Sacramento Bee/Florence Low
It's too early for most of us to be wearing a swimsuit - let alone on a stage! - but Saturday afternoon, Tracie Stafford (shown above), the current Mrs. Sacramento Valley, will be strutting her stuff in a tropical, bright-yellow one-piece as a contestant in the Mrs. California pageant at the Radisson.
She'll also be wearing an evening gown, an interview suit and an opening-number music/dance routine outfit.
Tracie, 40, is married and has four children. She's also the founder and president of her own business, Exceptional Events, which focuses on event marketing and planning.
As busy as she is, I was curious how she found the time to gather the pieces of her pageant wardrobe. I also wondered if she's nervous about the competition, which, if she wins, means she'll represent the Golden State in the Mrs. United States pageant in Las Vegas this July.
"Well, I found out after competing in a couple of other pageants that bright colors and more-fitted apparel works best," says Tracie over coffee at the Tower Cafe. "Now, I have the right interview suit (a St. John Knits), a great gown that shows off more of my figure, and a swimsuit I feel comfortable wearing."
As for the opening-number dress, Tracie found one, ordered it and when she went to try it on, it basically "fell apart on me." So she's wearing something from her own closet.
She traveled from Sacramento to the Bay Area, and beyond, to find the perfect evening gown. She found one she liked, but it was blue - "Not a good color for me." The store had a shade she liked, but the wrong size. Ordering wouldn't work because it wouldn't get here in time.
"Nothing is easy for me!" Tracie says. "I almost backed out at this point."
Then, she found herself at House of Fashion in midtown. Hanging on a rack was a fabulous bronze-y/gold gown, lightly beaded, with a mermaid bottom.
"It was perfect," she says.
"The evening gown was tough because, for a pageant, it's all about walking and standing, not sitting," she says. "It needs to look good and feel good."
Add to the wardrobe four pairs of shoes and, of course, "butt glue," which is mandatory pageant paraphernalia.
Because no one is allowed backstage, Tracie has a makeup artist coming early to help with hair and makeup. And get this - her husband, Bryan, gets to strutt his own stuff when he escorts Tracie during the evening gown competition.
"I think he wants to be Mr. California," she says.
In a freak incident on Monday, Tracie's youngest child, age 4, accidentally bopped her in the mouth with a TV remote. It cut her lip - although not seriously.
"All the time I'm bleeding, my husband is shouting, 'What about the pageant?,' "
All's well, though. Tracie has been prepping for every aspect, including possible topics for the two questions she'll have to answer on stage. (The all-important judges' interview, which is tonight, counts for 50 percent of the contestants' scores.) She's even working with a trainer/nutritionist. Sounds fun!!!
The pageant is at 2 p.m. Saturday. The Radisson Hotel is at 550 Leisure Lane, in Sacramento. Tickets are $15 at the door.
Stay tuned to this space. We'll let you know how Tracie does and if the Mrs. United States pageant will have a representative from Sacramento!