After a 10-year hiatus from competing in pageantry, Deborah Wright decided to throw her hat in the ring when she moved from Central Pennsylvania to Washington Township. Her first pageant in a decade led her to the Mrs. Washington Township title – now she eyes the coveted Mrs. New Jersey crown.
Moving is never easy, so when Wright’s husband’s job took their family from their home in Central Pennsylvania to Washington Township, she turned to something familiar to familiarize herself with a new area.
“I thought, ‘what a great way to learn the area and make new friends,’ so here I am competing for Mrs. New Jersey,” she said.
Having a platform to promote is one of the most important aspects of pageantry. While the Mrs. New Jersey pageant is not platform-based, contestants can still promote their platform. Wright didn’t want to pigeonhole herself with one cause, so she created her own platform, H.O.P.E.
“Helping Other People Everywhere,” Wright said of her platform. “Most women designate themselves to a national or local organization specifically. For me, I wanted to leave it open. I wanted to be able to lend a hand where I’m needed, that’s why I developed H.O.P.E. That way any organization in the area that thinks I’d be fit for their event or representing them can reach out to me. I’m open and ready to lend a hand. I want to be able to help all people.”
Some organizations she has worked with in the past are the D.A.R.E. programs, March of Dimes, the Salvation Army and Alex’s Lemonade Stand. To contact Wright for charity and organizational events, send an email to DeborahWright2010@gmail.com.
Doing community service events is the best part of wearing the crown and sash, according to Wright. It’s something she has been involved with since her days as a teen contestant in Central Pennsylvania. Setting a positive example for her daughter is her motivating factor.
“My daughter is in third grade, she’s just starting to learn about giving back, about community service, about giving to others who aren’t as fortunate as we are,” Wright described. “She goes on these appearances with me, she’s my sidekick. She’s learning about giving back and helping others.”
The most recent example of this came at Rowan University’s Relay for Life on April 12. Wright, a cervical cancer survivor, spoke at the event about early detection and the importance of annual exams.
“She walked with me on the Survivor Lap, you should have seen the smile on her face. She was so proud and so happy to be there.” Wright added.
Wright tries to be a role model for all children – as a playground and lunch aide at Birches Elementary school she is constantly in communication with children in the community.
“I’m a glorified babysitter,” she said with a laugh. “If I could set a little example for these little ones then I’ve done something.”
The Mrs. New Jersey pageant is scheduled for May 19 at the DoubleTree hotel in Princeton. The categories for competition are a private interview with each judge, swimsuit, evening gown, photogenic, onstage question and a costume representing the state. There will be 15 contestants vying for the Mrs. New Jersey crown. Tickets to the competition are available at mrsnjpaunitedstates.com.
Should Wright win the crown, she will compete for the Mrs. United States crown this summer in Las Vegas. However, she is taking things one step at a time, one foot in front of the other. While she says she’s more competitive now than when she was a teenager, she matured and realized winning isn’t everything.
“Trust me, I want to win,” she said. “But if I don’t – it’s not the end-all-be-all. I learned that as I matured. I don’t worry about what the judges want to hear. I tell them my beliefs and values. Hopefully they see me as a strong enough person to be able to exhibit that.”
When Wright takes the stage on May 19 she will be representing a town she is still new to, one that she and her husband hand-picked when they came from Central Pennsylvania last June.
“My sash should be dirty and my crown should never collect dust is what I always say.”