Each week, we are going to meet the candidates for Mrs World, the Mrs America’s sister pageant. This competition, created in 1984, is intended only for married women. The next edition is due to take place in January 2022 in Las Vegas after a hiatus due to the pandemic. The Inside Pageant team is preparing an issue of the magazine dedicated to this pageant which will be released in November 2021. This week, our journey continues. After meeting Mrs Wales World, we meet the representative of Taiwan, Cathy Shen.
Inside Pageant – Thank you for having us Cathy. Could you start by telling us a bit about yourself?
I’m a mother of two kids, and the founder of “ Taipei Girl’s Power Soroptimist International Organization” where we encourage and provide financial supports for girls from low income families to pursuit higher education, and help women who were having financial difficulties on supporting herself/family to overcome the obstacles that they were facing. Currently, we are working hard on doing a fundraise for medical supplies for hospitals in Taiwan and other Covid related supplies for the local lower income families. I’ve won “Miss Globalcity Taiwan”, and 1st runner up for “Miss Globalcity International” and “Miss Asian International” in 2007.
Inside Pageant – What is your occupation?
I own a shop that sells agricultural products including dried fruits, honey, tea etc. These are all products grew and made in Taiwan, hopefully I can show everyone all over the world of the beauty and genuine of Taiwanese agricultural products one day.
Inside Pageant – Tell us a bit about your family.
My husband works at a bank as a personal financial consultant, we have a 7-year-old daughter and a 5-year-old son. Apparently we are trapped at home most of the time but I’m also seeing this as an opportunity to get along and communicate with the kids more. The international concern of Covid may have blocked our body from moving all over the world, but I think this as an opportunity to make ourselves to become better people. Therefore, I’m also taking online courses on “Children development” and “Social Psychology” in order to help me understand people more from the inside. “The lower the squat, the higher the jump” is what I believe that fits the circumstance like this.
Inside Pageant – What is your motto?
The only different between a good day and a bad day is your attitude.
Inside Pageant – Why is it so important for you?
Because we have all been in situations that there’s nothing we can do to change the results whether we like it or not, but it is up to us to decide how we want to face it. Once we set up our minds, even the worst situation can not upset us because we are the only bosses of our lives.
Inside Pageant – Which values do you inculcate to your family?
I told my kids to always follow their hearts whenever they meet the crossed road of their lives. We as parents will become out dated as we grow older, therefore there is going to be one day when we can no longer make good advices to them anymore, so it should be up to them to decide which color they want to choose to color their worlds. Also, as the kids are receiving more information nowadays, it is really important to let them know not to just follow the “cool culture” blindly, they need to have strong minds on following what they believe is right.
Inside Pageant – What is the best lesson you’ve learned that has shaped your life?
When I was a child, I always felt delighted when someone gives me presents or do me favors. And quiet often felt not as happy to share something I love with others. But as I grew up, I started to understand that I’m actually the lucky one if I have the ability or resource to share. Especially under the situation of Covid, I really feel that whoever are still able and willing to help the others are the ones with blessed, so we should try to share it with people with needs in order to overcome the difficult situation together.
Inside Pageant – In your spare time, what do you like to do?
I love to read, it is one of the important ways for me to absorb new knowledge and keep in touch with the world. I also play piano when I’m free, I’ve learned it for over 20 years and have won several prizes when I was a student.
Inside Pageant – What are you most proud of in your family?
I’m really proud of my two healthy kids with kind hearts. This can be nothing special but it is really the most important wish for all parents in the world. Kids are the future of the world, with proper education, they definitely have the power to change the world and create their future.
Inside Pageant – What is your secret to managing at the same time your crown duties, your job and your family?
As the children are growing older, I started to bring my children with me to work and charity events for the past few years. I think it is unusual and important opportunities for them to step out of their comfort zone to expand their world at this young age. Being able to offer them life lessens is nothing like teaching them book knowledge or showing them videos. Therefore, crown duties/job/family together are just one thing to me.
Inside Pageant – What is the most difficult: mother or beauty queen?
