Noelle Beauchamp on Beauty Pageants & Helping Disabled Children
Jun 29, 2017 06:41AM
● By Melanie Heisinger
From Runway to Classroom
By Kerry Pipes
Twenty-six year-old Noelle Beauchamp is a self-professed “Florida girl” and “tomboy” who grew up in the Sunshine State enjoying all of the water-based outdoor activities it has to offer. But a chance meeting with Miss Florida when Beauchamp was 21 changed everything. In the last five years, she’s competed in Miss Florida and Miss Texas pageants, and, after moving to Texas last year, is now a special education teacher at Mansfield’s Gideon Elementary School.
Beauchamp has volunteered with all kinds of groups and organizations in her young life – primarily to assist kids with disabilities. She’s even traveled as far as Chile and Spain to satisfy her philanthropic longings, and is headed to Australia and New Zealand this summer.
We had a chance to ask her about the world of beauty pageants and helping kids with special needs. Here’s what she said.
How did you get involved in beauty pageants? It was a total fluke, I kind of just stumbled into it. I didn’t grow up doing them, I was a “tomboy” and had no desire to wear a dress and brush my hair (ha-ha). It started when I was part of an organization called Hernando de Soto Society in Manatee County, Florida, where I was chosen Princess for the year 2011-2012 based on my community service hours (I had over 500 hours). During your year you travel all over the country educating different communities on the culture and heritage of Hernando de Soto, who discovered Bradenton, Florida. At the time I was already 21 and we had a function where Miss Florida for the Miss America organization was presenting. She and I became friends and she told me I should think about competing.
Since I am not really the “cookie cutter” pageant girl and had never even done a local pageant, I just thought she was being friendly and I didn’t think anymore about it. The next week I got a call from one of my directors who said that the Miss Florida Organization called him asking about me and for me to compete.
I decided to go for it that next summer and ended up winning my first pageant for Miss Manatee County and competed in the Miss Florida competition in 2013. After I moved to Texas in 2016, the Miss USA organization invited me to compete this past September as the representative for Miss Mansfield. So again, I said why not and went for it!
How long have you been doing this? Since 2011 but I have only competed in three pageants, the Miss Manatee County; Miss Florida for the Miss America Organization; and Miss Texas for the Miss USA organization.
What awards have you won? I won The Miss Hernando De Soto Princess and received $7,000 towards my education; Bradenton’s Ambassador; Miss Manatee County ($1,000 towards continuing education); and Miss Mansfield.
What was travel like for this? Where and how often? I traveled to about five different states, England and Spain for the Hernando De Soto. I was in college at the time I did Miss Florida and I had to drive back and forth after work and school for training four days a week with a two-hour commute. For Miss Mansfield, I was working over 60 hours a week so I had to squeeze in training after work or before each day. We had to travel to Houston for the Miss Texas Competition.
What kind of expenses/investments is required for these pageants? It depends on what system. For the Miss America competition you have to have three different outfits. An evening gown for the evening wear competition, a talent outfit for the talent portion and a bathing suit for swimwear competition. Sometimes this can be sponsored, but not always. For the Miss USA competition it’s two different outfits - evening gown and swim wear. You could pay as little as a couple of hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. It all depends what you can get donated, sponsored or gifted to you.
What’s the time commitment like? For Miss Mansfield, I was training every day for about five hours; three hours at the gym and about two hours for the interview for almost six months. I was even training when I was living in Chile and building a school for kids with disabilities. When I came back to the states, I was working 11-hour days and training before or after work. There is a lot of time and commitment.
What are the hardest things about being involved in pageants? The time and commitment. When you have a full time job it can be difficult to balance everything. However, I am truly blessed with an amazing support team - my family. They keep me sane during the insane
What’s the best thing about being in the pageants? I would say getting to meet new people. It is so amazing to see such strong, educated women coming together and bringing one another up. Such camaraderie makes you realize how much you can do for others and the community.
Do you make good friends in the pageants? Absolutely! When you go through such an intense program and training and they go through the same sweat and tears you do, you share a common bond.
