I had a delightful lunch with Debbye Turner Bell yesterday, and wondered if it’s a bit unique to have three friends who are former Miss Americas.

Debbye, along with Jennifer Berry Gooden, and Shawntel Smith Wuerch, are a joy to know and remind me of one another in several striking ways…

They smile a lot — Each possesses that “sparkle” factor, but not from wearing their crowns (wouldn’t that be funny, if former Miss Americas went around still wearing their crowns.) Smiling is such a wonderful gesture, and all three do this a lot when you’re in their presence.  Smiling makes every woman beautiful. I need to smile more.

They are “others-focused” — I’ve heard it said when you walk into a room you give one of two messages, either “Here I am,” or “There you are.”  These Miss Americas do the latter.

Their beauty isn’t skin-deep — The concept of “natural beauty” clearly applies here, but it’s the internal beauty marks of confidence, poise, and elegance that emanate most. 

They redefine feminine power — Femininity has various meanings, and I like how  these women represent it. Each are married to powerful men yet are achieved in their own right. They love being moms and have strong faith, with a conviction their accolades and platform mean simply being more responsible for making an impact on others.

I have dozens of other women in my life who I’d crown Miss America for the above reasons and more.  Beautiful women light up the world. Let’s all keep shining…

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Debbye Turner Bell, veterinarian, speaker, anchorwoman, correspondent for CBS

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Nathan and Jennifer Gooden, I worked with Jennifer’s dad at Deloitte when she was young, and Nathan was one of my student workers at ORU, fascinating how paths criss-cross through life.

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With Ryan and Shawntel Wuerch this Summer. 

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