Still Chasing the Crown: Karen

Still Chasing the Crown: Karen
"Pageants are a major focus in my life," says Karen. She was recently crowned Ms. Plus American
Elegance, after working seven years to win the title. "Next to my family, pageants are my life."
The mom and wife says every time she goes shopping, she looks for clothing she can wear in a pageant. Holding up a black dress with silver sequins she says, "This is my $900 evening gown that I've never been able to wear because it's too small."
Karen also shows off a variety of accessories she wears when she competes. "Jewelry has t
o be very sparkly. The more rhinestones, the better," she says.
The biggest obstacle for Karen is saving enough money. "I skipped two mortgage payments in order to compete in a pageant," she reveals. "There have been times when I have wondered whether we have the money to buy new shoes, clothes for the kids."
"I will ask Karen, ‘Can we afford this?' She's always said, ‘Yes,'" says Brian, Karen's husband.
"I've had to get very creative with financing to pay for pageant stuff," Karen says. When airfare, meals, hotel rooms, entry fees and wardrobe costs are accounted for, pageants can cost close to $2,000. But that hasn't slowed Karen down. "I did five pageants a year for a couple years in a row. They are addictive. I love competing in pageants, and I don't want to stop."

Dr. Phil asks Karen about the title of Ms. Plus American Elegance that she spent seven years working to earn.

"It's a pageant for plus-size women, and just because people are plus-size, I don't feel that means they need to stick their head in the ground and not feel attractive and worthwhile," she explains.

"What did you win when you won this?" Dr. Phil asks.

"I won the crown and the banner, the honor of representing the American Elegance pageant system which has a strong focus on community service," she says.

"They're a for-profit organization, right?" Dr. Phil asks.

"I would imagine," Karen replies.

"How many people were in the pageant you won?" Dr. Phil asks.

"There were 21," she says.

Dr. Phil points out that with 21 people paying $500 each, the company that puts on the pageant makes a lot of money.

"What have you done with your title and your crown?" Dr. Phil asks Karen.

"I have actually worked to promote my platform which is erasing the stigma of mental illness," she says, noting that she works in the field of mental health.

"How did you come down on the mental health side when you were so involved in this that you skipped house payments to buy a dress?" Dr. Phil asks.

"You have no idea how bad I felt about that," she says.


"Do you think you would use the word obsessed?" Dr. Phil asks.

"Yes," she replies. "I don't think I'm as far into it now as I was in the beginning, because right now I'm only competing in one pageant a year, due to finances."


"But if you had more money, you would do more," Dr. Phil says. Karen agrees. "When you win those [pageants] what do you say to yourself when you get in the car?"

"Hot dog, I won. I accomplished what I came to do," she says.


"You're not going to skip anymore house payments for dresses?" Dr. Phil asks.

"I've learned my lesson," Karen says.