Sunday, October 24, 2021

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Your new Mrs. Iowa is… Meghan Drane!


A childhood dream comes true.

Meghan Drane was crowned Mrs. Iowa America 2019 on June 22. The Mrs. America national competition will take place Aug. 24 in Las Vegas at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino on the same stage that Elvis Presley once performed.

“I’m a military wife,” explains Meghan Drane. “I’m a mom of four. I’m from Iowa. We’ve lived on the East Coast, West Coast and Europe.”

That is her story, but it is not her whole story.

“That is who I’m married to,” she continues. “That is who I parent, but that is not really who I am… I’m Meghan. I’ve been married almost 10 years. I think it’s so common for women to get lost in their role as wife and mother, and they forgot that, before that, they had some things they wanted to do. They neglect to make time to do that or to make it a priority.”

After graduating from North High, Drane moved to Iowa City, fell in love, married a man who joined the military, and then had four babies in four years while zigzagging the country. She understands how easy it is for moms to lose their identity.

Prep Iowa

“I would have, too,” she says. “If there wasn’t something behind me pushing me.”

Last year, Drane noticed a change in her 8-year-old daughter that she couldn’t ignore.

“I was watching her change from a confident little girl into somebody who has hesitations and doubts, and I went to thinking, ‘Where does that start? Where do we begin caring what other people think and having that negative self talk.’ ”

Thinking back on her own life, Drane remembered the same thing happening to her.

“When I was really little, I fell and I hit my head,” she says. “And I remember looking in the mirror and crying and thinking, ‘You’re never going to be pretty enough to be Mrs. America now.’ … So I was thinking through that, and I was looking at my kids, and I thought, ‘Ok, kids do what you do, not what you say.’ So if want her to go after what she wants and be confident to do the things that she maybe thinks she’s not good enough for or that she can’t do, then I have to do that, too.”

Drane was crowned Mrs. Iowa America for 2019 on June 22. The Mrs. America national competition will take place this month in Las Vegas.

“This was my very first pageant ever,” she says.

Mrs. Iowa didn’t grow up doing beauty pageants, but after speaking with friends who had previously participated, she found out it was relatively easy to enter. They told her you just get the paperwork, you apply, and then you practice, train and eventually compete.

There are several different pageants and contest formats. Each has its own rules and design. The Mrs. America Pageant conducts interview, swimsuit and evening gown competitions.

“Then, of course, there’s a huge focus on community service, what you’re doing and what you’re passionate about,” says Drane. She also won Mrs. Congeniality for the tri-state area of Iowa, Missouri and Kansas — those three pageants took place concurrently at one location in Missouri.

Being crowned on stage capped a lifelong dream for Drane, but what happened next was even better. As she began wrapping her mind around what she’d just accomplished, her husband and four kids — ages 4, 5, 6 and 8 — rushed the stage to give her a hug.

“For me, this is about stepping back into, ‘OK, now I’m here to find the balance. I’m still going to be a wife, and I’m still going to be a mom, but I still have things I want to do as a person, too,’ ” she says. “So this is that first step forward in doing that. Hopefully it inspires others to make time for themselves, too.” ♦

The Mrs. America Competition was first held in 1938 and ran through 1968. In 1977, the event was revived. Now celebrating its 40th year, Mrs. America was the first competition of its kind to be limited to married women. Its judges look for the exhibition of beauty, poise and personality while judging the swimsuit, evening gown and interview competitions. Entrants must be at least 18, legally married at the time of competition and a state resident for three months.

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