Grand Forks mom set to compete at Mrs. North Dakota America pageant May 22
Jessica Rerick is a mom of 4, trained chef and contributor to On the Minds of Moms
GRAND FORKS — Less than two weeks before she's set to compete in the Mrs. North Dakota America pageant , Jessica Rerick is busy juggling preschool graduations, volunteer events, her full-time job with U.S. Foods, evening gown fittings, and making delicious meals for her family, which includes husband Mark and four boys: Jackson, 16; Quinn, 14; Perry, 11; and Jacob, 5.
Rerick is a busy mom and Mrs. Red River Valley America, a title she earned earlier this spring. On May 22, she'll compete for the state title and a chance to represent her home state at the national competition in August in Las Vegas.
Rerick had been encouraged for years to compete, Rerick said she always felt like the timing wasn't quite right, especially when the four boys were younger. This winter, though, as Rerick realized she needed to focus more on taking care of herself, she decided now was the right time to compete.
"I started taking care of myself again," she explained. "I had been putting my needs aside, and once I realized that the world didn't implode if I went to the gym or did something for myself, I realized I've become a better mom because of it."
After earning the title, Rerick discovered how supportive her husband Mark and four sons could be regarding her new purpose. She shared that she asked her son Perry if he would escort her on stage during the evening gown portion of the competition and he asked if he would have to wear a tuxedo for the occasion. Rerick explained that he'd need to dress up but that a tuxedo was not required. "He looked right at me and said, 'I have always wanted to wear a tuxedo!' " Rerick shared.
A trained chef, food blogger and owner of a line of gourmet kitchen spices and mixes called Craveable Kitchen , Rerick naturally chose a personal platform that revolves around food. But her platform addresses food insecurity so she can work with existing programs to ensure children and families have the food they need.
As an active volunteer with the Circle of Friends Humane Society and a supporter of Safe Kids Grand Forks, Rerick could have chosen a number of causes to advocate for, but food insecurity seemed like the best fit.
"People don't always realize how much of a need food is every day, and with the rising cost of groceries, addressing food insecurity just made sense," Rerick said.
As she prepares to take that platform to the state level , Rerick shared that she's already grown so much in the last few months. She readily admits she had no idea what she was getting involved with when she first earned her title, but she knows she's already been changed for the better.
"The professional development has been incredible," she said. "These pageants are all about how you're carrying yourself and the confidence you have in yourself and in your own skin...my general health has improved and I am carrying myself with more confidence than ever."
Rerick said she's always known she was terrible at formal interviews, so she's been working with a coach to help her articulate her thoughts and ideas, a skill she knows will be useful even after the stage lights have been turned off. At the beginning of this process, Rerick assumed the most difficult part would be having the confidence to walk on stage in high heels and a swimsuit, but is still admittedly more nervous about the thought of answering an on-stage question and the formal interview portion.
Rerick has a chance to compete for the national title one of two ways: the winner becomes Mrs. North Dakota America who will compete for the Mrs. America title, and the first runner-up becomes Mrs. North Dakota American to compete. The winners of those national pageants compete as Mrs. World.
No matter what happens on May 22, Rerick is happy she took the opportunity to push herself beyond her comfort zone.
"I'm excited, and I know it's going to be fun, and of course, I'm nervous," she shared. "But I excited about seeing all of these women and junior candidates together. We've been meeting virutally, but it will be nice to be together at the competition...these are very driven women who want to get things done."
Rerick got a little emotional when talking about how she's grown in the past few months and about something as seemingly simple as having headshots taken.
"One of the hardest parts of it was having the photographer come take pictures of just me," she shared. "I didn't think I'd like them at all, and they were so different than the family pictures I was used to taking. But the feeling I had when taking them and knowing I had the ability and confidence to do that was just...incredible."
If you go
When: 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 22
Where: Empire Arts Center, 415 Demers Ave., Grand Forks
If anyone is interested in competing next year, the state pageant will be held April 1-2, 2023. For more information, contact pageant directors Michael and Meg Morley at email@example.com.