Former Ms. America seeks to serve “from the heart”
Former Ms. America Julie Harman, center, with her parents, Dan and Janis Harman, after an interview with the Midvale City Journal on Oct. 21, 2016. (The City Journals/Chris Larson)
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By Chris Larson | firstname.lastname@example.org
Things are just beginning to get started for Julie Harman.
Harman, a Midvale resident, recently passed on her crown as the 2016 Ms. America to the 2017 winner. Having concluded her time as Ms. America, Harman now looks forward to new opportunities.
“I always tried to serve from the heart with selfless service,” Harman said.
The Ms. America pageant is a service-based pageant where the winner is crowned to participate in philanthropic endeavors. Ms. America is to “use the ‘crown for a purpose’ to make a difference.”
The platform advocates self-reliance in five sectors of society: businesses, charities and nonprofits, service providers, education and politics.
Harman found herself in many of these different sectors with her many appearances. She said Ms. America Pageant winners are supposed to meet a minimum of two public appearances a month. She made over 100 appearances.
She also assisted in more than two dozen charities whereas most contestants focus their efforts on one or two organizations.
“I found a way to make it empower me and let it help me serve with my heart,” Harman said.
The Ms. America Pageant is for women 26 years old and older who are of any marital status, with or without children.
Harman is a single-mother with two daughters ages 10 and 12. She graduated from Brigham Young University—Hawaii in international cultural studies and communications in 2003. Not too long thereafter, she found herself divorced with two young daughters.
She started her own image consulting and production business called High Style Company, which grew to include clientele from international businesses to celebrities, according to highstylecompany.com.
“I had to be on my toes all the time,” Harman said. “People expect you to be available for any reason at anytime.”
One of the many lessons she learned was to “be the messenger of her own message” and exemplify her message of preparedness. That message was summarized in five points: act responsibly, be informed, create a plan, decide and deploy and encourage others.
With her many Ms. America appearances, she planned and managed the events on her own. She had to plan her own security, her own displays and presentations on top of managing all interaction with both event planners and the public. Additionally, since the Ms. America position is based on philanthropic endeavors, she was not paid by the pageant to fill her Ms. America duties and had to find sponsors to support her efforts.
“When I (was) out there being a single mom and representing women across the country as well as the women in my own pageant, I knew I needed to represent all of them as best I could,” Harman said.
Harman was recognized for her volunteer efforts with the gold President’s Volunteer Service Award, a presidential recognition for more than 500 hours of service to the community over the course of 12 months.
She was able to put her message to work firsthand when she was on her way to speak at PrepperCon convention in April. She came across a head-on collision near the WinCo Foods in Midvale. She was the first responder at the scene where the airbags in both cars had deployed.
Both cars were transporting young girls. For one of the little girls, it was her birthday as well as a day where she needed to give a presentation.
“She even still had her cards in her hand,” Harman recalled. “That could have been one of my girls.”
She used her Ms. America crown to help calm one of the girls traumatized by the accident.
“This is why it is so important to be prepared and have those tools and skills to respond to each other when in need,” Harman said.
Looking to the future, she plans to merge her business with a tech company that focuses on 3D printing. She believes that 3D printing will have a major impact on both national and local economies.
She also plans to host her own empowerment events to help people who are weighed down with negativity or emotional instability.
Harman said that charity and service was a major part of who she was before she became Ms. America and plans to continue helping local efforts that “do so much good.”