Describe how your family has supported your pageant involvement? My family is my rock and has been extremely supportive throughout my entire pageant involvement. They have even traveled out of state to come support me.
What are your talents in these pageants? I sing the blues and jazz. I have taken voice lessons for a couple of years. For my talent portion I sang “One and Only” by Adele.
What is your greatest memory from being in one of the pageants? I would have to say being a role model for young women. I think it’s important to teach young girls to build one another up and support each other. I like knowing I have made a difference in the way little girls see themselves. It is important to teach them that it is inner beauty to strive for not outer beauty.
What’s next for your pageant career? I am now too old for the Miss America Organization, and the Miss USA Organization only allows participants until age 28. I might do it next year for my last year, but it all depends on my career.
How did you get involved with helping disabled kids in Mansfield? It really started when I was young. I have a cousin with Down Syndrome and have always wanted to be his advocate. I wanted to be his voice since he does not have one. I wanted to make the world a better place for him, so when I was in high school I started volunteering. In my senior year of high school I did an internship with an occupational therapist. In college, I was part of an organization called “Brighter Horizons.” By my last year of college I was helping in a mental health clinic. I have always wanted to help those that might not be able to help themselves. I have been working with children with disabilities for 10 years. I work in special education and want to go back and earn a Masters in Occupational Therapy. In ten years I’d like to open up a business for people with disabilities and mental health issues.
Tell us more about how you’ve helped kids? Depending on what organization it was for. Some was for peer support and social interaction. Others were for educational purposes, and some was for helping guide them to jobs within their community. For my career, I help my students with behavioral, social and academic goals. I help them get on grade level and in some situations above grade level. It is important for the community to know that they are amazing people who are fully capable of having jobs and living independently with the right tools and support.
How often and where do you volunteer? I volunteered three times a week in high school at an elementary school within the classroom for kids with autism, a location called Sensory Solutions for children with disabilities helping with their sensory needs, tutored children for state testing, twice a week in college for Sensory Solutions, Brighter Horizons for kids that come from low socioeconomic status and poverty, soup kitchens for people without a home and also the walk-in clinic for mental health. Now I volunteer my time by going to other countries and helping open up schools for kids with disabilities. I opened up a school last summer in Chile for children with disabilities and helped implement programs within the school after it was done being built.
Do you think you’ll continue to do this kind of volunteer work in the future? Yes! It is my life work and passion. I will continue to volunteer because this is where my heart and soul are. This is why I believe I am here in the world.
Other interests/hobbies? Traveling the world! But I am a Florida girl at heart so anything to do with the water – swimming, diving, fishing. I love to go camping with my two dogs. Nothing says a perfect time like sitting around a campfire with s’mores and a tent.
What else do you do in your spare time? I go to the gym after work and hang out with my sister. But on weekdays I don’t have much spare time. Weekends I love to go out in Fort Worth with my friends and be with my family.
How would you describe your personality? I am a pretty happy-go-lucky person! I go with the flow and try to make the best out of every day. I love to see the good in all situations and I try to bring joy to those around me. I think how you make other people feel about themselves says a lot about you.
What do you like most about living in Mansfield? I love working and living in Mansfield. The thing I love most about working in Mansfield is how amazing the kids are at my school. They are all so special and full of hope and dreams and I know they will all achieve everything they reach for.
Who has inspired you and why? My biggest inspirations are my parents. They are the reason why I am the person I am today. My parents are the most amazing and selfless people I know. My dad has taught me to work hard and to be an honest person. Where my mom is the most beautiful person I know inside and out. The older I get the more I know just how lucky and blessed I am. They are the type of people I strive to become when I am older. If I am half the parent that they were then I am doing all right in life!
What are you most proud of? I am most proud of traveling the world and helping open schools for kids with disabilities. My two favorite places are Spain and Chile. In Spain I worked in schools and nursing homes, and in Chile last year I got to help build a school and implement programs for those with disabilities. This summer I’m taking on Australia and New Zealand!