Dr. Stephanie Mills of Crossroads Chiropractic, better known to her loyal patients and radio listeners everywhere as Dr. Stephanie, was named Ms. America 2014 on Aug. 9 after a pageant in Brea, Calif. We figured that seemed like a pretty great reason to catch up with her.
How did you get involved in the Ms. America 2014 Pageant?
Well, I was looking for a pageant that adult women could compete in, and actually, I found it online and read about it, and it’s really geared toward community service and celebrating women. I felt like it was a good fit for me, so I entered. That was four years ago, so I actually won on my fourth try (since) I’ve competed in the pageant every year for the past four years.
What was that experience over the past four years like? Did you gain more experience from each pageant?
Absolutely! I gained experience and confidence competing each year. I also made friends with some of the states that were there, and some of them came back so it almost became a reunion going back each year. I looked forward to seeing the people I’ve met before, including the staff and the volunteers. It was really quite a fun little getaway from New Hampshire for the week.
Were there any favorite memories from this pageant that comes to mind?
From this past pageant? Hmm, well this year we did a gift exchange, so each contestant from each state brought a different gift along for all the others. So, one of my favorite memories was from the first night we got there, we did our gift exchange. We all circled around and explained what we brought for a gift. It was a great way to get to know the newer contestants and share something from home. The gift that I brought was chocolate form the Lindt Chocolate Factory.
What was your immediate reaction to winning?
I was shaking I was so excited. I could hear my daughter, my older daughter was there, screaming in the audience yelling ‘Go Mom! You won!’ It was really surreal.
Were you surprised that you won?
I was definitely surprised after having competed three times. I knew that I should place in the top five, but I definitely didn’t expect to win.
What kind of specific duties do you have as Ms. America 2014?
Well, I am promoting my platform, which is increasing concussion awareness, so making appearances to promote the awareness of concussions. My daughter suffered a pretty severe concussion last March, which is still affecting her now, so raising awareness about how difficult a head injury can be. I’m also making appearances on the West Coast, because the pageant is in California, for volunteer works and various events.
Is there any part of those duties you’re looking forward to the most?
I’m looking forward to just soaking it all in. I only get one year and I know that the year is going to go by really quickly. I’m trying to take advantage of as many opportunities as Ms. America 2014 that I can.
What was your schedule like during the competition?
Well, it was mostly rehearsals morning, noon, and night. Then, since there was only one competition and no preliminaries, it was up early and just, go, go, go the day of the competition.
You mentioned earlier that you made a lot of friends over the past four years. Does that mean it was more of a friendly atmosphere than a competitive one?
Yes, definitely! We were a group of contestants that bonded. Everyone was really friendly and open. Some women were recently porced, some had recently had babies. I think as women, we all share so much in common, especially as adult women, all of us being over the age of 26. I think there was less cattiness and less selfish behavior, just really a great group of women.
What made you keep coming back to these pageants?
You know, each year I was sad that it was over. Not because I didn’t win, but because the weekend was over and the preparation leading up to it was over. It really was a lot of fun to get ready to compete in a pageant. There are certain aspects of it, such as encouraging you to go to the gym. When you’ve got a deadline to be fit for something, it’s much easier to say no to that ice cream or say yes to getting to the gym even though you feel tired that night. That makes it sad to leave once the weekend’s over. So the past three years, I’ve said to myself, “Well, I didn’t win this year, so that means I can come back again and do it again next year.” And I did, and it paid off.
Did you ever get back into a chiropractor’s state of mind where you were checking out the postures of other women or think about realignments?
Absolutely! My chiropractor state of mind stays with me. There was one contestant who was having issues with her neck and I was able to give her advice, but because I’m not licensed in California, I didn’t adjust her. But I’m hoping that when she returned home she was able to find a chiropractor.
You must wear the crown and sash into work nowadays, right?
I have never worn the crown and sash into work!
If you had some tips for us to get the ‘Insider’ pageant-ready, what would they be?
If you were interested in becoming a contestant, the first thing you would do would be to go to the website (msamericapageant.com) and read about the different phases of competition. So, I would look at those different phases and figure out if they were things I was confident doing or could become confident doing. Then contact the director for more entry information.
If you weren’t a pageant champion or a chiropractor, what would you be doing right now?
Well before I switched to becoming a chiropractor, I was a Latin major in college, so I would probably be a Latin professor right now if I hadn’t switched to being a chiropractor.