“Stop Comparing Yourself to Others!” Words of Wisdom with Eve Dawes, Mrs. Nevada United States 2017

It’s so easy to look at the other competitors, especially when you’re doing events together in the lead up to the competition, but it’s the worst thing you can do. That’s when doubt sets in. Instead concentrate on your strengths, what sets you apart, why are you doing this. Be very specific in interviews and relate it back to you, what you’ve done, what you will do, and why.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Eve Dawes, Mrs. Nevada United States 2017. Eve is a social media manager, ballerina, fitness professional, WBFF Pro athlete, writer and founder of fitnessbyeve. After graduating college, she toured internationally as a dancer before finding her niche as a fitness professional. Eve’s unique combination of active leadership, allows her to empower everyone she comes into contact with. She promotes, educates and enables others to achieving their personal and physical goals and believes no dream is too big.

What is your “backstory”?

I have a diverse background, having travelled all over the World and having worked in various capacities. I was taught at a young age “If you’re not growing, your dying” which probably created by thirst for ongoing education and a desire to do more and to be more.

I was raised in a small village that taught me a sense of community. My parents always encouraged me and gave me everything I needed to pursue my dream of becoming a professional dancer; from driving me to London for classes and auditions, sending me to Summer schools and weekend enhancement classes at stage schools to enabling me to attend the best ballet schools. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t spoiled and had a great work ethic instilled in me, but I was given the opportunity to acquire the education I needed. Life as a dancer is rigorous, especially when you’re below average height (there’s always a height requirement in dance) and have mild scoliosis. However, I grew up in a country where our leaders were women (the queen and prime minister) so I was never held back by limiting ideas.

After graduating, I toured internationally as a professional dancer for over 8 years this included the Vienna Festival Ballet and musical Amalia. It was a career and lifestyle I absolutely adored. There’s nothing quite like the rush of performing to a live audience. I came to America in 2002 to teach Ballet at a stage school and ended up staying. I went on to be dance captain and lead dancer on the cruise ships before meeting my husband on a beach in Barbados.

I’d always had to stay in shape for my career but wanted to help others find a safe and healthy way to do it, this led me to Personal Training. I did my training at Premier International in London where I also gained my Sports Massage Therapist certification; I’m very much a believer in a holistic health. I continued my education back in the US doing my Yoga and Spin instructor certification at Y.A.S in Venice, CA and N.A.S.M. Personal training was limiting me to 1 on 1, so I founded the healthy lifestyle blog ‘Fitness by Eve’ to reach a wider audience. I am committed to combatting the obesity epidemic through this, my continuing work with numerous non-profit organizations, and via my Fitness Channel.

“There are no such things as limits to growth, because there are no limits to the human capacity for intelligence, imagination, and wonder” Ronald Reagan

How can I inspire and help others more? I have always strived to lead by example, so if I’m going to help others achieve their fitness goals I wanted to be role model that walks the walk. Not to be clichéd, but actions will always speak louder than words. That’s how I got into bodybuilding competitions; which isn’t the strangest transition from dancing. We have the discipline and eye for symmetry, are used to working out for long hours and perfecting poses, and love being on stage. After winning my WBFF Pro card and competing at the World Finals I needed a new challenge.

When I moved to Las Vegas I volunteered with various organizations, which is a great way to meet people and feel a sense of community. I’d hear stories from attendees of the organizations say it had taken them a long time to discover the foundation, so I wanted to raise awareness so people could get the help they needed.

So how do you connect non-profit organizations with those that need help? Pageants! On a photo shoot I heard about pageants, which are very alien to the English besides what they see on ‘Toddlers and Tiara’s’, hardly a shining endorsement, and I didn’t even realize there was a Mrs. category. The beauty of pageants is they give you a platform to talk about the issues of concerns. It wasn’t about winning it was about raising awareness and encouraging others to volunteer by showing the impact it can make. The title has never been about me, but what’s best for us, our community and beyond. Since then, I’ve won the State Service Award for outstanding community service 2 years in a row.

