Mrs. Victoria advocates against substance abuse (video)
Aug. 5, 2013 at 3:05 a.m.
Updated Aug. 6, 2013 at 3:06 a.m.
A sparkling, silver crown rested on Ashley Moulton's dark blonde hair.
The 29-year-old Lancaster, Calif., native who now lives in Victoria was named Mrs. Victoria in April after applying for the competition through the Mrs. Texas pageant group.
"I feel blessed that I have the opportunity to represent Victoria the best way that I can," Moulton said. "For anyone that's paying attention, I want to make them proud that I'm representing their city."
The full-time student majoring in psychology at University of Houston-Victoria is slated to compete in the statewide competition in Corsicana on April 19.
Helping women and children transition from homes where there are alcohol and substance abuse is Moulton's chosen platform.
As a teenager, she grew up with parents who abused alcohol and other substances and who often neglected Moulton and her siblings.
"They didn't mean to neglect us, necessarily, but they did, because in the end, they were being irresponsible," Moulton said. "But I love them, and we keep in touch. My mother has always been very loving."
The chaotic environment spurred a need for change within the young teen. She left home when she was 17 years old.
After getting divorced from her first husband, whom she had started dating as a teen, a 25-year-old Moulton decided to move to Pearland, near Houston, to be closer to her father.
She started studying kinesiology at the University of Houston's main campus in 2009, took a break from school and then met her husband, Stephen Moulton, of Victoria, through an online dating service.
Their first date was at a sushi restaurant off Kirby Drive and U.S. Highway 59 in Houston.
Moulton said she remembers it well because he ordered steak.
"He does not like sushi," Moulton said through a faint chuckle. "I wanted to encourage him to try it, which he did, but he still doesn't eat it to this day."
Sitting at the kitchen table recently, Mrs. Victoria wore a dark brown, modern-cut dress while waiting to say goodbye to her husband before he headed out to work the night shift at the plant.
Moulton pulled a cold bottle of water out of the refrigerator for her husband to drink on his way to the Dow Chemical plant.
On the fridge were several photos, including one of her husband's 9-year-old daughter, Bella - one of the several reasons Moulton chose to enter the contest.
"Bella is used to getting everything she wants and needs," Moulton said. "We've been working on teaching her how to be humble and work hard for the things you want."
Moulton said she was looking for pageant contest for Bella to enter when she stumbled across a Mrs. Texas online application.
The chance to compete again was irresistible for the former high school pageant girl, but it was the opportunity to be a good role model for her stepdaughter that ultimately led her to apply, said Moulton.
"The biggest thing I'm looking forward to is just being able to make a difference with my platform," Moulton said. "I want to help young children break cycles of addiction and show them that they can get out of a bad environment if they need to."
Before she was crowned Mrs. Victoria, Moulton worked as an eye technician and was going to school part time.
Now, with the competition in sight, Moulton and her husband agreed that it would be best for her to go to school full time.
"I really want to be an inspiration to other people," Moulton said. "I want to give people some sort of motivation to do more with their lives."
After Corsicana is behind her, Moulton said she plans to continue her volunteer work at the Perpetual Help Home.
"I was going to do that regardless of the competition or not," Moulton said. "My goal is to pretty much stay involved in my community by doing whatever I can."