Occupation: Wedding planner, owner of The Finishing Touch
Family: Husband, Eddie and two daughters, Brooklynn, 8, and Bentley, 6
Education: Graduate of Girls Preparatory School, bachelor’s degree in communication from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, master’s degree in business administration from Columbia Southern University in Gulf Shores, Ala.
It's been 15 years since Trinity Garner Pearson competed in a beauty pageant. But last fall, when she decided she wanted to walk a runway again, she lost 40 pounds, hired a pageant coach in Texas and entered Mrs. Tennessee. She placed second runner-up in her comeback pageant.
Next week, the Hixson resident will compete in Mrs. United States, wearing the crown of Mrs. Mississippi. The national pageant at South Point Resort in Las Vegas starts Sunday with the winner being crowned July 24. Rachael Neudecker of Lakeland, Tenn., is this state's representative.
Pearson gave a preview of her pageant prep along with how a mom in Hixson won a crown in Mississippi.
Q. What are some of the titles you won before marrying and having your daughters?
A. I was Chattanooga Junior Miss in 1994. I was second runner-up in Miss Tennessee Teen USA. I competed in Miss Tennessee preliminaries all through college. I was Top 10 in Miss Tennessee 1998 when I was Miss Volunteer.
Q. How did you win the Mrs. Mississippi title?
A. Some states still have pageants, but the majority of them don't at this level. They allow you to apply as an at-large candidate, meaning you don't have to live in that state to represent it. They take all the applications and pictures and choose a state winner. There is no fee to apply.
Q. Is there a prize with the title of Mrs. Mississippi?
A. No, just the sash, crown and being the representative to the national program. I pay my own expenses to Mrs. United States. The winner of Mrs. United States gets a cash prize, title and travels across the country to speaking engagements with her expenses paid.
Q. How did you prepare to re-enter pageants?
A. When I decided to get back into this, I needed some motivation to get back in the gym. Since I started training last fall, I have lost 40 pounds. I hired a pageant coach in Houston, who has been helping me with my interview skills. We Skype.
From being in Mrs. Tennessee, I learned to be real with the judges, share my story and let them get to know me, not try to say what I think they want to hear.
Q. What are contestants judged on at Mrs. United States, and what ages are eligible?
A. The requirement is that you be 21 and married. I've looked at this year's contestants and they appear to range from 21 to 60. Contestants are judged in swimsuit, talent and interview. The top 10 have an onstage question. You can have a platform, but it's not required. I'll talk about my experience with melanoma, using it to raise cancer awareness and prevention.
Susan Palmer Pierce is a reporter and columnist in the Life department. She began her journalism career as a summer employee 1972 for the News Free Press, typing bridal announcements and photo captions. She became a full-time employee in 1980, working her way up to feature writer, then special sections editor, then Lifestyle editor in 1995 until the merge of the NFP and Times in 1999. She was honored with the 2007 Chattanooga Woman of ...