Inside Pageant – Can you introduce yourself?
Hi! I’m Cassandra Yoder. I’m a stay-at-home mama and the current Mrs. Wyoming America.
Inside Pageant – In your free time, what do you like to do?
Together with my husband, Rich, and son, Buck, I love to go hiking and exploring in Yellowstone National Park, which happens to be in our county. I’m also an avid non-fiction reader, and baking is my way of showing other people I love them.
Inside Pageant – Which values do you inculcate to your family?
Our faith is the most important thing in our lives. We also believe serving others and saying “please” and “thank you” are extremely important. Simple, but important.
Inside Pageant – What are you most proud in your family?
I’m really proud of my husband’s example of being a hard worker. He was raised Amish, and that ethic really stuck with him as he started his own business. As a matter of fact, he was so tired that he fell asleep when I was in labor with our son! We joke about it now.
Inside Pageant – Are you a superwoman?
Not necessarily. I find my strength in God, and I give Him credit for everything I have and my abilities.
Inside Pageant – What is your secret to managing at the same time your crown duties, your job, and your family?
I am definitely a list-maker. I have also made a habit of arriving early to things and having a Plan B, C, and D just in case A doesn’t work out. With Mrs. America’s motto being “We are family”, I have a neat opportunity to involve my own family in many of my service events. We have a lot of fun with them!
Inside Pageant – What is the most difficult: to be a mother or to be a beauty queen?
Each has its unique challenges. Being a stay-at-home mom is a 24/7 job. I have to make sure to incorporate time for self-care. And being a beauty queen is difficult because… well, I’m just really bad at putting false eyelashes on.
Inside Pageant – Can you describe your pageantry journey?
I won my state pageant on my fifth try. I competed in Kansas three times, then found success after moving to Wyoming and competing twice here. I think what kept me coming back, despite being a chronic runner up, was the fact I learned something about myself and increased my skill set each time. That’s why I think pageants are a worthwhile endeavor for young ladies!
Inside Pageant – What does pageantry mean to you?
Pageantry is so much more than a crown and sash. It’s so much more than just you. You have an opportunity to represent others and give them a voice. Hopefully, through that endeavor, you create a positive ripple in society.
Inside Pageant – Some people think that a mother has nothing to do in a beauty pageant. What do you have to say to them?
Becoming a mom was one of the most empowering experiences of my life. Motherhood IS beautiful, and it shows that a contestant has had life lessons in selflessness, which is always a wonderful quality for a queen to have.
Inside Pageant – What is the most exciting thing about participating in a beauty pageant?
My favorite phase of competition is swimsuit! I have lost seventy pounds, and swimsuit always feels like a huge celebration of that.
Inside Pageant – Why do you join specifically the Mrs. America pageant?
Mrs. America is iconic. It has been around so long because it is a high-quality, professional system that emphasizes family. That’s important to me, and as one who has overcome alcohol addiction, I love that they have partnered with Victoria’s Voice.
Inside Pageant – What is your best asset to win the crown?
Honestly… I think it’s probably how okay I am with being an imperfect, relatable person. I want other women and girls to look at me and be like, “I get her. I feel her, and I think I can be a queen, too.”
Inside Pageant – What is the most challenging currently in your preparations?
Having our state pageant just a few months before nationals was necessary this year. With COVID, I encountered some setbacks with fabric and beading for my gown. Thankfully, I have a wonderful and kind sponsor, Natalie M., who has provided top-notch service in helping me overcome this. I know I am going to feel like a million bucks when I walk onstage in my gown!
Inside Pageant – Why do you think that youare the best candidate for the Mrs. America’s crown?
I really struggle with the word “best”, you know? Every woman has a story, something she’s overcome and some way she’s working to make the world a better place. Although my passion is helping others make healthy choices through my Live It Well initiative, I want to leave a legacy of being just a normal person. Someone others aren’t intimidated by.
Inside Pageant – What are you looking forward to the most at Mrs. America pageant in Las Vegas in November?
