I had the pleasure of interviewing the beautiful, kind-hearted, and extraordinary Ms. Michigain Woman, Sherlyn Fox. Sherlyn has continued to use her positive spirit and celebrity to help give others a voice and support so many worthy causes. Interviewing her, I learned so much about what an experience can teach you and inspire you to do.
Brianna: What was involved in becoming Ms. Michigan?
Sherlyn: It is quite involved but, I believe anyone who wishes to pursue it can achieve it. The most important things to be ready for is preparation, dedication, time, sponsors, money, and most importantly the love for the community.
Preparation begins several months before, the moment when you make the decision to compete regardless if it’s the local, state, national or international level you begin preparing. From completing the entry bio and paperwork to beginning your wardrobe plan, beginning the mental and physical regimen, and obtaining sponsors or saving the money needed to participate, coach selections if you so choose, there is no doubt, so much to do, consider, plan and execute.
You have to be dedicated not only yourself and your goals but also to the pageant system to which you represent, your pageant sisters, sponsors, and foundations and community that you support. Dedication and integrity are so important and living up to what you promise. In my years of competing and representing, I have not canceled on a planned event and unless it was an unforeseen critical circumstance I would not. If I commit to something, I remain dedicated until my commitment is completed.
It takes quite a bit of your personal time to make the commitment, so ensuring your life has the time available to dedicate to everything required to compete is very important especially if you win! The titleholder responsibilities increase and the commitment is extended throughout the title reign.
Obtaining sponsors is very important to offset the cost to participate. From the pageant wardrobe including the most important gown, travel costs, coaching fees, entry fees, etc. Depending on the pageant system and a person’s taste in wardrobe it could get very pricey very quickly. There are options for pageant resales and sponsors to donate funds or items to help offset the expense but there is still a lot to consider before competing.
For me, the primary purpose for competing comes down to three reasons. First, to improve my all-around confidence, by nature I am a very shy person. I decided to compete to build my confidence in speaking and in social environments. I still feel introverted and out of my element in some scenarios but overall I think I am much more confident in myself as a whole. Secondly, the abundance of beautiful, professional, well rounded like-minded, amazing, selfless women that you are surrounded by is tremendous. Not only do you gain confidence, you learn so much about other people, other cultures and gain so many lifelong true friends. Finally, the third driving factor is the love for my community and volunteerism. It’s true, a crown is absolutely not necessary to give back, advocate, donate, or volunteer but the difference is the amount of people that you can reach and gather in your corner while lobbying for causes and organizations that are important to us is significantly higher. Your voice is heard more often and you have the ability to speak for those who cannot. It’s heartwarming and beyond rewarding. What matters most are not things, it’s the people and helping those who at that moment may not be able to help themselves. Small acts times a million people can and will change the world. I believe it. I will always do my best to live it.
Brianna: Wow, I never realized so much went into competing, and how much you can gain from the experience. I love how you mentioned using your voice to help others and not just to help yourself. Now, you do a lot of philanthropic work, specifically with handbag designers, can you talk a little bit about that?
Sherlyn: I was doing quite a bit of work in the community years before I began competing in pageants. When I was approached to compete the first time I knew one of the goals I wanted to achieve is combining my love for my community, my state, and fashion into a charitable event for causes that were important to me and my family.
Eleven months later in the heart of Detroit, at the well-known Rattlesnake Club on the riverfront, my team and I executed my first Charity Fashion Designer and Artisan Runway Event which supported foundations that I work closely with benefiting the fight against sexual violence. A key factor in the execution was to feature local Michigan Models, Designers (including Beau Satchelle, Michigan based Handbag Designer) and Artisan’s talent as well as to pay homage to our beauty queens in a Walk of Queens segment honoring their philanthropic work in communities all over the state and surrounding states. We raised several thousands of dollars, accompanied by numerous rave reviews which led to our second Fashion Event in 2017. We will be holding our 3rd annual event in 2019.
I feel honored and extremely lucky to be surrounded by the best talent, most amazing selfless men and women in the industry. I am looking forward to the year to come when we bring some of my most talented favorite people back together again for one of the most talented, charitable, fashionable events in town.
Brianna: I think it's really great how you chose something that was important to you, your family, and your community. You’ve used your celebrity to raise awareness for so many worthy causes such as Forgotten Harvest and Asthma is Real, how do you get involved in supporting the causes you do and is there any one in particular that is most special to you?
Sherlyn: My most important platform to which I advocate for most frequently, first and foremost is to stop sexual violence supporting RAINN, HAVEN, Common Ground, Grace Centers of Hope, and so many others. I have many reasons to advocate for this cause, primarily because my family has been directly affected by sexual violence, even before the #metoo craze, so many children, women and men are assaulted, so much goes unreported, including my family experiences have all been unreported.
It’s impossible to determine how high the number would be if all the unreported incidents were actually on record. Everyone’s reason at the time of the incident are different, it is hard to determine why some report and some do not. I definitely advocate for speaking up and talking to someone, it absolutely makes the difference and allows healing to begin which is extremely important for the victims.
Brianna: For you, this really is very close to home. It's impressive that you are so generous, the world would be a kinder if more people led their life with a purpose, like you. Now, pageants have been, what seems to be, a big part of you and your life. Can you explain what it's like living a pageant life?