Being a mother and a beauty queen is the same thing to me. Because they are all about showing good characteristics, personality and being role model to your audience. It’s just my children are the audience when I’m a mother and the society becomes my audience when I a beauty queen. So they are equally difficult and important since that way how I act might influence someone.
Inside Pageant – What do you see in your mirror?
I’m seeing myself changing into different phases of my life as a woman. Although each phase makes me shine differently, the wisdom and personal quality will only get better as I will absorb and develop experiences of different life stage..
Inside Pageant – You will compete at Mrs. World, a beauty contest for married women. What does beauty mean to you?
Beauty means being kind and generous. Always do my best for each of the roles I’m playing, try to be a good role models for others, and willing to reach out to help when there’s other people who need it.
Inside Pageant – What does pageantry mean to you?
It is one of the ways to make someone become an influential person for the society. But being influential, it doesn’t mean you have to be very talented in singing or acting or gifted in something, all you need is a true passion to make our world a better place in your own way; therefore, I believe it is somehow important to become an influential person. And participating in beauty pageants has definitely been a strong support for me to pass on the positive energy and vibe to people who are paying attention to the world of pageant. In addition, we have witnessed that there have been so many excellent ex-pageant contestants who have become successful and shiny in their areas of expertise and became significant influencers in their countries and have made great contributions to the world.
Inside Pageant – Some people think beauty pageants are shallow parades of beauty. What do you have to say to them?
Well, the ladies who participated in beauty pageants are definitely having great physical appearances for sure, but what is more important is to discover the wisdom and heart underneath the outside beauty. There is nothing wrong to celebrate the beauty, that’s why people do plastic surgery and Botox, plus we all use all kinds of cosmetic everyday to make ourselves look prettier or younger. There are always people judging one thing from both sides, and it is women’s nature to chase what we believe is beauty no matter if it is from the inside or outside of ourselves. But what is the most important is how we use our beauty to effect other people in positive ways, plus, I know a lot of pageant contestants who are beauty inside out!
Inside Pageant – Do you think that our culture is too preoccupied with beauty? If so, how could we change it?
No, I do not think our culture is too preoccupied with beauty, I mean even though people have different definitions for being beauty, women are always trying hard to become what they believe is beauty.
Inside Pageant – What do you say to people who say that a mother has nothing to do in a beauty pageant?
First of all, mothers definitely have something to do with beauty pageanst because if you ask any kids who the most beautiful woman is in the whole world, I bet they will tell you their moms are the most beautiful woman in the world. Secondly, mothers usually have more life experiences in many different ways, and I really think women with not only physical beauty but also inside intelligence and wisdom is the real idea for the Mrs. beauty pageant; therefore, I believe mothers and beauty pageants are wonderful match.
Inside Pageant – Where did that first thought about entering the pageant come from?
The first thought about entering the pageant came from the idea of becoming an influential person for the society. Few years ago, there were a terrible car accident happened to a mayor and his wife in Taiwan. The major was fine but the wife was injured badly. People then started to discuss about how passengers in backseat should buckle up and it has actually became a law now. If the car accident was happened to any local citizens, I believe that won’s draw as much social attention as the wife of the mayor did. Even though this was a sad example, it is a powerful persuasion for me to decide to enter the pageant even until now.
Inside Pageant – What is the most fun and exciting thing about participating in a beauty contest?
I’ve always enjoyed meeting new friends with different cultural backgrounds and learned new things from all over the world. Just like joining an international charity organization, I love to be with people who we are sharing the same passion with similar vision. Especially participation in a beauty pageant means I get to hang out with all the wonderful women from all over the world!
Inside Pageant – Why do you join specifically the Mrs. World pageant?
Mrs. World is not only the oldest and most renown, but also the most challenging pageant for married women. I’ve heard stories about competitors and title winners from this pageant who uses their positive influence to effect or return to the society. Therefore, I believe the spirit that Mrs. World pageant organization passed on to their contestants are similar to my personal belief of we should pass on the positive energy to our society in our maximum ability.
You will soon find the full interview in the Inside Pageant’s issue dedicated to Mrs World.