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At Mrs Texas pageant, mothers and wives get chance to shine

By APRILL BRANDON
March 22, 2010 at 4:05 p.m.
Updated March 21, 2010 at 10:22 p.m.

Natalie McLarty, Mrs. Victoria International 2010, will be competing at the end of the month for the title of Mrs. Texas International.

The Mrs. Texas International pageant will be March 28 at Scottish Rite Auditorium in San Antonio.

To vote for Natalie McLarty as an audience favorite or to see other Mrs. Texas contestants, go to www.mrstexasinternational.com.

Natalie McLarty is a married mother of four children. She's also a busy Victoria businesswoman.

And at 38 years old, she also just happens to be the reigning Mrs. Victoria International.

Unlike many other pageant competitions, which have age and marital status restrictions, the Mrs. International pageant system celebrates married women and mothers who range in age from 21 to 56 and focuses on the contestants' community service, McLarty said.

"This pageant system celebrates the accomplishments of married women and their desire to be community service oriented," she added. "That drive to not only have a family and a career but to make a difference in the community as well is what initially drew me to it."

On March 28, McLarty will compete against 37 other contestants for the title of Mrs. Texas. The winner of that title will then compete in the Mrs. International pageant later this year.

"Sure, my family and friends think it's crazy, but it's OK. It's given me goals and something to look forward to," McLarty said.

As a part of her title as Mrs. Victoria, McLarty worked for the past several months on her platform, which is "Get Fit, Stay Fit for Life." As a part of that platform, McLarty attends numerous local events to promote awareness of heart disease and other ailments associated with an unhealthy lifestyle. She has worked with Citizens Medical Center's HealthWise educational program.

"My family has a history of heart disease and knowing that history, it's important for me to be an example to my children and family so they won't have to suffer the same outcomes," she said. "It's my personal goal to inspire my family and friends and anyone else I can."

Above all else, McLarty said she wants to use this opportunity as Mrs. Victoria to inspire women of all ages to go after their dreams.

"As a woman, it's hard to put yourself out there," she said. "So this is all about inspiring other women to follow their dreams, no matter what age, married or not. Nothing should stop them from being what they want to be."

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