ZHIIBAAHAASING FIRST NATION—On Thursday, September 14 members of the community of Zhiibaahaasing gathered at the community complex to support and encouraged a band member to reach for the stars.
Mekayla Eppers, Mrs. America 2018, came home to talk about her journey and her latest pageant. When asked if she would be attending different speaking engagements she said, “I’ll be able to travel a little bit, to the states around Indiana because I can drive to them really quick, but my main focus will be preparing for Mrs. World.”
She quickly added that she is scheduled for different speaking engagements around the US and she will be hosting a few different events like a fashion show this coming weekend. She was excited to be emcee for this particular fashion designer.
After a few basic questions the floor was opened up for community members to ask questions. When asked what kinds of gifts she received for winning her title she said, “it wasn’t clear when I started, other than the crown and the sash. I received a number of gifts. A beautiful fur coat, three purses that are Swarovski crystals, a camera, necklaces, gowns and dresses. Over the next little while she will be receiving more gifts, from the amazing sponsors of Mrs. America. She joked that, “I had to buy an extra suitcase to get home with all my gifts, from Las Vegas.”
When asked who inspired her to run for Mrs. America, Ms. Eppers said, “my mom first put me on the stage when I was five years-old, she was a runway model. I hated it and she actually had to carry me down the runway. I started dancing. I wanted to go to college or university, which is expensive so someone suggested, doing pageants. When I was 12 I started doing them a lot and I ended up graduating from college debt free, due to a scholarship I won.”
She was then asked by a community member if she thought anything could stop her. “Your limits are only what you think they are. You are usually your biggest limitation.”
Mrs. Eppers will be attending Mrs. World in Johannesburg, Africa on December 16, 2018. She will be there for 18 days prior to the Mrs. World pageant.
When asked when she and her husband will have children, she replied, “as a lot of you may know if you follow me on Facebook, my husband Chris and I got married two years ago in 2015. He told me in November 2015 he wanted to start a family and I was very excited about that. In February he was diagnosed with cancer, it was a curable cancer but we had a lot of trips to chemo and doctor’s appointments. So we are currently waiting to figure out his fertility, or else we’d have two kids by now.”
Mrs. America’s husband is fundraising to join her in South Africa for a week, while she is on location in competition. She was very relaxed and said, “I love coming home to Manitoulin, it’s a chance to recharge, unplug and just focus on what need to be done in the future. It feels great knowing I have friends, family and community supporting and encouraging me. It’s like I can’t lose!”