AD: You are the best person to talk about this mindset, especially to this pageant audience, because you have had to overcome a lot in pageantry. Can you share a little bit about your pageant experience and how you got into doing the mindset work that you’re doing today?
TK: I’ve lost way more than I won. Just a little backstory. I was an athlete growing up and so I was playing basketball, volleyball, golf… going camping, fishing, traveling. I had no clue what pageantry was at all. But, I’ve always had that competitive nature.
When I got to college, I decided I need to do something competitive. I was sitting in my dorm room at the University of Iowa during my freshman year, and I saw an ad for Miss USA come up on Facebook. I was like, these women are goddesses! I wanted to learn more so I clicked on it.
I soon realized that to get to the national, Miss USA level, you have to start by competing at the state level. So, I ended up signing up for Miss Iowa Teen USA.
I had no clue what I was doing. I remember hearing some of the girls talking on the bus on the way to the auditorium. They were saying how it was their sixth year competing. I was intimidated by them at the time, because I was a teen and these girls were more seasoned in pageantry.
A couple of years later, I competed in the Miss Iowa USA. I took a couple of years off, graduated from college, moved to Missouri for an outside sales position. And I decided since I was in a new state, I would try competing again. I did, and I was hooked.
I competed four times total in Missouri. The third time I competed, I placed first runner up. And that was one of the toughest pills to swallow. I got so close. I put my heart and soul into it, and then I got first runner up. You’re like, how do I do better next year? I did everything I could do. I don’t know how to get that one further.
And at that time, I wasn’t very happy in my outside sales position. I was selling commercial flooring and I decided I actually wanted to be a sports reporter. I wanted to be the next Erin Andrews
I had stayed in the sales position only because I wanted to compete in Missouri. When I placed first runner up, something hit me and I was like, ‘I haven’t stepped outside of my comfort zone one time in these two years that I’ve been in Missouri.’
So I went to Los Angeles to pursue sports reporting.
I Airbnb-hopped over the course of seven months, I worked in the sports industry, and I prepped for Miss Missouri. I was modeling full time with an agency out there as well. I developed my own brand for sports reporting and ended up being a brilliant sports reporter. I networked my tail off and got to Fox sports.
When pageant time came around, I went back home to Missouri. I competed and used all that knowledge that I just had learned – just stepping so far out of my comfort zone, getting so uncomfortable and making these new connections.
It was eight years total before I finally won. And in those eight years I had hired 13 coaches – pageant coaches for runway, the interview, all of that, obviously. But I also hired coaches for my mindset and for my confidence. And that is what changed the game for me.
The second that I started focusing on my mindset and confidence was the year that I won Miss Missouri USA, 2018. Once I won, I decided to start my own company.
I want to be that coach and mentor for women who are competing in pageants to get your mindset to that next level where you’re not only doing this to win a pageant, you’re doing it for a greater purpose in life. So Miss USA has been an incredible stepping stone for me to create my business and become an entrepreneur.
AD: This story is just pulling in so many concepts of what truly separates somebody as a winner. Like you said, going all in like there’s no going back to that old me. And you went seriously all in.
TK: It’s such a blessing, too, that I found my calling at such a young age. Women in pageants have such an advantage because you’re learning these interview skills. You’re learning runway skills, which help develop your confidence. I mean, if you can get on a runway and walk in front of hundreds of people, you can walk into any room and own that room.
I love talking to pageant girls because you know how much hard work it takes to do what you’re doing. And I don’t underestimate what you ladies are doing. You’re rock stars.