Carmel woman prepares for Mrs. America
By Amanda Foust
Beautiful gowns, perfect hair and flawless makeup is how most people picture beauty pageants. However, Carmel’s own Shelly Walters is much more than a “pretty face.” On Aug. 29, Mrs. America will be selected from women all over the country and Walters will be representing the state as Mrs. Indiana.
Walters will be headed to Tucson, Ariz., to compete for the Mrs. America title over a span of eight days. She will be involved with many hours of preparation, photo shoots and rehearsals. She will also be competing through an interview with a panel of judges and through a swimsuit and evening gown competition.
The competition includes a costume as well, and Walters will be wearing an Indy 500-themed race suit and helmet.
She said: “It won’t be glamorous, but it will be real from the track.”
Beyond the glamor, it is clear Walters is most excited about her platform.
“The Mrs. America pageant is basically a competition like Miss America or Miss USA. It’s another pageant system but more involved because women have the ability to push their platforms more because they are established women,” she said.
Mrs. Indiana’s platform this year is Make Good Decisions. This is an organization that educates teens and young adults on the dangers of underage drinking and other destructive behaviors. The organization was developed due to Indiana’s Lifeline law, which provides immunity to minors for certain substance abuse offenses if they seek help in a medical emergency or report a crime.
Walters shared how many young people lose their lives due to teens and young adults being too scared to call for help if there is someone in need if those involved are underage and committing a crime. The Lifeline Law hits close to home for Walters.
Her close friends Dawn and Norm lost their son, Brett, due to alcohol poisoning that was not treated in time.
Walters said the loss could have been prevented. Brett was at a party involving underage drinking before heading off to college the next day when he had too much to drink and no one was aware of the Lifeline Law.
Those around him were too afraid to call for help, so they allowed him to pass out without seeking the medical attention he needed.
“It is a very emotional story and it hits many kids hard,” she said of telling Brett’s story.
The Lifeline Law would have protected those involved from being arrested. Walters has a strong desire to use the Mrs. America pageant opportunity to share this law with all 50 delegates in hopes each one will take this information to their home state.
“I just hope to get someone to listen to me and connect with me and maybe one day this law will be in all 50 states,” Walters said.