You may know Misty Coolidge as a New Gloucester entrepreneur, a passionate volunteer, and a dedicated mother, who along with her husband is raising their three children. She is the owner of not one but two businesses, a wedding venue named Coolidge Family Farm and Maine Mixologists, a mobile bar service. In January of this year, Misty was awarded the title of Mrs. Maine 2021. In July, she had the opportunity to travel to Omaha, Nebraska to compete for Mrs. USA 2021. It was there that she was crowned the United States Service Ambassador.
The title came as a surprise to Misty. “Honestly, I didn’t have any idea. All the women were equally deserving. They are all so kind and generous with their time in their communities,” Misty recalled. When her name was announced, Misty was proud to be winning a national title, “You just feel honored to be standing with the other women, and sharing that spotlight,” she said.
Misty said she was crowned with a borrowed crown because the business owner who provides new crowns for the pageant was stricken with the COVID virus and was not able to provide new crowns in time.
After spending several hours conducting a wedding at Coolidge Family Farm, on Monday, Aug. 2, Misty received a wonderful surprise. “I got home around 11:30 p.m. I unpacked my van and let the dogs out at 12:30 a.m. I got the mail, and I saw the box. It was the crown from the director, and I screamed! I wore it all night. I sat in my office and wore it while I was working all morning,” Misty said.
Misty was awarded this title because of her steadfast commitment to community service. She volunteers at the Good Shepherd Food Bank in Lewiston/Auburn to fight food insecurity, an issue that she has experienced first-hand while growing up in Fairfield. She remembers what it was like when she was a child and her family struggled to put food on the table while many of her friends often received money from their parents to go and buy whatever food they wanted.
“There is shame that comes with that,” Misty observed. “I want to inspire people, especially kids, and show them they can rise above those circumstances and live a better life if they choose.” Winning this national title will enable Misty to do a great deal of traveling across the U.S., as she has been invited to attend fashion shows and events to represent different designer brands, while using her status to be an advocate to fight hunger wherever she goes.
Misty plans to visit Feeding America food banks to help the fight against food insecurity. There are as many as 600 of these food banks, which include the Great Shepherd Food Bank here in Maine.
On Sept. 11, she traveled to New York City to walk on the runway at New York Fashion Week for three designers, including That’s My Dress, The Parachute Goddess Project, which makes skirts out of old parachutes, and Venturini Couture. Super Models Unlimited Magazine in California reached out to Misty and asked if she would be interested in walking in the 21st anniversary runways show in Hollywood on Oct. 9. While in Hollywood, Misty volunteered at a local foodbank. In November, she went to Las Vegas for a wedding convention show and volunteered at a food bank there as well.
She plans to choose two different states in December to visit and volunteer in. Her husband, Peter deBear, works for American Airlines at Portland International Jetport. Misty said she will be able to utilize free air travel to make her mission even more possible.
Misty explained that her journey to becoming the United States Service Ambassador began last winter when she began to research different pageants. When she found the Worldwide USA Pageant, it appealed to her. It was open to women of different ages and body shapes. It also placed an emphasis on the contestants’ commitment to community service to make a difference in the lives of others.
She was coached by Crystal Cavey of Illinois, who is the reigning Mrs. Galaxy and has won nine titles. Crystal helped Misty pick out the right wardrobe to wear during the pageant and to hone her interview technique. “It’s kind of like politics. It’s all how you answer your questions. Having run for office twice I know that to be true,” Misty said.
Misty learned that contestants have to work as hard as they can to win “from the time you get on the plane to the time you fly home. . . We are judged on our overall qualities, especially the confidence and how you carry yourself as a person and your grace. You have to show that you can carry yourself well and represent this national system over the next year,” Misty explained.
Misty plans to run for Mrs. Worldwide in July 2022. She will start training for that pageant in January.
When asked why she chooses to compete in pageants, given the fact that she has a husband, three young children, and two thriving businesses, Misty replied, “I love the doors that holding a title opens for you. Look where I came from and look what I am doing now.”