Sherlyn: Living a pageant life, I’m giggling just a little bit, because its honestly not much different than most. I do the very same things most everyone else does, just maybe with a little more glam! I hold a very demanding position in the automotive industry each day. With that said, I may just have a little bit busier schedule than most people. I do my best to accommodate as many events as possible representing my pageant system, my state and my platform and of course those with family and friends as often as possible. I think aside from having a voice for those who can’t not do not choose to have one, one of my favorite things about pageant life is indulging in being a girly girl. I love makeup, fashion, bling, shoes, gowns and those things that come with it but on the flip side I love putting my hair up, my PJ’s or comfy clothes on and watching my favorite television shows, although I don’t have a ton of time to do that, DVR is my best friend for binge-watching.
The stigma behind beauty queens is actually quite false, essentially we are all very hardworking, professional, educated, philanthropic, selfless, advocating, stylish, beautiful inside and out, all sizes, all heights, all races, fun loving, family oriented honest, positive people. It truly is an extension of your own family, you gain lifelong close friends all over the world. I think you gain a whole new perspective on yourself, people, cultures etc. when you are involved with pageantry, more people should try it, even if it is only once. What do you have to lose?
Brianna: You so fearlessly ventured into this, that's something I really admire. You've built your celebrity into something, I'm sure, that most people could only dream of achieving. With that, I can imagine a lot goes into maintaining yourself. You have such healthy looking skin and hair, is there any special regimen you follow to help maintain yourself?
Sherlyn: To be completely honest, estheticians and hair stylists really would be annoyed with me! I am fortunate that great skin runs in my family. My skin regimen is as simple as it comes, I wash my face with soap and water and I have been using Oil of Olay for the past twenty plus years for moisturizing. I use Vaseline on my lips when they are chapped. I do have a small little secret, when necessary, if under my eyes are red, dry, or itchy I will apply hydroccortizone cream under my eyes and occasionally on my eyelids. I also rinse my eyes with cold water as well in the morning and at night.
My hair overall is healthy unfortunately it is on the finer side, we all want what we can’t have! So we work it! Mainly, I waited until my late twenties to put the first highlight in my hair. As a general rule I only color my hair every 3-4 months to prevent long term damage. I have made my fair share of hair mistakes over the years and I’ll probably make plenty more before I die but I have learned my hair doesn’t agree with excess processing. As for hair products, I use off the shelf items, nothing fancy, primarily Pantene as it works for me, however I think it depends on the person and their hair texture if that is a product useful for them.
I am a girly girl and a pageant girl so I always have my hair extensions nearby for the days I want to be creative with my styles and for special occasions where a little extra boost is required.
Brianna: All of this, the whole pageant lifestyle, sounds so glamorous and fun! I'm sure that you' have great personal style, can you describe it in three words?
Sherlyn: It’s hard to use only three words about my style because I feel like I tend to dress for the occasion. Which is probably why I have such a large closet!
However, I would say what would be typical for me; for my day or career look I would tend to lean toward a sophisticated to casual look which I always try to add my own little spin on it with an artsy piece or maybe a Boho piece. I like to accent my ensembles with distinctive accessories such as scarves, tights, or even a less than expected shoe choice.
For evenings or nights out with friends I like to change it up a bit, I like the street style with a sexy chic aspect to it but I keep it classy, of course. I think overall when I dress I attempt to bring a statement piece in to add my own individual twist.
For special or formal events, I tend to lean toward vintage, Old Hollywood Glam look, I love old Hollywood and the glamour from that time. There is just something special about the Audrey Hepburn,
Grace Kelly, Rita Hayworth, Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe era. The women were sophisticated and glamorous. If I could have chosen an era to live in, I believe that would have been it.
Brianna: It sounds like you express your personal style well. Being intuitive with fashion and having the confidence to execute your personal style, does not come naturally to everyone. Finally, looking down the road what do you see yourself doing?
Sherlyn: I always have something up my sleeve. I begin my Master’s degree June 2018. I compete for the Ms. Royalty International/America Woman title in July 2018. I will study abroad next spring so hopefully I will prevail in July and take the Royalty International abroad with me! Upon graduation in March 2020 from my eMBA, I will finalize the development of my nonprofit Fashion4Hope, as well as relaunch and rebrand my online cosmetics store while continuing my philanthropic work including remaining part of the Fashion Group International- Detroit, where currently I serve as the Board Secretary. Just as the past 24 years, I will continue to grow in my automotive career until the glorious day I am able to retire. In the meantime, I’ll set myself up for a fashionable, fruitful, fulfilling retirement and travel the world.
Finally, like most, I am and always will be hopeful that someday unconditional love will find me and I will be married to the man of my dreams someday. A girl can dream right! I’ll never give up hoping for the fairytale romance everyone deserves.
I will sign off with a couple of my favorite thoughts:
“Dare to be different, never give up on your dreams and always believe in yourself and others!” “Live, Laugh, & Love” and “Small acts X’s millions of people CAN and WILL change the World”
Your Ms. Michigan Woman 2018,
Brianna: Sherlyn, you are amazing. Thank you so much for your beautiful responses. I wish you tremendous success in all of you endeavors and will continue to be a big fan and supporter of yours.