I’m excited to have the opportunity to visit the Elvis Presley suite at the Westgate and to be able to sit down on his bed after a long day walking in heels. I’m totally going to have a fangirl moment!
Inside Pageant – Who is your all-time favorite Mrs. America?
You know this is the dreaded question because one of them is probably going to be a judge, right?! Haha! Just kidding. It’s probably April Lufriu, who ended up becoming Mrs. World in 2012. You get the impression that she truly has the heart of a servant, and I gravitate toward that and am inspired by it.
Inside Pageant – If you win the crown of Mrs. America, you go to Mrs. World pageant. Becoming Mrs. World is it a dream for you?
Yes! In today’s world, the need for creative connection and exploring new cultures is stronger than ever. I have already done some of that with my virtual projects. There are many places I would like to visit, but Thailand is at the top of my list.
Inside Pageant – If you win the crown, what message do you want disseminated during your reign?
I want people to know that being sober is not boring. Should I be honored to receive the title of Mrs. America, I would pass the ten year mark of sobriety during my year of service. If I inspire just one person to get help, I will have done my job.
Inside Pageant – With your title, which platform do you want to promote?
I founded “Live It Well” upon four tenets: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.
Through this, I have spoken to thousands of people across the United States, led online workouts, and mentored teenage girls. I feel this fits very well with Mrs. America’s work with Victoria’s Voice, and I’m excited to connect with them over the next year.
Inside Pageant – What is your best memory from your charitable work?
Speaking in a maximum security prison about my story was amazing. It was a full circle moment for me, and it showed me that I was walking in alignment with God’s purpose for my life.
Inside Pageant – Can you tell us about Victoria’s Voice, the platform of Mrs. America Organization?
Victoria was a young woman who lost her battle with drug addiction. I began reading her journal one night at 10:00, and I couldn’t put it down until I was finished. As my husband snored next to me, I cried under the covers as I read because I saw so much of myself in her story. Through the Victoria Siegel Foundation, her parents honor her memory by taking bold steps to prevent addiction and save lives.
Inside Pageant – I imagine you use a lot social media to promote your platform and the platform of Mrs. America Organization. Which social media do you prefer?
Instagram is my favorite because I am a visual person and have really found my niche in the health and fitness community on there. By following hashtags, I am able to quickly connect with others and sprinkle words of encouragement throughout my day.
Inside Pageant – What do you think about the power of social media today?
There are definitely pros and cons to it. When we get to the point where we associate our self-worth with how many followers we have or compare our bodies to manipulated photos of others, it becomes unhealthy. Periodically, I like to keep things in perspective by cracking open Wendy Speake’s book, _The 40-Day Social Media Fast_. I love to recommend it because it has been quite helpful for me.
Inside Pageant – How do you manage to protect yourself and your family against the haters or the bad comments?
Fortunately, this is something I haven’t really had to deal with yet. I do try to keep my feed full of positive posts, and I generally avoid the comment section on most articles. I’m not afraid to quietly and politely unfollow pages and profiles that are chronically negative.
Inside Pageant – What do you like most about your state?
Wyoming is the least-populated state, but it has the biggest room for adventure. As a matter of fact, my husband and I fell in love with it while on a cross-country road trip, so we decided to move here to raise a family! We are definitely outdoors people, and Wyoming has two national parks.
Inside Pageant – Which place do I must visit in your state absolutely?
Cody! There is a rodeo every single night during the summer, and we also have a great museum there. The cowboy culture is so integral to America, and I think it’s wonderful that Wyoming is preserving that.
Inside Pageant – What is wow in your purse?
My must-haves that I bring everywhere are lavender oil, whatever I happen to be reading at the time, and Dramamine for car sickness. You might also be surprised to know that I also usually have a set of utensils because I eat six meals a day and am always on the go.
Inside Pageant – What is the essential item that you cannot leave the house?
A pair of comfy flats. I’m currently obsessed with Fitflops.
Inside Pageant – Lastly, have a message for your fans?
You are valuable, you are worthy, and you are loved. Keep going.
Thanks Cassadra for this interview. Have a long way on the stage of Mrs America.