While many little girls playing dress-up dream of wearing a real crown one day, for local mom, Elaine Espinola Keltz, this dream became a reality she won the title of Mrs. D.C. America in March. But, her life isn’t all sashes and ball gowns. Aside from making appearances at countless charity events, she has a high-level direct sales position and is a stay-at-home mom to her three children.
Keltz stopped working full-time after the birth of her second child. She is currently living in Loudoun County, VA, with her husband, Billy, and her children Jaden, 8, Nina, 6, and Alyssa, 5.
“I often say, I stopped ‘working’ and really ‘STARTED’ working! Staying at home with the kids is an entirely different set of arduous tasks. It can be mentally, emotionally and physically draining,” Keltz says. “Small children are needy, of course, and I spent the first five years in my pajamas, picking up Cheerios, changing diapers and tending to all their needs — many times, for all three of them at the same time.”
Aside from the duties of motherhood, Keltz is also a ZumbaKids instructor and a top-level presenter for a direct sales cosmetics company. She works “consistently and constantly,” often logging time on her iPhone, iPad and home office. “I weave my work through the day around my family,” Keltz says. “There are those times I have to force myself to close everything down, though. Also, I involve my children every chance I get. My girls know everything there is to know about 3D mascara because they have had fun with me at various events while I am selling it.”
Keltz had never considered a pageant until someone approached her about the opportunity to compete in Mrs. D.C. America. Despite the nerves and newness of the pageant world, she decided to go for it and took the challenge head on. She was excited about the prospect of representing married women in the city she loved.
“While I live in a suburb outside of D.C., my connection to D.C. is where my heart is,” Keltz explains. “It is where I had my career, my first apartment, where I met my husband, where we were married and where my children were born.”
Keltz competed against eight other women on the platform of “Empowerment Through Entreprenuership.” She won the title of Mrs. D.C. America, also walking out with the coveted Fitness and Sponsorship Awards. Keltz plans to compete in the Mrs. America pageant this month in Las Vegas.
“Although I am new to pageantry, I have embraced it whole-heartedly and I feel so confident in who I am, what I believe in and what I have to offer as a representative for married women from our nation’s great capitol,” Keltz says.
What do you like most about living in the D.C. area?
I LOVE everything about it! The international environment, the politics, the family-friendly atmosphere…there is so much to do with families!
Can you describe an average day in your life?
The average day in my life is busy. In the summer, I wake up with the kids, have a healthy breakfast and head to [the gym]. My kids love it there. I get to work out and then we usually stay for lunch and hit the pool. Each day is somewhat different with play dates or fun excursions. I love to be active with the kids — parks, hikes, picnics, museums — you name it, we’ve been there! I also have a business, so I spend time on that each day as well. The best part about my business is that I work it into my schedule and can take/receive calls, messages and orders on my phone anytime.
What kind of preparation goes into competing in beauty pageants? Did you take classes?
My focus on preparing for the Mrs. D.C. America Pageant and now the Mrs. America pageant is being in the best mental, emotional and physical shape I can be. If being in your bathing suit on a stage in front of a lot of people doesn’t motivate you, I don’t know what would! Joking aside, it feels amazing to be 38, having had three children and being in the best physical shape of my life. I didn’t take classes or get a pageant coach; I really just focus on being my most authentic self. I most definitely do not consider pageantry a competition with other women. I consider it a celebration of women— all different, all unique and all beautiful in many different ways. My only goal is to present my very best self, not only during a pageant, but at all times.
How did you choose your platform, “Empowerment Through Entrepreneurship?”
I have always enjoyed working with, supporting, and connecting women, and that is what I encourage and want to promote to our community. Women are the backbone to our society. We are intelligent, multi-tasking, creative and compassionate beings capable of anything. One woman can make a big difference in the lives of many. When women support and lift each other up, well, that is powerful thing.
How will you continue to promote your platform?
I continue to promote my platform by supporting women in small businesses locally. I network with women, I connect women, and encourage women every chance I get. It is honest, it is real, and I hope it is uplifting.
What did winning the Mrs. D.C. America Pageant mean to you?
It is such an honor and I don’t take it for granted. Winning the Fitness Award was honestly a very big surprise to me, as there wasn’t much emphasis placed on that award, so I didn’t even realize it was an option. It was a wonderful surprise. Although I didn’t work hard to win that specific award, I did work very hard on my overall fitness as I prepared, so it was a wonderful acknowledgment. The Sponsorship Award is one that I was really excited to win, because it allowed me to give 10 percent of all the advertisement sponsorship money I brought in to my charity of choice. I was so glad to present a charitable contribution to the Touching Heart Foundation. It is a fantastic, local non-profit founded by Helen Yi, with her daughter, which encourages young children to learn the joy of giving.
What was your favorite thing about competing in this pageant?
My favorite thing about competing in this pageant was how proud my husband was of me, not when I won, but during the whole process. He was supportive, encouraging and excited for me in a whole new way, since this was a whole new experience for the both of us.
How are you preparing for the Mrs. America pageant?
I will pursue the Mrs. America pageant in much of the same way I entered into the Mrs. D.C. America pageant — focusing on being my most authentic self and presenting myself with grace, poise and eloquence.
Abby Short is a multimedia journalist from Reston, VA. Aside from writing and editing articles, Abby loves finding new shows to watch on Netflix, exploring D.C. museums and going to concerts. Check out her online portfolio at https://abigailshort.wordpress.com/.