I had the extreme honor of interviewing our reigning Mrs. United States 2015 Katie Garza, hailing all the way from Pearland, Texas! With her win she has earned the crown for Texas for the THIRD year in a row! Not to mention a fourth straight win for Vanbros and Associates Inc.! Not only does Katie hold the title of Mrs. United States, she is also a mother of 3, loving wife and full-time community sales manager for a home builder! With all the hats she wears she still has time to give back to her community, find out more by reading her interview below!
Was Mrs. Texas United States your first pageant or were you involved in other organizations?
-I entered my very first pageant at the age of seven. It was the 1995 Texas Gatorfest Princess Pageant in my hometown of Anahuac, Texas. I have been hooked ever since, but only competed again in 2012 at the Mrs. Texas United States Pageant. It was that year that I fell in love with the United States Organization and knew I would enter again when the time was right!
You are the creator of the organization Pumping for Preemies, where you donate milk and raise funds for Charitable Care. I read that your daughters were born prematurely, was that your initial reasoning for creating such a wonderful organization?
-My oldest daughter, Phoenix, spent the first five weeks of her life in the level 3 NICU after being born prematurely. Like many NICU Moms I was unable to provide her with the breast milk that she needed. I only became aware that donor milk existed when my youngest daughter, Aubrey, was born. With Aubrey I was finally able to breastfeed for the first time and learned of the lifesaving benefits of donor human breast milk to premature infants. Being able to donate was healing for me by helping babies like Phoenix, which is when Pumping for Preemies began.
For some reason our society does not view breastfeeding as the norm, do you think your platform can help normalize breastfeeding?
-In years past, breastfeeding became less common amongst new mothers. Today, we have come a long way to increase the number of breastfeeding Moms while creating a safe environment to do so. My platform focuses on the stigmas that the media has placed on the general populations view of a woman’s breasts. By starting the conversation, I hope to change the minds of the underexposed in our society and reset the expectation. A mother should feel comfortable nursing whenever and however she sees fit, and if my platform helps give even one Mom the confidence to do so, then it is a success.
What information could you give readers about getting involved with Pumping for Preemies and the Mother’s Milk Bank?
-Pumping for Preemies is a great starting point for anyone that is interested in supporting, volunteering or becoming a donor! I encourage moms to donate to HMBANA non-profit milk banks in their areas by visiting www.hmbana.org I am a donor Mom with The Mother’s Milk Bank at Austin which is my local HMBANA bank. Our mission is to get more milk to more babies, so my message to everyone out there is to please share the word to anyone who may be impacted by donor milk. Whether as a donor or recipient – education is key. I am available through our Facebook page and love hearing from anyone that is interested in getting involved!
Many people are not a fan of pageants for married women or really pageants in general. Some say that pageants are outdated and have no business in the 21st century. What would you say to someone who holds that view?
-With my platform, I have heard hurtful and negative comments being made to women breastfeeding their children in public. Our society has come a long way with the Normalizing Breastfeeding movement, as a result of the outreach and education that has been poured into the media. I want to share the same type of compassion and education with anyone who holds a negative view of pageantry. I believe after a healthy conversation about the substance behind pageants and the work that title holders do within their community, I could change their perspective on pageants in the 21st century.
What was your reasoning for getting involved with pageantry?
-We all love to watch the show, see the beautiful gowns and experience the heart stopping crowning moment. As a young girl, I watched title holders move mountains within their cause and gained a healthy respect for the work that was done after pageant night. I recognized that these women found an opportunity to make an impact in our country and that the cause comes before the crown. When Pumping for Preemies materialized, I knew the perfect outlet would be within the pageant world, which is why I chose to enter Mrs. Texas United States.
As a mother, how do you view pageantry for younger girls?
-My six-year-old has shown a keen interest in competing in pageants. I believe that working toward a goal is healthy in children and teenagers, if a girl is passionate about entering a pageant for the right reasons for her, I think it would be a wonderful way to gain confidence, public speaking and community service.
What advice would you give to women who are wanting to get involved with pageantry?
-The best advice I received was to let go of the “mom guilt”. As mothers, we spend all of our energy pouring ourselves into our work and family, which is a beautiful and selfless thing. It can also be easy to forget to care for ourselves and our dreams. Once I was able to let go of the guilt, I realized that taking care of myself is the best thing I could do for my family. I am a happier and healthier wife and mother for it, and I hope that I can inspire other moms to step out of their comfort zone and follow their dreams as well.
If you could be any Disney princess who would you be and why?
-My daughters have assigned me the roll of Ariel…mostly because of my red hair. Honestly, Ariel really is my favorite – I love her spirit and sense of adventure!
What is your favorite song to jam out to?
-95% of the time I forget to change the station from the Disney Channel when I’m driving alone. But when I do, I love listening to any Meghan Trainor song.
Where would we find you on a lazy Sunday afternoon?
-My husband Joshua and I fell in love on the beach, and even got married on Galveston Island. Our favorite place to spend lazy Sundays is on the island with our girls, having a picnic and building sand castles.
If you had to choose one food to eat for the rest of your life what would it be?
-I am a lover of Tex-Mex! To this day my favorite restaurant is a little Mexican place back home in Anahuac, Texas called Nopalitos. If I could eat their salsa every day for the rest of my life, I would be a happy girl.
How many donuts are you capable of eating in one sitting?
-Glazed donut holes are my favorite, and I’ve been known to easily eat two dozen in one sitting!
There you have it people, Mrs. United States proving you can have your donuts and eat them too. But seriously, isn’t it obvious why she won? What an amazing, caring, selfless woman! Can I be her when I grow up?
I just want to give Mrs. Ariel, I mean Mrs. Katie Garza a HUGE thank you for being featured in my first ever Pageant Press and helping me start it off with a bang!!
You are so very kind and hopefully one day when I visit Texas we can meet up for some Nopalitos Salsa and glazed donut holes…maybe just not in one sitting.
Also, can I just quote Katie “the cause comes before the crown”. How wonderful is that? I think every pageant organization should be like the United States program for that reason exactly!
Please follow Katie as SHE moves mountains through her Facebook page here. And don’t forget to like her Pumping for Preemies Facebook page as well!! Please let me know if you have any questions regarding Mother’s Milk Bank, Pumping for Preemies or you are wanting to get involved and I can pass on your information or get you in touch with Katie!