Our intern had the unique opportunity to sit down and interview with royalty recently, the reigning Miss International, Jesse Ladoue. The Jovani team had the pleasure of meeting Jesse when she stopped into the showroom to pick out dresses for the remainder of her reign. Get to know a little more about his beauty as she prepares to pass on the title to the next lucky young lady this summer.
KG: Tell us a little about the Miss International pageant and what made you decide to enter?
JL: I was drawn to the International Pageant system because of its emphasis on platform involvement. At 25-years-old, I chose to compete again because I knew I had more to give from a social impact standpoint and could use my life experiences to share the importance of volunteerism. Even when I was young and a little awkward, volunteering made me feel proud and invested–a place where I wasn’t judged for what I looked like or wore, it was my good intentions that mattered.
KG: You looked stunning in prom dress style 762! What made you choose this Jovani for your competition dress?
JL: I really had no expectations for what type of gown I was shopping for. I tried on legitimately every style, color, adornment, but I was having a hard time picturing my crowning moment in any of them. After a while, all of the gowns started to blend together and I was becoming very discouraged. Did MY dress even exist?? Then I put on 762. I loved the juxtaposition of the high neckline and low-cut back and while there was no “bling”, the illusion cutouts created a level of intrigue that I had never seen before. Above all else, it was the most DIFFERENT gown that I had tried on and offered the combination of edge and sophistication I was looking for.
KG: This is an unconventional pageant gown, what do you think made this stand out to the judges panel? Do you have any advice for contestants who are looking for the perfect pageant dress?
JL: I think the key was that I was consistent in my interview persona and my stage presence. In interview, I spoke to a goal of being a fresh and modern representative of the organization. By wearing a gown that speaks to those points, the judges were able to see my words come alive in evening gown. My advice is to find a gown that reflects your personality so that you are consistently showing your true self in each phase of competition.
KG: Your reign will be coming to an end this summer; do you have a favorite memory thus far?
JL: I have been so lucky to have the opportunities I have had as Miss New York International and now Miss International 2013. Of course you have the glamorous experiences – walking the runway in New York Fashion Week and being a kid in a candy store at the Jovani Showroom. However, my most memorable trip was a visit to New Orleans this winter. I served in two homeless shelters and support centers while there. It’s these experiences that ground you and show you that even the best of people can get down on their luck. It is not our place to judge or jump to conclusions, but to do our part to build each other up and offer support when someone has nothing.
KG: Do you have any plans to continue competing after you pass on the title to the next lucky young lady?
JL: As of now, there are no plans to compete further. Anyone who takes their title(s) seriously knows that to be an effective and thorough titleholder you need to approach it as a job and give it a significant amount of time and attention. It is challenging and trying at times, but so rewarding and fulfilling. I will always be involved in pageants – supporting my system, cheering on friends who compete, and offering services as a consultant. For now, though, I am looking forward to turning my platform of “Volunteerism” into my career as I begin the next chapter of my life as a professional in the non-profit sector.
KG: Pageantry is a tough sport but what have you learned or attained through competing that will help you in your future endeavors?
JL: The benefits of pageantry are immeasurable. The interview preparation, confidence in presenting in front of an audience, and self-awareness can translate to any career path and any life situation. What other role will you have to adapt your communication strategies to relate to CEOs, college students, special needs individuals, donors, the homeless, or children on a regular basis? Beyond the skills, the friendships and connections that I have made along the way are priceless and as special as any crown. Being able to find other women who are changing the world and building each other up in the process is the real gem of this journey.