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Dexter woman crowned Mrs. Missouri
DEXTER, Mo. -- Ashley Mosier had no intentions of competing in a pageant after she lost her mother to cancer in November 2007. The love of pageants was something that she and her mother, the late Elaine Pursell, shared.
"Pageants were something that we both loved, and it was the number one thing that we bonded over," Mosier said from her Dexter home.
Elaine Pursell was a well-known figure in the community and served as advertising manager for the Daily Statesman until a cancer diagnosis claimed her life following a long battle.
After witnessing Dexter's McKenzie Mitchell compete for the Miss Missouri Teen USA title last November, Mosier made a decision that would serve to change her life.
"I got bitten by the pageant bug again," she said, "and I asked a few close friends for their support if I was to compete for the Mrs. Missouri title."
With that committed support and a strong determination to "get in shape" both emotionally and physically, Mosier began preparing for the competition to be held in May 2012 in St. Joseph, Mo., at the historic Missouri Theater.
"I joined the gym and started preparing," she said. "I had never really worked out in my life, and within two months, I became a gym rat."
Mosier said she quickly became addicted to physical fitness. She worked out with a personal trainer three days a week and totally changed her eating habits. Having given birth to her second son not long before her decision was made to compete, she had some weight from the pregnancy to get rid of, and was diligent in achieving her goal of getting herself back into 'pre-baby' condition.
It didn't take her long. She soon shed 10 percent of her body fat and was a slim 20 pounds lighter than when she began her physical fitness journey.
With the help of those close friends who vowed to remain committed to her efforts, a wardrobe was selected and practice interview sessions were conducted.
Interviews were held on the morning of the pageant. When the stage competition began, Mosier was part of the opening dance number, followed by swimsuit and evening gown competitions. The field was then narrowed down to three.
"I was extremely excited when my name was called for the top three," she said. "However, that mean that I had to answer three final on-stage questions, which made me beyond nervous!"
Serving to calm those nerves, though, was a little six-year-old in the audience who called out, "Go, Mommy!" and held a sign he had designed himself for his mother on notebook paper that read, "My mommy is a winner...Love, Landon and Jett."
Through the course of the pageant, one woman was selected as Miss Congeniality. When that name was read, Ashley Mosier came forward and accepted the honor with delight.
"I was very pleasantly surprised," she said. "That was enough for me. I could have gone home right then feeling like the queen."
In the end, Ashley was named first runner-up, with Aquilla Vang from Waynesville, Mo., taking the title of Mrs. Missouri.
The Mrs. United States Pageant was held in July, and when Ashley heard the news at midnight on the night of the competition that Aquilla Vang had taken the national title, she was thrilled.
"I was so excited for her, and it made me feel great that the girl who I was first runner-up to ended up taking it all. But it never registered with me that I was next in line for the crown."
It was three weeks later when Mosier received a phone call from the pageant's director asking if she'd be interested in taking over the title of Mrs. Missouri. In early September, she was officially crowned in Kansas City to carry on the title of Mrs. Missouri through March 2013.
As Mrs. Missouri, Mosier travels across the state, representing married women in what she says is "the way they should be represented."
More importantly, she says, she is able to promote her platform. Following the death of her mother, Mosier began volunteering her time with the American Cancer Society's Look Better...Feel Better program. As a volunteer cosmetologist, she facilitates patient workshops with four to eight female cancer patients per seminar.
"Typically, these women are in treatment, receiving chemotherapy or radiation. Others are just about to begin treatment, and some have completed their treatment."
The women are supplied with a kit of facial care items including makeup. Mosier presents them with a 12-step skin care and makeup routine. She also gives the patients a nail presentation and demonstrates methods of caring for wigs, should they need to do so following chemotherapy.