I didn’t win the 1st time I competed in a pageant, but it didn’t discourage me from going back to compete again. You never lose you learn: you only lose if you give up. By going back to compete again I wanted to encourage others to follow their dreams regardless of obstacles and setbacks. You can hardly be an inspirational leader if you quit at the first hurdle! I chose the United States pageant as it celebrates the contemporary modern, working, woman and gives us a voice.

Now that I’m Mrs. Nevada United States I’m making the most of my year to create momentum and expand on it; taking every opportunity to get out in our community to volunteer, speak and be a visible and active leader, and show the impact a woman in a leadership position can have. I love events and the opportunities interviews provide but even more rewarding is all of the time behind the scenes volunteering which is where the real work happens. The reign, like life, is truly what you make it.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of being involved in the pageant?

At our pageant, there weren’t any hair and makeup artists allowed backstage but I always like to change my hairstyle from swimsuit to evening gown. A good friend is an incredible hairstylist; I had planned for me to meet her at the front of house between 2 phases of the competition. Everything was going to plan, my hair look perfect; until I went to go backstage again. The door to backstage had locked behind me! We knocked until our knuckles were raw before resorting to ditching my heels, hitching up my gown, and running through the the auditorium like a crazed woman to the other side of the stage, praying that door would be unlocked and no one would see me. I imagined my name being called and yelling from the audience “Let me in!” Thankfully, it was and I made it backstage in time but that one panic stricken moment was terrifying! Needless to say I learnt how to restyle my own hair for the national Mrs. United States pageant.

Why do you think you were selected out of so many other talented candidates?

It’s easier to tell someone what you’ve done, than what you’re going to do. While you need a plan of action, your past works demonstrates that you’re not just full of empty promises but have and will continue what you’ve been doing regardless of a title. I’m passionate about all I do, when I commit to something, I commit as I believe in living a life of value and meaning.

Being a pageant queen isn’t just one dimensional; it’s the complete package, which is why we have so many rounds, which include interview, swim, gown and a final onstage question. How many other job applications make you compete in all of those?

For Interview I had the motivation, experience and a 3-fold plan. I approached the title as I would any dream job interview. I have the discipline and consistency of a ballerina, which are the same skills I utilize everyday that are ideal for a leadership position. The swimsuit round is probably my favorite. I’m a WBFF Pro Bikini Diva and this was my chance to show my commitment to living a healthy lifestyle. Evening Gown was an opportunity to show my stage presence, grace and poise of a ballerina. My background in live theatre prepared me for the final onstage question as you have to be able to think on your feet and talk from the heart.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

The majority of my time is spent working on my company Fitness by Eve and creating online custom fitness programs for clients, along with the company Sorority Specialties; the company my husband founded. It’s rewarding to see your own companies succeed.

I also work with the New York dress company Faviana. Having won Ms. Faviana last year, I collaborate with them on their Brand Ambassador program and our fitness Vlog to make health and fitness accessible to everyone and help young girls to have a positive body image.

I dedicate a lot of time to volunteering. I’m part of the planning committee for Grant a Gift Autism Foundations Annual Gala. I hosted the warm-up for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundations Climb Fundraiser in December, and will continue to teach Junior Achievements Entrepreneur programs in schools. Other ventures I’m involved with include organizing, hosting and trying to make a positive contribution.

Who are some of the most famous people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?

The day after I received my permanent resident card I was doing a ballet photo shoot on the beach in Malibu. As luck would have it, Billy Ray Cyrus was filming his music video on the same beach. Once I’d wrapped my shoot he came over and introduced himself (like I wouldn’t know who he was!) and offered me a part in his video! He and the crew were so kind; it was such a fantastic opportunity and so fortuitous not just being in the right time at the right place but having just become able to work in the US!

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?

There isn’t one particular person as I’ve been fortunate to have a whole lifetime of support and encouragement. My parents, my husband Lewis, my first ballet teacher Carol Wedon; who was the first person to have the belief that I could be a professional ballerina when I told her it was my dream at age 7. There are so many other teachers, choreographers, directors, coaches, and friends who have supported me on my journey to whom I’m grateful.

Which people in history inspire you the most? Why?

