Charity Stowers, Miss Kansas United States, is competing for a bigger crown July 1-7 in Washington, D.C.

Charity Stowers, Miss Kansas United States, is competing for a bigger crown July 1-7 in Washington, D.C.  The local woman is vying to become the next Miss U.S.
She recently hosted a fundraising party in Leavenworth. In this Q5, she talks more about her life, career competing in beauty pageants, and messages of physical fitness and overcoming obstacles she tries to impart on young women.

1.Charity, what was it like when you heard your name announced as the new Miss Kansas United States 2014? Was this the culmination of a lifelong dream?
"Well, as I heard the names called for fourth runner-up, third runner-up, and then second runner-up and my name was not yet called, I began to wonder that I did not place at all. That's when I heard my name announced and I was immediately shocked and overwhelmed with joy. I feel so blessed and honored to have this title.
"I do plan to compete in future pageants, however they will have to be for women who are married because I plan to get married in the near future. In fact, my wedding date was set for this summer, July 19, 2014. I competed in the Miss United States as my final chance to chase my dream of winning a Miss pageant title. So yes, winning was a dream come true."

2. What got you interested in competing in beauty pageants, how many have you participated in and how do you prepare for a pageant?
"I've always been very competitive and  I love to challenge myself and step outside my comfort zone. I competed as a Division I athlete for the University for Kansas track and field program for four years, but pageantry was a new area of competition for me. I competed in my first pageant in 2013 at the Miss Kansas USA pageant. It was there that I heard about the Miss United States pageant and decided to compete. This was my third time participating in a pageant. I guess it's true what they say, 'third time's a charm.' But honestly, I believe everything happens in God's perfect timing and I believe it was my time.
"I prepare for pageants predominately with time in the gym. I love to maintain a healthy physical physique that will inspire others to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Also, I perform mock interviews with family, friends, and my pageant coach, Lisa Forbes. Lisa has been instrumental with helping me nail that sexy, confident, and graceful walk that owns the stage."

3. How did your passion for educating our nation's youth on the importance of developing proper eating habits and a healthy physical fitness regime come about?
"It began when I had to write a paper on the increasing rates of childhood obesity in the USA for a paper in my Master's of Health Services and Administration program at the University of Kansas Medical Center.
"The Center for Disease Control reports that 'childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years.'
“And in 2012, more than one-third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.
“I'm very passionate about this cause because the children are our future and if this problem is not addressed it will only continue to render negative long-term implications on our population health and health care costs.
“I do not want an unhealthy America."

4.What do you plan to do with your degrees in human biology and health services administration? And, can you tell us about your plans to open a web-based business geared toward educating others on how to develop a healthy lifestyle?
"I plan to continue to work as a personal trainer, as well as invest even more in myself by going back to school and acquiring a degree in nutrition.
“I believe the two go hand in hand and you can't out exercise a bad diet.
“In the future, I would like to start a web-based business focusing on providing educational tools on how to properly strength train and develop a healthy diet with healthy tips and recipes.
“A web-based system was a great tool to use in order to help me reach as many people as possible."

5. With your recent pageant win and your academic achievements, what do you hope to inspire in young girls who have big dreams, but who may be struggling to overcome obstacles?
"I hope to inspire young girls to never give up. I want young princesses to know they can truly achieve anything they set their minds to. I want young girls to understand that defeat is only a mindset and you're only defeated when you tell yourself you are. We become a product of our thoughts. I want our nation of youth, especially young girls, to push through every obstacle and only allow those milestones to become stepping stones for success.
"We are all destined for greatness, and it starts with believing in oneself to do the unthinkable and dream big."