Search
  • Herb Jackson Jr

Yes, Queen! Katerina Villegas is on a Mission to Inspire

What comes to mind when you picture a beauty queen? A Billboard-charting singer/songwriter? A Masters-level clinical psychologist currently completing her doctorate? Or do you picture a red carpet host? Or maybe a global ambassador who has traveled to Uganda? Or do you imagine a woman who is as gracious and loquacious as she is vivacious? Let this week’s guest, Katerina Villegas, complete the picture for you.

Katerina Villegas is the current Miss Oregon 2020, but she wasn’t always a likely pageant candidate. Known for being more of a quiet tomboy, she was even nominated shiest of her entire eighth grade class.

“I didn’t take a brush to my hair if I didn’t have to, let alone do any make-up whatsoever,” she laughs. But she was always taken with the glamour and elegance of the beauty queens she saw on television, and when a high school teacher nominated her to be part of a local pageant, she went for it. “I tried my first pageant and it was terrifying,” she explains. “I said ‘I will never do this again!’ But I totally kept doing it again.” She did it again, and again…. and again—Katerina participated in ten competitions before she finally got to wear the crown.

Her win came about after a marked mind-shift in how she presented herself. “For me, it was always, ‘what do I need to do to be what they want me to be?’” she says. But that wasn’t working for her, so she made a bold move and fully embraced her uniqueness. “I finally decided, on what was going to be my last try: Forget what they want! I’m going to go into this thing being me.” And boy did it pay off! That was the year she won the title of Miss Oregon. “When I could say, ‘this is who I am and this is how I can serve your organization,’ that’s ultimately what set me apart from who I was in previous years.” This idea is absolutely thrilling to me—to empower yourself to the point of knowing that you are the best there is to offer.

Katerina is on a mission to inspire the next generation to go beyond the limitations set before them, to know their worth and value, and to know the impact they can make in the lives of others. Her advice is to find joy in the successes of those around you. “I really think that when you can decide that, yes, these are my goals and the things that I want to accomplish, but I can also really truly celebrate everyone else and what they’re doing around me, it’s going to give you a heart of service, it’s going to give you a heart of gratitude, and those are the things that I think are essential elements to achieving success in life.”

I’m certainly looking forward to cheering on Katerina at Miss USA 2020!