I’m always admiring powerful, energetic, confident, and dynamic women who take pride in what they do, while being proud of their appearance, and accomplishments at the same time. That’s why Andria Hall got my attention.
With a little luck, we will be saying that we know the new Mrs. Wisconsin in a few weeks. And by mid-summer, we could be saying that we know the next Mrs. United States! On March 2, Andria Hall will grace the stage that previous Mrs. Wisconsin winners have walked, and hopefully be crowned the next Mrs. Wisconsin. If that happens, this July she will be contending for the title of Mrs. United States in Las Vegas, Nevada! Andria Hall is currently the reigning Mrs. Northshore 2013 and is prepared to walk the stage in her swimsuit, evening gown, and knock ‘em dead in the interview portion of the pageant.
For many, walking out of a dressing room in a swimsuit can be rather intimidating, so to do this in front of thousands, takes a certain kind of confidence. Andria, like me, is all about embracing the sexy, confident, mom/woman concept, and she is a role model to inspire others. Her poise and grace when I spoke with her is that of a seasoned pageant veteran; however, she competed in her first pageant ever in 2012, and claimed the crown of Mrs. Glendale!
“Last year was my very first pageant!” she stated with excitement. Unless you asked her, you would think she’s been competing in pageants for years, based on her winning confidence, contagious smile, and go-getter spirit.
Andria Hall is not just a vivacious wife and mother to four girls; she’s a burgeoning pilot, Zumba instructor, mystery shopper, and avid volunteer in her community. (Yes, I said pilot!)
When many of us think of pageants, we think of Toddlers & Tiaras, or fierce, cut-throat competition. Hall explained to me that her experience competing in pageants has been positive and amazing, contradicting the rumors we’ve all heard.
I went in thinking “I’d better keep a close eye on my dress so no one ‘accidentally spills’ something on it, or one of my shoes comes up missing!” joked Hall. Well, really, I probably would have thought the same thing with some of the negative pageant propaganda of the past in the press. But there’s no dress destruction or shoe sabotage in the realm where Andria Hall competes.
“I found the Mrs. Wisconsin pageant contestants to be some of the most amazing and kind-hearted women I have ever met. I was one of two women who were first time pageant participants, and we were welcomed with open arms, encouragement, and cheered on. Susan Jackson, the director of the Mrs. Wisconsin United States pageant, runs an amazing, fair, and stress free pageant. She is always there for you to ask questions, she soothes all of your fears and has become a wonderful friend. I can say that I am still friends and keep in touch with all of the 2012 contestants and I am looking forward to seeing them and meeting new women in March!”
Here’s the real deal about competing in some adult pageants on the local and state levels:
“To compete in the Mrs. Wisconsin United States pageant we are given a personal interview. This is where we get to meet all of the judges and they are given the opportunity to ask you questions in a private session. These questions are taken from our biographies. This portion of the pageant takes place the morning of. During the pageant we walk the stage in our swim suit and evening gown. You are asked questions on stage, and the winner is crowned…simple right? We are not required to have a talent.”
Ok, she says that she doesn’t need a talent, but I think juggling her roles of teaching Zumba, volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee and the Metropolitan Milwaukee YMCA, devoting her life to her husband and children, mystery shopping, as well as exhibiting intelligence and balancing a career could qualify as one.
Being a working mother of four plus taking out time for her husband, career, and own goals occupies a lot of Hall's time. If she claims the title of Mrs. United States, she is prepared for the travel and time commitment involved, though.
"If I am crowned Mrs. United States, I am prepared for the amazing opportunities that come with the title. I have such a supportive family and they want this for me as much if not more than I want it for myself," stated Hall. "I would love the opportunity to promote my platform of volunteerism. It is so important for our youth to understand the value of volunteering as it impacts their community."
Hall is very lucky that she has the support of her husband and daughters. She says that they are supportive of her dreams and want her to succeed. With their encouragement, she has become a Zumba and Aqua Zumba Instructor, and went back to school to get her Associates and Bachelor of Arts degrees in Business Management.
She believes in giving back to the community because a child she was a latch-key kid, and has an appreciation for what organizations like the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee and the Metropolitan Milwaukee YMCA do for children. That's why she volunteers her time there and promotes physical fitness by teaching Zumba classes for the young girls. The YMCA has also always been a part of her life and she loves the programs they have, which is why she participates in teaching exercise classes there as well.
Contrary to what you may think, Hall doesn’t go grocery shopping in her tiara and ball gown, although she sets the bar for being fabulous in your forties.
“I can be found in the grocery store wearing workout clothing of some type…my YMCA uniform or Zumba wear because I am always at one or the other! My ‘must have’ is my earphones. I love listening to my playlists or Pandora while shopping… it gives me wings!”
