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"And the winner is…"
by Andrea Tyrell
Oct 02, 2013 | 1529 views | 0 0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Holly Mitchell, a Sparks native, won Mrs. 50 US Universal 2013 in June.
Holly Mitchell, a Sparks native, won Mrs. 50 US Universal 2013 in June.
Holly Mitchell couldn't believe it. "Did they just call my name?" she thought to herself. It finally hit her when the pageant director placed the crown on her head- Mitchell won Mrs. 50 US Universal 2013.

Mitchell grew up wanting to be Miss America. Although she got married right out off high school to her sweetheart, Dan, and quickly, became a mother, Mitchell still dreamed of entering pageants. She entered Mrs. Nevada in 1992, but did not place. A few years passed by and Mitchell thought about reentering the pageant world. She researched the Universal competition and applied. The judges were impressed with her application. Mitchell traveled to Fort Collins, Colo. in June and won her age division.

"It was surreal when I won," said Mitchell. "My pageant director kept on telling me, 'don't cry or your make-up will run.'

The contest included a talent portion where Mitchell twirled a baton.

"I've been twirling the baton since I was eight years old," said Mitchell. "I taught baton on Richards Way."

Mitchell also paraded stage in a swimsuit for the lifestyle portion and was questioned by the judges about her platform.

"it was so nerve-wracking!" laughed Mitchell. "You're trying to speak your mind but you're head is thinking this and that. it takes a lot of focus."

Her philanthropy platform focused on building a better community and included the issue of elderly abuse. "Working in law, I've unfortunately seen it happen to some people. I don't think people are aware of it and the forms it takes: physical, financial, emotional," said Mitchell. Mitchell also formed Stilettos Stepping Up, a organization that helps those who been affected by domestic violence.

Her sparkly blue evening gown was custom made by George Gabrielle Couture in Salt Lake City.

"I'm 50 years old. I don't have a twenty year's old body," said Mitchell. "I found this great designer in Utah who made everything according to my wishes. I wanted it to fit well, to be sparkly and of course, blue."

Her dress designer mailed her swatches of fabric and Mitchell sent in her measurements, making sure that the dress fit perfectly.

As a part of her Mrs. 50 Universal responsibilities, Mitchell makes two to four appearances a month at different events around the country.

"My sash and crown opens doors," said Mitchell. "I'm a real person. People are surprised when I tell that I won Mrs. 50 Universal. I know that I'm not a traditional beauty queen and people are able to relate to me."

Born and raised in Sparks, Mitchell loves the city's small town feel.

"Despite being a transient town, Sparks is very family orientated," said the Reed High School graduate. "We are very caring community. If anyone is looking for help, you can post something on Facebook and 20 people will respond, offering to help. I love it."

Mitchell currently works as a paralegal but would eventually like to judge pageants. Mitchell encourages women of every ages to participate in pageants.

"You don't have to be a cookie cutter beauty queen in order to be in a pageant," said Mitchell. "You're never too old to follow your dreams. Don't lost yourself in it. Remember to be yourself."

Not only do pageants provide some kind of financial benefit, pageants also help build self esteem and confidence for a participant of any age, according to Mitchell.

"Don't let age, circumstance or anything else get in your way," said Mitchell. "The only thing that can keep you from reaching your dream is you."

For more information about the United States Universal pageants, visit

Favorite Sparks event: the Best in the West Rib Cook Off

Favorite Sparks restaurant: Ernie's All-

Favorite book: "a Time to Kill" by John Grisham

Her words to live by: "Follow your heart and treat other how you want to be treated"
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