Virginia May Mulrooney. Beyond Beauty. Mrs. Tennessee 2017

**HOMETOWN | Atlanta | Married | Lives in Tennessee

Interviewed by : Kim Vaughn. Mrs. Georgia America 1995. Mrs. Georgia International 2003. Pageant and Image Professional Consultant.

Photo Courtesy by Steven Paul Whitsitt Photography

Winning Mrs. Tennessee America 2017 is not your first time round in pageant competition. When did you first compete and why?

After a long battle with brain lupus where I was bedridden for four years, unable to walk without the use of an electric wheelchair and cane, and lost most of my muscle and hair, I was determined to reclaim my life, health, and vitality. I chose to run in the Mrs. America system to do so. My husband's work brought our family back to Atlanta for two years, so I competed for Mrs. Georgia America in 2015. It was one of the best decisions that I have ever made. I truly believe this sole decision saved my life.


What was it about the Mrs. America program that attracted you to compete? As the longest standing Mrs. pageant in history, I was drawn to the Mrs. America program because of their elegance, professionalism, sophistication, class, and history. The women that compete in this system inspired and encouraged me like no other. I am so proud and honored to be a representative in the Mrs. America organization.

You have struggled with lupus and also with Sjogren. What do you think the advantages are in living with chronic deseases? I was diagnosed with systemic lupus at the age of thirty-six shortly after the birth of our seventh child. The advantages of living with a chronic illness are numerous. Increase patience in and empathy,  unyielding determination and drive, a passion and an appreciation for the preciousness of life to just name a few. But most importantly, a unique ability to relate with others that are facing life's challenges, whether big or small, and the honor of being used to encourage them and offer them hope.

 

Beyond Beauty Co Hosts: Peiru Kim of Sugarcoat. Sarai Trammell.NARS Cosmetics. Angelina Wong. Maquet Getinge Group. Pitter Goughnour. Pitter Productions Ink Photography and Mrs. Kim Vaughn. Image and Pageant Consultant and Interviewer for Mrs. Tennessee America 2017.

Resilience, tenacity and determination are some of the characteristics in winning the crown.  How do you stay focus while influencing others? I stay focused while influencing others by asking God for balance, wisdom, and guidance each day and by being extremely organized, disciplined with my schedule and my surroundings. By doing this, I allow time to reach out to others in my community while at the same time pursuing my own dreams. I also strongly believe that it is of great importance to be a good example to my children of loving, serving, and caring for others in need. Children are most happy when they are focused on giving and not always on receiving.
 

What is your message when you win to the married women in America? My message to all those facing life's challenges, struggles, and trials is to stay strong and never lose hope. I know what it feels like to be in a very deep dark valley. With the love of God, family, friends, and community one can find the support, strength, and power to follow their dreams despite their challenges.

Life is worth living and each one of us was created with a very unique purpose and plan. I believe that people are precious and beautiful and all have important roles to play in our world regardless of perceived limitations. Perceived limitations are really just powerful tools in disguise, so use them, embrace them, and change yourself and the world with them. 

 Virginia with her husband david who she married at 19 years old and their seven children.

Virginia with her husband david who she married at 19 years old and their seven children.

You have been married for 27 years to your college sweetheart and together, you’ve given birth to seven children and you have chosen to home school them.How do you balance a strong marriage, having 7 children and dealing with chronic illnesses? Because of my deep love for God, my husband, and children, my family is always my first priority in life. This reality keeps me focused on what matters most. However, by taking care of myself spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally, I am better able to balance my marriage, my role as mom to seven, and my chronic illness. I would like to add, a chronic illness can be a powerful tool in changing one and the world around them for the better. I have chosen to embrace this tool and be empowered by it, not victimized by it.


A chronic illness can be a powerful tool in changing one and the world around them for the better. I have chosen to embrace this tool and be empowered by it, not victimized by it.
— Virginia May Mulrooney

What are the greatest challenges facing today’s contemporary women? We women are so blessed in today's society with so many opportunities both professionally and personally. It is a very exciting time for us. I do believe, however, the greatest challenges are prioritizing what's most important and having wisdom enough to achieve balance and harmony in one's life.  I think a pattern of consistent reflection, through prayer and meditation, bring clarity and simplicity to one's life and is crucial to maintaining balance.

We women are so blessed in today’s society with so many opportunities both professionally and personally.

You recently met with the UT head football Coach and his team. Tell us how that came about and what that experience was like for you? Our sons, William and Jackson, our huge university of Tennessee football fans. For many years I have dreamed of winning the title of Mrs. Tennessee America. I would chuckle to myself many times as to how wonderful it would be for my boys to meet Coach Butch Jones if I ever won. When I get something in my head, it is pretty hard to stop me. So, I sent Coach Jones' assistant an email introducing myself and telling him about my sons and my desire for them to meet him. I then proceeded to attach photos of myself with Governor Haslam at our state Capitol, speaking before all thirty-three senators on the Senate floor, and my son and I hanging out with Hall of Fame former University of Tennessee football coach Phil Fulmer. I think it was the photo of Coach Fulmer that sealed the deal!

It was a great honor and pleasure to meet with one of my sons' heroes, Coach Butch Jones, and I am once again humbled and grateful to the Mrs. America organization for opening up such life changing doors for me and my family.

Winning the Mrs. Tennessee America 2017 pageant.

What’s next for you? I am preparing to compete for the upcoming Mrs. America pageant this coming August in Las Vegas and also getting more involved with empowerment speaking engagements throughout the community.