Photo by Georgina Vaughan Photography
Beauty pageants have given women the opportunity to acknowledge their beauty, knowledge, and skills all around the world. I caught up with Stephanie Barrett, who is the current reigning Mrs. Nevada. Stephanie won Mrs. Nevada-America Pageant after entering the competition as Mrs. Clark County. She placed first in a field of 15 competitors, topping the final five of Mrs. Henderson, Mrs. Spring Valley, Mrs. Douglas County, and Mrs. Downtown Summerlin.
Stephanie gives us an insight into the exciting world of being Mrs. Nevada-America. Here are her answers.
Q: Can you give us a little bio about yourself?
My name is Stephanie Barrett. I am a wife, mother, career woman, model, and the current Mrs. Nevada-America. Seven years ago, I married the man of my dreams, Adam, and have since had three incredible children, Cash, Paisley, and Taj. I am currently a Senior Business Analyst at Scientific Games Corporation and fortunate enough to be surrounded by some of the brightest minds in the gaming industry. When I am not working, you can f ind me hanging out with my family, active in my community, or modeling as time allows.
Q: How does it feel to be Mrs. Nevada 2017?
Being Mrs. Nevada has been the experience of a lifetime. I have had opportunities that people only dream of. Some of my favorite experiences as Mrs. Nevada include: volunteering with my family at The Ronald McDonald House in Rome, Italy, dreaming up dress ideas with my husband and best friend to send to my dress designers, Elizabeth Calderon and Debbie Carrol, meeting so many incredible people, and having my family by my side supporting me on this crazy journey. When you give back in your community, you think that you are making an impact, but what you realize is it’s you who is most impacted.
Q: How does your family life play into all of this?
I feel like the luckiest person in the world to have such a supportive and amazing family! Nearly everything I do involves my family. Whether its sponsor meetings with my husband, community service with my family, or wardrobe discussions, my family is involved every step of the way.
I think being Mrs. Nevada is an incredible opportunity and period of growth, not only for me, but also for my family. I hope to teach my children the importance of giving back and knowing that doing the little things can bring the brightest smiles to someone’s darkest days. I hope these “little things” become so natural to them that it becomes who they are as people. Being involved in the community together has brought us closer as a family. We have been able to experience this life-changing journey together.
Another interesting thing about my husband’s involvement in the pageant experience is that he is the first person I bounce ideas from. I especially love talking with him about wardrobe! He has an incredible eye for fashion and is not afraid to give me his honest opinion. Some of my custom dresses started with an idea from him. I have loved having my husband by my side throughout my reign as Mrs. Nevada. I am grateful for his willingness to help me with whatever I need.
Q: What does your typical day consist of?
A typical day for me includes a full day of work at Scientific Games, where I am constantly learning and growing. My career has blossomed there. I am grateful to have such an incredible support system at work, full of wonderful managers. I appreciate my boss and CFO, who inspire me daily and truly care about all aspects of each of their employee’s lives. On my lunch, I try to do some sort of community service, wardrobe fitting, interview prep, or attend sponsor meetings. I do this on my lunch so I can spend my evenings with the people who matter the most to me: my family! Now, the people at my company know that when I am dressed up, I usually have some sort of event or meeting for Mrs. Nevada that day.
In the evening, I am found attending my children’s athletic endeavors, family dinners, baking with my children, an occasional date night, and of course playing basketball in our house. We have a full-sized basketball hoop in our entry way that is played on constantly. Our house doesn’t seem normal without basketballs constantly bouncing and extra kids over to play. I always want my children to remember a home full of love, laughter, and good food.
Q: How do you plan your wardrobe for pageants?
One of the most exciting and glamorous parts about pageantry is fashion. You have a chance to express yourself and show a little bit more about who you are through what you wear. As I prepared to compete for Mrs. America, I had numerous dresses made from two local designers, Elizabeth Calderon and Debbie Carrol. Living in Las Vegas has countless benefits. One of the greatest rewards is being able to work with two of the best designers in the country. My husband (Adam), director (Jackie McKenna), and pageant coach/hair stylist/friend (Kristie Jelinsky), were constantly sending each other ideas of different dresses for inspiration. We really tried to channel the high fashion, Jackie-O, Victoria Beckham, classic, elegant look while highlighting my height through unique lengths and sleek fits. I would send pictures to my two dress designers, Elizabeth Calderon and Debbie Carrol and let them run with ideas to create the most elegant and creative dresses. If you have seen any photos throughout my week at Mrs. America, you know they did not disappoint and created a perfect wardrobe for me. Elizabeth Calderon created my white competition dress along with other dresses I wore throughout the week, including the blush pink leaf sleeve dress, which was one of my favorites. Debbie Carrol created my sophisticated interview dress and my pre/post-pageant dresses I wore to our after party, which was catered by a new local hotspot, Plantone’s Italian Market, and delicious desserts from Nothing Bundt Cakes. I also had a few extra stunning pieces that I borrowed from Kristie Jelinsky and Amanda Kouretas (two Las Vegas fashion icons with the most incredible wardrobes and closets you will ever see).
