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Beauty from Within

Getting to the heart of Mrs. Texas’s pageantry experience.

April Wallen and her husband, Jared, were born and raised in Alaska. After years of enduring long, cold winters, they decided it was time to move somewhere they could bask in the sun’s warmth. Having been welcomed to Texas with open arms, Wallen has gone on to be crowned Mrs. Texas.

“I was able to keep my job and work remotely, so we had many options open,” says Wallen. “My husband received an offer from Austin and I had family spread around Texas, so it was an easy decision. We have loved being in Austin for the last five years and it feels like home now. And we were definitely prepared for the ice storm in early 2021!”

Since arriving in Texas, Wallen has continued to pursue her pageantry career. But when she had initially started competing, she had no idea how far she would come. In fact, her interest stemmed from some friends that wanted to compete in the Mrs. Alaska American pageant.

“We decided it would be a fun girls’ weekend,” says Wallen. “I decided to compete at the last minute and had to borrow most of my wardrobe, but it was worth it because I ended up winning that year. My experience at the national pageant, Mrs. America, was amazing and I ended up placing in the Top 12, which doesn’t happen frequently for Alaskans.”

Wallen thought that her pageant journey would be over after that experience. However, she was looking for ways to make friends with other women in Austin. She was volunteering as a mentor to teens in foster care through Austin Angels when she was inspired to compete again and build more local connections.

“My favorite thing is the friendships I have cultivated. Pageant sisters are the best!” says Wallen. “I have met so many authentic women that are doing amazing things in their local communities, while raising families and owning businesses. They have been some of the most supportive friends and it never feels like we are competing against each other.”

Through this new wave of pageantry, Wallen has earned the titles of America’s Most Beautiful Mrs. Lone Star 2021 and USOA Mrs. Texas 2022. She is incredibly thankful for the support system of her family and friends.

“Jared attends many of the appearances with me as USOA Mrs. Texas,” says Wallen. “I am also a member of a networking group for female business owners and they have been my cheerleaders. There are opportunities where I can help promote their businesses and they help me coordinate fundraising events for Austin Angels.”

When Wallen competed for Mrs. Texas, she was judged on four areas—evening gown, swimwear, on-stage question, and interview. Although a big part of her preparation involved fitness, her focus largely went toward showcasing what she does and is grateful for.

“The interview is my favorite part of the process. This is where the judges really get to know the contestants and hear about our accomplishments and volunteer work,” says Wallen. “My background is very colorful and includes overcoming brain cancer, navigating the foster care system as a foster parent, and being a senior manager for Alaska’s largest company. I have been involved in Austin Angels’ Dare to Dream, Love Box, and Angel Alliance programs. So, there’s a lot to discuss during the interview.”

Confidence is key, according to Wallen. She believes that anyone who wants to compete in pageantry should focus on what their unique purpose is because that is what makes beauty shine through. Wallen recommends identifying personal goals that go beyond taking home the win.

“There is so much power in supporting other women around us. We can help empower each other as women by helping one another reach our goals, leading by example, and lifting up others when they need us,” says Wallen. “We often have hectic lives where we try to balance being a wife, mother, business owner, community volunteer, and so many other roles. Empowering each other can increase our confidence and motivation to keep growing.”