Before her pageant career began, Monique Evans, reigning Miss Texas 2014, never imagined she would be able to effortlessly deliver a speech, much less deliver speeches to large audiences on a daily basis.
Evans, who is pursuing a degree in nutritional sciences from Texas, plans on applying to medical schools to become an osteopathic physician in preventative and integrated medicine.
She began competing in pageants in 2011 and has since earned the titles of Miss Austin 2011, Miss Hunt County 2012, Miss Dallas 2013, Miss Park Cities 2014 and Miss Texas 2014. She recently competed for the Miss America 2015 title in September and placed in the top 16 as a semifinalist.
“Competing has made me lose my shyness and really come to enjoy public speaking, but what has kept me in the pageant system is all the community service work,” Evans said. “It gives you a warm feeling in your heart.”
Taylor Oglesby met Evans as sophomore when they both joined the Alpha Delta Pi sorority, and they have been close friends since. Oglesby said Evans is a perfect fit for Miss Texas.
“One thing I really admire about Monique is that she cares so much about everyone, and she always finds the time to help you,” Oglesby said. “Being Miss Texas allows her to help and care for so many people.”
Evans is now on a year-long speaking tour of Texas, which includes over 300 appearances at festivals and schools throughout the state. To fulfill the busy schedule her job demands, Evans was obligated to take a year off from school.
“When my parents asked if taking a year off from school was something I really wanted to do, I immediately said yes,” Evans said. “There is so much more to be gained this year than to be lost, and I just couldn’t pass up this opportunity.”
At her speaking engagements, Evans stresses the importance of healthy eating habits and exercise as preventative measures against heart disease under her platform “Remember Your Heart: One Beat at a Time.”
“What I really want to do this year is focus on our next generation and try to encourage them to take the little steps in the day to be healthier,” Evans said.
During Evans’ freshman year in college, her father survived a heart attack he had while jogging. That incident, along with her brother being born with a heart condition, prompted Evans’ heart-healthy campaign and influenced her decision to pursue a career in preventative medicine.
“My brother’s condition was genetic, but my father’s heart attack could have been prevented,” Evans said. “Watching what my brother has endured all his life and witnessing my dad’s recovery inspired me to work to help others live healthy lives to prevent heart disease.”
Leigh Allen, Evans’ coach and friend, met Evans in 2012 while judging the Miss Dallas pageant and said she instantly fell in love with Evans’ engaging personality.
“Monique is really special, and one of the greatest things about her is her humility,” Allen said. “She is more concerned for others than herself, and she has made her life about serving the community.”
According to Evans, while her job as Miss Texas is not as glamorous as many people assume it is, she loves it all the same.
“You are on the road a lot, meeting many different people and attending hundreds of events,” Evans said. “It is a tough job, but is also an extremely rewarding job, and I would not change it for the world.”