During Mrs. America, I had booked an extra room at the host hotel, the Westgate. Any downtime I had was spent with my husband and Kristie going over the next wardrobe change. We had the best time putting pieces together with coordinating jewelry to ensure that each outfit was something that not only represented me, but would also have a serious “wow” factor. I remember numerous contestants tell me that they were on the edge of their seats, waiting for me to arrive to see what I was wearing. I changed my outfit and hair styles every opportunity I could. It was fun to wear so many unique wardrobe pieces and different hairstyles throughout the week.
Q: Do you think dressing the part plays a key role in winning?
I love the saying “Dress for the job you want, not the job that you have.” Dressing the part doesn’t necessarily mean that you will win, but it does mean you will look and feel incredible. It puts you on the path towards success. It is interesting how fashion really shapes how you feel, which directly translates into your attitude. Elizabeth Calderon, Debbie Carrol, and Kristie Jelinsky helped create an incredible wardrobe that left me feeling my best all week. I was at ease knowing I didn’t have to worry or think twice about what I was going to wear because every piece was somehow better than the last! I really couldn’t go wrong.
Q: What has becoming Mrs. Nevada thought you along the way?
Becoming Mrs. Nevada has taught me so much about myself and the incredible Las Vegas community. I have realized that more times than not, people and companies want to give back and be involved, they just don’t always know how to do that. I have had so many wonderful sponsors along the way that have donated so much of their time and resources to enhance my experience and make a difference throughout the Las Vegas community. I feel so fortunate to have them all on this journey with me.
Q: What advice would you give to future pageant contestants from experience?
Competing in a pageant can be one of the greatest experiences of your life. You get out of it what you put into it. Get out in the community as much as you can with your friends and family and get involved. This truly is a once in a lifetime opportunity that can change your life. Live in the moment and make every moment count. And most importantly, thank those who have helped you along the way, because there are so many people behind the scenes who make everything possible.
Q: What was it like to compete for Mrs. America this August here in Las Vegas?
Competing in my home town of Las Vegas and in front of 70 of my favorite people was an absolute dream come true. When I made my final walk from my hotel room to the Showroom, I saw hundreds of people lined up at the door. I was wondering where my group of supporters were. I should have known, of course they were in the front of the line. They had been there 4 hours before the pageant even started, making sure they had seats right behind the judges. When I was up on stage during the pageant, not only could I hear the loudest support group there, I could see them sitting front and center. They had red, white, and blue glow sticks, posters of “Crown Our Mom” made by Cash, Paisley, and Taj, and large blown up pictures of me. I was fortunate to have the most incredible support system of family, friends, and sponsors surrounding me.
Unfortunately, I didn’t become Mrs. America 2018. My team and I gave it everything we had, finishing in the Top 6. It was heart breaking as I was hoping to become the first Mrs. Nevada to be crowned Mrs. America. Although I didn’t win the title, I still hold the most important titles of wife, mother, community servant, and Mrs. Nevada 2017. As the door for Mrs. America closed, so many more have already opened. I look forward to sharing those opportunities with my family. You can follow me on social media,
Instagram: @MrsNevadaAmerica @stephybarr
Facebook: Mrs. Nevada-America Pageant
Q: What are some things you do actively with your community?
In 2014, my three-month-old, Taj, was admitted to Children’s Hospital due to respiratory issues. My family became residents of the Ronald McDonald House on and off for the next six months while Taj received critical medical treatment. This experience inspired me to give back to the Ronald McDonald House – an organization that once gave so much to my family during our time of need. The Ronald McDonald house is the center of a lot of my community service, including donating kitchen appliances, Easter baskets, home-cooked meals, freshly baked cookies, collecting money for scholarship funds, speaking and running at the 5k event, and serving at the Ronald McDonald House in Rome during a family vacation. I hope to leave a legacy of positivity and show that giving back can be a fun, uplifting family affair.
I truly loved every moment of this experience and am so grateful that the Marmels (David Marmel is the president of Mrs. America Inc.) made this all possible and have been celebrating married women across the country for the last 40-plus years.
They put together such a fun-packed week that I wish I could relive again. The Westgate here in Las Vegas was the host hotel. The staff could not have been friendlier, the rooms couldn’t have been nicer, and the food could not have been better. Thank you to the Westgate Las Vegas for everything.
One of my favorite parts of this pageant experience was meeting all these incredible women. I know that I made so many lifelong friends and look forward to watching their lives continue to blossom. Each of these women have made a profound impact on my life and I have loved learning from them throughout the week.
Any married women over the age of 18 can apply at www.MrsNevadaAmerica.com.
You won’t regret it!