by Danita White
Wife, mom, business owner, and pageant queen discusses faith, family, Texas and how she keeps it all together
Since she was a young girl, Brooklyn Rivera has been involved in pageantry – using it as a catalyst to boost self confidence and promote what matters to her. Even after becoming a wife, mom of four and starting her own business, Brooklyn’s desire to compete never faded.
Crowned Mrs. Collin County 2020, Brooklyn is aiming to win Mrs. Texas. After coming in as 1st runner up last year, she is hoping to close the deal this time around.
Born in Covington, Georgia, Brooklyn’s parents relocated to Florida when she was 10. At 22, Brooklyn moved to Texas and has called it home ever since.
She uses the platforms from her competitions to promote issues that are close to her heart, one of which is mental health awareness. As 2020 title holder, Brooklyn is a strong supporter of 22KILL, a nonprofit providing traditional and non-traditional mental wellness programs for veterans, first responders, and their families. The importance of mental health awareness has a personal connection for Brooklyn. She is the proud wife of a United States Marine Corps veteran and her stepson is now an active Marine stationed at North Carolina’s Camp Lejeune.
Brooklyn is also the owner of women’s clothing boutique, 17:20, which will celebrate four years of being in business this October. 17:20 ships to anyone across the U.S., is budget-friendly and caters to women of all sizes. “I love it,” Brooklyn says about running a business and being her own boss. “It’s challenging. It’s grown me in ways. But I’ve made it so my family is involved.”
Because if that wasn’t enough to keep her busy, Brooklyn is mom to a 9-year-old girl and two little boys. With so much going on, she found herself not being present and losing focus, so she implemented a “no misses” strategy. This allowed her to strategically lay out her day and focus on what’s important. “No misses are those things that you will not sacrifice on,” Brooklyn explains. “For me, a no miss was putting my kids to bed myself. So, I restructured my day and their schedules so I could be the one to put my kids to bed. Another no miss is that I never miss another competition of my daughter’s who is an all star cheerleader. I had to figure out what is okay for me and learn to give myself grace.”
Brooklyn Rivera recently took time to talk with Power 77 Radio. Check out our Q&A below:
Why is Mrs. Collin County/Mrs. Texas important to you?
Being the title holder of Mrs. Collin County has allowed me to use my voice and promote what matters to me as a wife, mother, and business owner. Being a local title holder and having the opportunity to work towards a state title has pushed me to be a stronger woman. I have used my title to promote mental health awareness and the importance of not losing sight of your own goals and ambitions even when life gets “busy”.
How long have you been involved in pageantry? And what do you hope to get out of this pageant?
I started in pageantry as a young girl. I remember being 6 or 7 and literally trembling behind the stage curtain before walking out. That moment helped grow my self-confidence. I remember not winning but feeling so proud of myself. I continued to do pageants up until I married and had children. I thought I had “aged out” of pageantry but then I learned about the “MRS” division in 2019 and the desire to compete came flooding back.
What does your faith mean to you? And how does it impact how you handle self-image, beauty?
My faith is my drive behind the reason I compete. I was raised as a pastor’s daughter and was taught from a young age that your internal light will always shine brighter than any external glow. My faith has helped me remember that no matter what society says, I am worthy. My self-worth is not based off a title and I think that is what helps me stay focused on my mission and not just the outcome of the competition.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
I think as a married woman and mother of 4, most would say their proudest accomplishment would be their marriage or children. If I truly think past that surface answer, my proudest accomplishment would be the day I was accepted into the University of South Florida. I am a first-generation college student. The pride my mother and stepfather had when I opened that letter will be something I remember for the rest of my life.
How do you handle being a wife, mom, business owner, and pageant queen?
The struggle is real! I think moms in general have the never-ending task of balancing who they are and their role as a mother. When you add a very demanding business AND local title holder to the mix, it is easy to become overwhelmed. I was very intentional when taking on the role of a pageant title holder and really focused on the fact that I CAN do it all, just not in one day. I learned to prioritize my duties and set what I call “no misses”. Some days I am a better mother than I am business owner and that is okay.
Share about your biggest challenge or disappointment and how you bounced back from it.
I have been blessed with a lot of victories in my life, but I have had disappointments along the way. One of my biggest disappointments was actually this time last year when I competed for Mrs. Texas my very first time. It was my first “MRS” pageant and I finished 1st runner up. Hindsight would say that was amazing and such an accomplishment but, in that moment, I felt as though I had failed and let my community of supporters down. About 10 days after the pageant, I participated in “Carry the Load” which is a nonprofit event that that provides an active way to connect Americans to the sacrifices made daily by our military, veterans, first responders and their families. As I was walking in the event, I realized that it did not matter that I didn’t have the “Mrs. Texas” sash and crown on. I was still supporting the cause and still making a difference. I knew then that my voice was still loud, and I could be a difference maker with or without a title.
What do you love most about living in Texas?
Texas has been my home for 8 years. I tell all my family and friends that I never want to live anywhere else! I love the diverse culture, the food, the hospitality, the love of sports, the FOOD again, everything! Texas is the only home my children have known and God willing, it will be our home for a very long time!
Cybercrime and cyberbullying is something you have spoken out about in the past. Why is addressing this issue important to you? With so many young people on social media and the Internet, what advice would you give them as it relates to cybercrime and cyberbullying?
As someone who lived through the pain and fear of cybercrime and cyberbullying, I feel it is my duty to spread awareness. Just because you are a keyboard away does not make the actions okay. My advice to young people or anyone who uses social media and is a witness to wrongdoing is SPEAK UP and SPEAK OUT! Don’t let someone get away with virtual bullying. If we want to create a safe environment, we need to take action against the people that threaten that safety.
How has your family supported you as you prepare/compete in pageants?
My family is my own personal cheerleading squad when it comes to support! My family and friends have rallied around to help raise funds for competing, support my children while I advocate for my platform and work with my non-profits, help me prepare mentally and physically to compete and countless of other ways. It’s a very cliché statement but I seriously would not be able to be a title holder without their support!
Connect with Brooklyn online via Instagram @mrsbrooklynrivera.