Kay Foundation, taking a vision and dream, and being able to help promote women’s cancer research and awareness and domestic violence awareness within in my local community as well as on a national level. To help inspire others see that no matter how tedious and stressful the development and planning of an idea or dream can be, do not ever give up or think it is not worth pursuing. All it takes is just one person believing in your vision and a team to help stand behind your vision to see great things happen."
What has been the hardest part about competing in this pageant?
"In all honesty there have been 2 areas in my life that I found to be the hardest part about competing in this pageant. I have had to learn to balance my professional life, personal life, and social life with the expectations of my title by completing the mandatory appearances and community service hours on top of making sure I get the much-needed pageant training, talent training, and wardrobe fittings in. Secondly, when I had my car accident in November, it felt like my life was turned upside down, more than just the 3 and a half time I was spun around in the car I was driving. Having to focus on allowing my body to heal, learning to work on my speech, memory, and even relearning how to properly walk and twirl has not exactly been the easiest. Thankfully, I have had an incredible team consisting of my parents, some of my family and dear friends, medical professional, twirling coaches, and pageant coach constantly reminding me of the champion and warrior that is within me and that yes, I do have the Eye of the Tiger. (Eye of the Tiger is a phrase I often associate with my platform and my mantra in life.)"
What advice would you have for other twirlers thinking about going the pageant route?
"Even if you have been told, “You will never be Miss USA or Miss America so don’t even think about competing in pageants because of your size and abilities,” do not let that stop you. There are so many other systems out there outside of the Miss America Organization and Miss Universe/Miss USA organizations. I, personally, never had the opportunity to compete in either system because God has blessed me with curves and now I have aged out of the MAO, though I respect both organizations because of their scholarship and leadership opportunities they present to young women, therefore, I felt I had to find a system that was a good fit for my stature, my beliefs, my values, my personality, and was not semi-glitz or glitz but, natural."
"I encourage any twirler, young or old in age, who have ever had the desires to compete, to start looking into the different systems out there and get a feel for where their personal interests will be best suited for. Competing in pageants help get you out of your comfort zone, provide new experiences, and help put your competitive drive to the test in a different aspect. More so, if a twirler finds his or herself in a situation that would cause them to stop competition, there are positive alternative means to take their talents and be used in a competitive realm."
Any fun or interesting stories or side notes you would like to add?
"As I have been on my journey this past year, I have been able to experience so much growth and learn more about myself than I have since I got to study aboard at Notre Dame Australia in Sydney in 2013. One thing is for certain, I have realized even when it seems like the world will tell me “no” or “you do not belong in this world,” that does not define me as a person, my talents, my abilities, and my ability to serve my state, country, or even world. If I could tell the 14-year-old me who was told, “You’ll never amount to anything as a twirler so I do not see why you are wasting your time. Maybe being the mascot is the best thing for you.” I would tell her, “Do not let the words of one person or the thoughts of one small town keep you in a box, you WILL soar and take flight even if it is later in life.” I can only hope that as I share my story, another small-town girl will know that you don’t ever stop believing in yourself, your dreams and visions, and the calling that is been planted in your heart."
If you want to follow more of Jennifer's journey to and after the pageant, you can find her on Instagram and Twitter @TheOriginalJKo, or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Live2Educate. For more information on this pageant circuit, visit www.worldsmisstourismpageant.com.
We hope you have enjoyed this blog post. We are always looking for great new stories about Texas twirlers. Do you have an idea or some information we could use to help highlight our sport? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we would love to hear more about it.