Updated: Oct 28, 2022
I recently had the absolute honor of interviewing the current Ms. Texas Senior Kimberly Ghedi. Kimberly will crown the next Ms. Texas Senior on November 5th. You can check out our amazing interview below!
1. Have you accomplished your goals for this year?
I believe I did! I have had over 100 appearances over the last year and 3 months. My goal was to have 100 appearances if I could get them in there. It started off slow because of COVID, there were still a lot of shutdowns, especially in senior living communities. I can't really say I got too well into my appearances until probably January, and they started to open up and things became available to me. I pretty much accepted everything that came my way. I found that there were some things that I really resonated with and others that perhaps it was just good to make an appearance, but it would not be something that was an ongoing thing.
2. What have you learned about yourself during this past year?
I've learned to be able to think on my feet. There have been some unusual circumstances that I felt like "Oh I'm not really sure what it is I'm doing." Then when I got there, I would say a little prayer when I walked in and then the whole trajectory changed. I had one such event where I was going to speak for about fifteen minutes and then sing a couple of songs. I got there and the master of ceremonies had COVID, so I was asked to MC the entire event which was from 10 AM to 1 PM. Thinking on my feet was something that I wasn't sure I could do very well especially in a position where I was being featured but I was told that I did very, very good. They even want me back next year as the MC. So, I think I did pretty well with thinking on my feet but that's one of the things that I learned about myself, and I did not know that I had that aspect in me. I would also have to say that I began to actually live out the things that I talked about in the Ms. Texas Senior pageant itself. I had this mantra called the philosophy of life and I wrote it predicated off of my past but one of things that kind of started to run true this past year was one of the lines in it. I realized that this is something that I have to live out every day and one of the lines in it is "Never let the sake of your past failures defeat your next step. Just get up every day and do the next thing because there will always be a next thing." I didn't realize the power of that until I had to be living it out every day and living it out it really rang true for me.
3. How have you encouraged other women to compete for Ms. Texas Senior?
Well, I told them that looking at the competition or looking at the year ahead being in a pageant can sometimes be very daunting. "oh I don't have the figure" "oh I've got wrinkles" "I don't really have a talent" "what would I offer to this particular system" I tell people that you kind of find your footing underneath you as you go into this journey that if you don't try for it, if you look back on it and say "I wish I had done that," I think it's better to try and get out there and do something that's outside your comfort zone so it stretches you versus sitting in your arm chair and watching life happen in front of you". I say if I can do it then you can do it. I also tell them that because of my background I never ever thought that I would be able to be on such a prestigious stage. I was an orphan, I went to the foster system, overall, I had an extremely broken childhood. I also had a broken marriage, there are a lot of things that happened in my past that I'm not proud of circumstances that were just out of my control. Sometimes you can just sit and wallow in it and look at someone else's life and think " Wow I wish I would have done that". Don't say that just do it!
4. What was it like competing for Ms. Senior America?
It was a weeklong journey in Hershey Pennsylvania, I had never experienced anything like this on the national stage, so I was not really sure what to expect. Quite frankly, I'm not a pageant person, but I got involved in the Ms. Texas Senior pageant and I loved the system and the fact that we give out to the senior community and try to encourage seniors because it seems to be such a lost voice in society. People over 60 they just kind of say "Okay you're over 60 so you're not really vital anymore so let's just put you out to pasture" it's so good to see something like this that really heralds especially senior women's voices, it also allows women to excel where they are at in their age. So being on the national stage with 42 other contestants was really pretty daunting. I really upped my level. I really tried to take everything up a notch because I figured that this particular stage in the competition was going to be pretty fierce and I was not wrong. These women had amazing talents, amazing volunteer backgrounds, and they were doing a lot in their community and so to align myself with them throughout that week, I really forged some lifelong friendships there and I learned something about myself. I really was hoping to bring home the national crown. I don't think you do that unless you really want to win so I wasn't alone in that. All of the other women wanted to win as well. I was a little disappointed when I didn't win the national title. I had to take a week and really decompress when I look back at it and think about my performance on that national stage, that right there was my win because I did something that I thought I would never ever do! I went out on that stage, and I sang better than I've ever sung. I felt like I was at the top of my game during that week, so there's very little disappointment that I actually take away from it. I actually take away the fact that I did something that I thought I would never be able to do that plus the women that I made friends with we are now keeping in touch with each other. I think that there is such value in every aspect of pageantry.
5. What concerns would women in your age range have about competing?
I think they are afraid to put it all out there on the stage and feeling like a failure. We get really bogged down with nit picking about our appearances and as you get older everybody kind of looks in the mirror and starts going " Oh my goodness what happened to me" and you think how can I put on a beautiful dress and walk across that stage? How can I get up on stage in front of people and perform a talent I don't feel like I do anything other than cook and clean or whatever. the validity of who you feel like you are the value that you give yourself at this stage in the game, we feel very marginalized so it's really hard to ask a woman who feels like their life is pretty much over and they don't have a whole lot left to give to society to get up there and say "nope! I'm strong, courageous, vital. I have a voice and I'm going to use it." It's hard to get that kind of confidence in a woman if they don't automatically have it. It can be built into you, but I find that there are a lot of insecurities at this age. Not that there isn't at any age in a woman's life but there seems to be at this age because our hair is grey, we have wrinkles around our eyes, we have belly fat, we've got flabby back arms. No matter how hard I work out there's still flab. So, there's just so many things that we critique ourselves on that create the roadblocks for getting up on stage.