There's no question that Melissa Smith is a very busy young woman. Besides her most important duties as mother and wife, the Tyler County native and current college student is also the current holder of the prestigious title of Mrs. West Virginia United States.
Smith will have the chance to vie for the crown of Mrs. United States next week when she heads to Las Vegas for the Mrs. United States pageant, held the week of July 20. Smith will be participating in events with representatives from other states during this time.
"I've never been to Vegas. I'm excited about just seeing Vegas and experiencing the atmosphere and the lights," Smith said, adding, "We will also be going to the Grand Canyon."
Melissa Smith will compete for Mrs. United States next week in Las Vegas.
For updates on the pageant and even possibly live streaming, check out www.mrsunitedstates.com or Smith's Facebook, Mrs West Virginia United States.
Although Smith was 15 when she started participating in pageants, Mrs. West Virginia United States is a bit different than pageants of the past. "I've been able to share this experience with my family," she notes. "It's not just Melissa Smith. It's my husband my children," she states, joking that she likes to refer to her husband as Mr. West Virginia. Smith's two children, Erickson and Eli, are six months and two years old, respectively.
The Mrs. United States pageant's website, accessible at www.mrsunitedstates.com, describes the pageant as "no ordinary beauty pageant."
"We believe that married women should be recognized for their ability to integrate intellect and beauty," the site said.
This is definitely true of Smith, who is hoping to receive her Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education from West Virginia University this fall, graduating with honors as a Kappa Delta Pi member. Besides these educational pursuits, Smith also has charitable interests as well.
She is the founder of "Crowns for a Cause," a fundraising organization supporting individuals facing adversity. Smith adds that she'd like to see the charity grow to a state-wide interest.
Smith has also visited various schools throughout the state, along with the Ronald McDonald House and WVU Children's Hospital, and has participated in March of Dimes throughout her reign as Mrs. West Virginia United States.
When it is noted how busy she is, Smith agrees, stating that the last two weeks has been crazy. When asked how many hours she works per week in preparation for the pageant, Smith estimates the hours to be in the 30 to 40 range, adding that even when at home, she multitasks, making phone calls while cleaning the house. However, Smith likes her job and likes the challenge: "I'm a person who likes to be challenged," she states. "I think I enjoy always having something to do. I think being organized is the key to being successful, and I think that's helped me to get to where I am, along with the support of family as well."
The support of her family does not end at the state's borders either, as Smith has a large group accompanying her on her trip to Vegas this week. Smith is conscientious about mentioning those who have and are supporting her, making sure she makes specific mention of each person.
"I would also like to thank those who are accompanying me to Vegas," she states, "including my husband, Joe; my parents, Terry and Teresa Jackson, my grandparents, Ernie and Karen Helmick; my aunt, Lisa Jackson; my aunt and uncle, Larry and Ann Helmick; and friends, Roger and Chanda Spragg."
Likewise, Smith stresses the importance of her sponsors, even worrying that she might forget to mention one of them. These businesses and people include the following: Island Operating, Cindy Baxter of Studio C, Infinity Fitness of Sistersville, Kristy's Shear Joy, Zambito Family Dentistry, Calico Gals, Oliverio's Bridal of Clarksburg, Pageant Associates, Complete Physique, along with Smith's family and friends with extended thanks to Pam Farhatt, Andy Weekley, Hoppy Hopkins, the Haught reunion, Uncle Blaine Smith, Aunt Linda Baker, Aunt and Uncle Tricia and Doug Long, as well as Smith's parents.
When asked where she would like to see herself in the future, after she takes off her crown for the last time, Smith seems to have a plan in place: "I hope to have a job as a fourth grade teacher, possibly another child . . . Still doing Crowns for a Cause, and always giving to my community while raising my children and enjoying life with my husband."
And as for her present state as a representative and role model for the state of West Virginia, Smith says that she likes to paint a positive picture of where she's from. "Living in West Virginia, there are so many stereotypes," she says, but adds: "I feel like as being the state ambassador, I do a good job at always portraying the positive traits we West Virginians have."
"I look forward to representing all of West Virginia in Vegas."