As a young girl, I was enchanted by Darcy Bussell, the principal dancer at the Royal Ballet at that time and wanted to be just like her when I grew up. I don’t necessarily feel you need someone to inspire you, but in giving others the tools they need to be their own inspiration, which is why programs such as Junior Achievements, in school, Entrepreneurship program is so invaluable.

Who do you aspire to be like one day?

Matthew Mcconaughey put this so succinctly and I couldn’t word it better myself.

“….And to my hero, that’s who I chase…it’s me in 10 years…my hero is always 10 years away. I’m never going to beat my hero. I’m not going to obtain that, I know I’m not. And that’s just fine with me because that keeps me with somebody to keep on chasing.”

Many of the issues in today’s society are because we compare ourselves to others rather than trying to be the best version of ourselves. We are all unique and have something special to offer, so I aspire to do more, be more, and to be a better wife, friend and person.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

As a public figure you have a responsibility to be conscientious of your words and actions. Being influential it’s important to use this to its greatest effect. I feel especially responsible when teaching children, so that they not only believe in themselves but also have all the tools they need to work towards their goals.

I was always afraid of public speaking but pageants have helped me find my voice and now I love public speaking; to make people aware of charities, how to volunteer, and live a healthy lifestyle.

Having a video channel in collaboration with Faviana and the opportunity to do interviews such as these, allows me to share my knowledge with a wider audience as part of my commitment to combatting the obesity epidemic; the number 1 cause of chronic illnesses.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

I struggled to answer this, as there aren’t really 5 things I wish someone had told me before I became Mrs. Nevada United States. There’s definitely a difference when you’re a Mrs. and not a younger competitor as you have life experience and know who you are. I’ve definitely learnt a lot, overcome fears and made them strengths.

1. How much time & cost would be involved. Nationals (the Mrs. United States Pageant) were less than 2 months into my reign. It was a huge time commitment to be ready in time for that: from paperwork, getting sponsors for the program ad page, flights, daily wardrobe, a state costume, gown, swimwear, shoes, hair and makeup look book, and interview prep it was quite overwhelming. Being an effective titleholder takes time, which is where my planning and organizational skills come into use.

It’s an unpaid position but you have so many expenses. I was prepared for the day-to-day expenses but had no idea how much Nationals would cost; our flights weren’t even covered. I’m so thankful to all of my sponsors such as Faviana (dresses), Makenna Barnes of MK Makeup Artistry, Hybrid Fashion, and Gaudin Porsche for helping to keep the costs under control, but the list is exhaustive. Shoes, gown, flights, food, gifts for all of the other ladies competing, hair color, extensions, tanning, nails, the list goes on and on!

2. To stop comparing yourself to others! It’s so easy to look at the other competitors, especially when you’re doing events together in the lead up to the competition, but it’s the worst thing you can do. That’s when doubt sets in. Instead concentrate on your strengths, what sets you apart, why are you doing this. Be very specific in interviews and relate it back to you, what you’ve done, what you will do, and why.

3. To turn stressed out to blessed out! It’s all a state of mind and to come from a place of gratitude. On our first day at the Mrs. United States Pageant, a motivational speaker reminded us that even when we feel overwhelmed, we chose to be there, we chose to take on these roles and to feel blessed out, not stressed out (Dale Smith Thomas).

4. How much I’d enjoy mentoring others. I’d have started a long time ago! Through Junior Achievement, I have the opportunity to volunteer teaching their entrepreneur program in schools. It’s so uplifting being able to give these kids an open mind, desire to learn, and see their creative side ignited by the possibilities of entrepreneurship through this program. Having a title has opened so many doors for me and allowed me to be more involved in so many different capacities.

5. You don’t have to fit into stereotypes. I’m not tall and I don’t have an American accent but I can be just an effective leader by being uniquely me.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this. :-)

Richard Branson. I’ve been reading “Like a Virgin. Secrets They Won’t Teach You at Business School” and really respect his work ethos, attention to customer service and making the workplace a fun environment where people have the ability to contribute and lead and not be held back. I have so many ideas but implementation is where I need help and it doesn’t get any better than the advice of this successful entrepreneur.

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