Soldotna women to compete for Mrs. Alaska title

Posted: Friday, May 11, 2001

Two area women will dress up and share what marriage means to them Saturday at the Mrs. Alaska Pageant at the University of Alaska Anchorage Arts building.

Odette Pack and Charlissa Magen, both of Soldotna, will travel to Anchorage to participate in Saturday's pageant.

Both women admit they entered for a new experience.

"I thought it would be different and fun," Pack said.

The pageant, founded in 1985, was formed to promote marriage. Each woman has a platform, and the husband also is involved in the event by walking her on stage.

Both women said their marriage and family are important to them.

Magen has been married to her husband, Ned, for six years. She has lived in Alaska since 1985, when she moved from Florida. She works as a phlebotomist at Peninsula Internal Medicine and is the mother of a 14-year-old son and a 17-year-old daughter.


Charlissa Magen

Magen said she found out about the pageant through a friend, looked up more information on the Internet and applied. She said she forgot about entering until three weeks later, when she was sent a letter that said she was named Mrs. Soldotna and was a participant in the contest.

"I am thinking, 'Oh my gosh,'" she said.

She said she has received a lot of support from her family and friends who plan to attend Saturday.

"That will be really nice to look out there and see the warmth and friendliness," she said.

While she believes communication and compromising are important, Magen's platform is independence and individuality in a marriage.

"If (Ned) doesn't like something that I want to do, or I don't like something he wants to do, or we just don't have the same stand on a issue, it's OK, we don't have to have the same stand. I really enjoy that in our marriage."

She said her goal in the pageant is to promote the union of marriage.

"Being married is another chapter in your life," she said. "I am so happy in my marriage. (The event) is a unique opportunity to show people how happy I am."

She said preparing for the event taught her how to be aggressive, and she realized the importance of being comfortable with who she is.

"I think we as people in general do not accept compliments as readily as we should," Magen said.

Pack also entered the contest on a whim and was surprised when she received a first runner-up, Mrs. Soldotna banner in the mail.

Pack, the owner of Bead It in Soldotna, said because she came from an unhappy home as a child, both marriage and family are important issues for her.

Pack is the mother of four daughters, 31, 28, 26 and 23. She has been married 31 years to husband Rick and has lived in Alaska 27 years.


Odete Pack

Pack said she is not entering the pageant with a set platform.

"I just want to help encourage people,"she said.

Pack said she wrote her essay about how her husband has been there for her all her life and how important he is to her.

She said she has been cheered on the whole time.

"People have been real encouraging and cheerful," she said.

The women will rehearse Friday for an open dance act they will all do together. Then, Saturday morning, each woman will have an interview session with each of the seven judges. The interview portion counts for 50 percent of the total score.

Then, that evening, the women will perform their dance, be escorted on stage by their husbands, and participate in the aerobic wear and evening gown competitions.

The aerobic wear replaces the swimsuit competition. The outfits should be solid colored and suitable to wear during a workout.

Also, each contestant's nomination for outstanding single mother, a new program this year, will be presented by the contestant for award consideration.

Pack nominated Soldotna resident Barbara Johnson, who recently was named the state's Multiple Sclerosis Mother of the Year, for her outstanding single mother, while Magen nominated Nikiski's Karen Kester for the title.

Six women throughout Alaska will compete in the pageant.

Magen said she and Pack know each other, and that adds to the excitement of the event.

"I think we are both in the same boat, and we are going to have a blast up there together," she said.

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