Friday, August 03, 2007

An Officer and a Beauty Queen
Portland native Joelle Rankins Goodwin will vie for the title of Mrs. Oregon, a statewide pageant for married women, held this October in Clackamas.

By Sarah Blount The Portland Observer
Portland native supplements army career with pageantry. Joelle Rankins Goodwin has spent most of her career as a military intelligence officer in the United States Army, but none of that prepared her for her first experience parading in front of 200 people while wearing a swimsuit.From soldier to assistant professor at the University of Oregon to beauty queen, this Major focused her sights on winning the title Mrs. Oregon 2008 - a statewide competition for married women taking place this October in Clackamas. Goodwin, 43, a former Rose Festival princess from Lincoln High School, currently holds the title of Mrs. Eugene America 2007. She says it took guts to join the pageant life."Entering into a pageant is kind of like being an athlete and training yourself," she said. "I think it takes a lot of courage just to get up on the stage. It takes confidence, and that's not something I'm lacking."While it may seem unusual for a Major to compete as a beauty queen, Goodwin says military affiliations are not uncommon in the pageantry world. "I'm surprised with how many people are associated with the military," she said. "You find a lot of respect for military members."Goodwin has been married three years to her husband Bob. Between the pair they have three children: Ian, 12, Daniela, 10 and Sam, 17.Last year, Goodwin came very close to winning the title of Mrs. Oregon 2007, until she reached the obligatory onstage interview portion. That's the part of the pageant where contestants must think quickly on their feet to answer an open-ended question. "If you could be president for a day," the interviewer asked, "what would you do?" Goodwin said that being president didn't mean waving a magic wand to make war and sickness go away."I'd take my day to enjoy the White House and take it all in," she answered.But in the end, her response was no match for the following contestant, who Goodwin said gave an answer that was spot-on. Contestant Kimberly Takla said she'd wave the so-called wand anyway, magically making sickness and war go away. Sickness did not go away that evening, but Takla did become Mrs. Oregon 2007. Goodwin finished as first runner-up. Having been bested by magic, Goodwin is trying for the crown and banner again for the 2008 title. This time she is preparing by sculpting her body with the help of a personal trainer and honing her interview skills through a membership with Toastmasters International. Toastmasters, a club where you make speeches to be critiqued by fellow members. Goodwin and her husband joined the UO branch in January, where she's been working on limiting the "uh" factor in her speeches. "I feel even more confident this year," she said. If she succeeds in winning the Mrs. Oregon title, Goodwin will then take an expenses-paid trip to Nationals. After that, she may get to represent married women throughout the world. Goodwin has another reason to aspire for the domestic and international titles. "I'm not sure there has ever been a woman of color to win Mrs. Oregon, and I don't think there's ever been an African American Mrs. America," she said. "I'd love to be the first."This year's Mrs. Oregon pageant takes place Saturday, Oct. 6 at Clackamas High School.

Copyright 2004, Portland Observer

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