Hall’s wings have taken her from Michigan to Wisconsin. She was born in Grand Rapids and grew up in Kalamazoo. She later moved to Wisconsin in 2006. She has a poodle/Shih Tzu mix named Sugar, and her favorite color is green. Did I mention she’s “swexy”, too? Swexy is a fitness program started by Hall and a few of her friends. It’s all about being sexy and sweaty. (Sexy + Sweaty = Swexy!) It’s a concept for a clothing line they are just getting off the ground. “When women go to the gym, instead of wearing sweats, they can be sexy, too!” (I like it!)
Hall is very into fitness and explains how she sort of fell into it, and now is an inspiration to others who want to get fit and have fun at the same time. Her journey into looking svelte and maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle began when she heard the rhythm call to her – let me explain.
“I entered our family in the YMCA and local news station’s ‘Healthy Family Challenge’ and we were one of six families chosen to participate. We had six months to see which family changed their lifestyle the most. So my first week at the Y, I was almost 180 pounds and walking around trying to find something I would like to do. I heard the music coming out of one of the studios and got excited - something I thought I would love. I walked in, stood in the back with my oversized sweats on, and fell in love with the Latin/International music and dance moves. I found myself in every Zumba class I could find within 30 miles of my house. I couldn’t get enough! I lost 40 pounds over a year-and-a-half with a combination of Zumba, Body Combat (a kick boxing style workout), [running on a ] treadmill, and aquatics classes. After taking classes for so long, my husband encouraged me to get certified, and so I did. I love seeing the sweaty bodies and smiling faces of participants enjoying my classes, not realizing they are working as hard as they are! I just recently became certified to teach Aqua Zumba!”
If you are from Wisconsin, I’m sure you will lend your support to this lovely woman in her endeavors to claim the crown. If you are not from Wisconsin, you might be wondering why you should cheer on an out-of-state contestant for a pageant.
“I think what sets me apart from other competitors in this pageant would have to be my heart. I truly want everyone to be successful, and no matter who wins, I will be their biggest cheerleader. I am about the empowerment of women and striving to do their best. I didn’t win last year…I didn’t take home anything. Was I disappointed? Yes. Was I sad that everyone last year walked away with something tangible except me? Yes. But I walked away so proud of all of them and I was proud of myself for putting myself out there without fear.”
“As mothers I think we all share a common thread…unconditional love for our children. Mommy will always pick her baby up when they fall, clap the loudest when they succeed, and cry the hardest when they are hurt.”
Pageants like the Mrs. Wisconsin pageant are so beneficial in elevating the confidence of women, and promoting philanthropy, that Hall hopes her participation in them serves as an example to her daughters and other women, who when they strive to achieve something, can gain the well-deserved recognition for it.
“I wanted my daughters to know that you can pursue your dreams no matter what your age is. I never want them to grow up and regret not doing something they had their hearts set on. If I thought I was too old to get my degree I wouldn’t have two now. If I thought I was too old to become a fitness instructor I wouldn’t have lost the weight I have lost, and become healthier, and I would not be a Zumba instructor today. I want them to know they can try until they die. No could have, would have’s here!”
Competing in pageants is fun, too! Remember playing dress-up when you were little? It’s fun getting glam! Hall says that if her daughters decided to compete in pageants she wouldn’t discourage them for a minute.
“My girls always want mommy to be happy. They love helping me pick out gowns, play in makeup and watching my photo shoots. They are very supportive, and my youngest even cried when I did not win last year. I told her that there is always a winner and those who gave it their all…I gave it my all and that’s what matters! I encourage my girls to do what their hearts desire. If they asked to compete in pageants I would support that 100%.”
Some women enter the world of pageantry at a young age. Hall had her own reasons for doing it now.
“I decided to start competing in pageants because I am at a place in my life where I want to do things I was always afraid to do. I have always been an extremely shy person….go figure right!? I hated being in front of people or in the spotlight. As an adult, I did not want my shyness to keep me from doing what my heart wants. I am not a good spectator!”
Life is definitely not a spectator sport; and you definitely don’t want to look back on a time when you say to yourself that you “could have, would have, should have,” with regrets that you didn’t take a chance. With Hall’s new-found confidence she’s going to pursue her dream to take center stage – literally!
If you’d like to sponsor Andria Hall in the Mrs. Wisconsin 2013 pageant you can do so here.
To vote for Andria Hall in the online Mrs. Wisconsin 2013 photogenic contest, click here.
To connect with Andria on Twitter follow her @MrsNorthShore
You can also keep up with her on Facebook.