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First-timer crowned as Mrs. Maine America

By Nathan Tsukroff

DURHAM – A suggestion from a former Mrs. Maine America prompted Durham resident Alecia Jack to compete in her first-ever pageant, and she emerged the winner for 2021.

“I was approached by a former 20210 Mrs. Maine America (Christine Blake) and she asked if this was something I would be interested in,” Jack said.

“I asked if this is just a beauty contest, or is there more to it?” and was told there was “totally more to it.”

“There’s a lot of interaction with other women. These other women are very accomplished women, they are ‘power women’ and there’s a lot of networking between them and the business community. And so that’s what intrigued me,” Jack said.

Alecia Jack of Durham was crowned Mrs. Maine America in a pageant at the Doubletree Hotel in South Portland in early April. She will compete in the national Mrs. America competition in Las Vegas in November, with the winner of that pageant going on to the Mrs. World competition. (Photo courtesy of Alecia Jack)

Working as a Senior Claims Adjuster in the Property & Casualty Insurance world, Jack, 36 years old, has been married to her husband, Jason, for 13 years. They share two “fun-loving boys”, Bryson, 10, and Dawson, 6.

The pageant is part of the Mrs. World organization and took place earlier this month at the Doubletree Hotel in South Portland. As this year’s winner, Jack will go on to compete in the Mrs. America pageant in Las Vegas in November. The winner of that pageant will then compete for the international title of Mrs. World.

Traditionally a spring event, last year’s Mrs. Maine America pageant had been postponed three times, taking place in September.

Getting to the pageant involved community service and meeting with the other contestants to learn more about the competition, Jack said.

The Mrs. Maine America judging was in three parts. Each contestant had a four-minute interview with each of the four judges, which counted as 50% of their final score. A swimsuit competition based on stage presence, style, confidence, and beauty was 25% of the score. The final 25% of the score was the evening gown competition, based on the competitor’s poise, posture, grace, elegance, confidence, beauty, how well they carried themselves, and how well the gown complimented them.

 “The interview was being real and true to the judges, answering honestly, and presenting what you can offer to the community,” Jack said.

“My goal is to represent the state, so at the national competition, I want to be able to express what our state represents,” she said. “I want to be involved with the (local) community was much as I can.”

Jack was going to help with community clean up this past weekend, but that event was cancelled due to the bad weather. Her next event will be with the Habitat for Humanity, she said.

Jack’s platform for the competition was mental and physical health. She spoke about Breathe To Perform, a local organization that “focuses on really simple breathing techniques for an individual to do, whether it’s in sport to help with endurance, or it comes down to daily anxiety – breathing techniques that can help manage that. And furthermore, like physical activity, like simple things that people can do in their everyday life, and simple nutrition that they can do to have a better lifestyle (and) live longer.” 

She said this platform is “a passion of mine. It always has been! I am somebody that I don’t like to go to an extreme level for fitness or nutrition. I want something to be easy, something you don’t have to think about too hard.”

When her boys were babies, she would “find really simple things to incorporate veggies in colors on their plate, so it was something they were used to since they were little.” She would make quesadillas with tufts of broccoli and peppers, and “they saw the colors, they loved the flavors,” she said.

Jack said she is reaching out to local schools and organizations, starting with Physiology First, which bills itself as a nonprofit organization that shares leading-edge tools to mitigate stress and anxiety and peak cognitive performance with students, parents, and educational leaders. Located in Portland, Physiology First is a sister organization to Breathe to Perform. “I’ve partnered with them to get awareness out there,” she said.

There were five women competing for the Mrs. Maine America title this year, and five competing for the Miss Maine for America strong title. The field was smaller this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Patricia Schimpf, competing as Miss Hancock County, took the title this year for the Miss Maine for America strong pageant, which crowned its first winner in 2019. Debra Pronovost, executive state director of the Maine pageants for Mrs. America and Miss for America strong, said that national director David Marmell wanted to highlight single women 18 and over and give them a system to celebrate their accomplishments and a platform to continue initiatives in their communities that are important to them.

The Mrs. Maine America runner-up, Amanda Shepard of Boothbay Harbor, was given the title of Mrs. Maine American.

Jack’s family will accompany her to the national competition in Las Vegas.

In a rare controversy at the beginning of April, the reigning Mrs. World, Caroline Jurie, who captured the title last year after winning as Mrs. Sri Lanka World, ripped the crown from the head of the newly-chosen 2021 Mrs. Sri Lanka World, Pushpika de Silva, in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Jurie claimed that deSilva was divorced and therefore not qualified for the title, which is for married women. The Mrs. World organization confirmed deSliva is only separated from her husband, and is correctly the Sri Lanka winner.

Jurie was arrested by Sri Lankan police, and later gave up her world-title crown.

The Miss USA organization conducts annual pageants as part of the Miss Universe competition, which is separate from the Mrs. World pageants.

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