Stacey James was selected as Mrs. Parker in June 2016. She owns a salon and a training school for cosmetologists, hair stylists and estheticians. She and her husband, Tony, have five children and three grandchildren.
On April 8, she will compete in the Mrs. Colorado pageant for the chance to represent the state in the Mrs. America pageant.
What inspired you to compete in the Mrs. Parker and Mrs. Colorado pageants?
I agreed to do hair for some of my hair salon clients who were competing and they had me go backstage to do their hair and makeup, and I just had so much fun.
Over the last year and a half I lost over 130 pounds, so before it was never something that I had the confidence to go up on stage and do. When this opportunity came along to do Mrs. Parker, all these girls I became involved with over the last 15 years surrounded me and said “you’ve got to do this.”
What prompted you to lose the weight?
I was close to 300 pounds. I saw myself not being around for my grandchildren, and that concerned me. I was dying a slow death.
I tried every diet and ended up having bariatric surgery. I think when you invest in surgery it’s a big deal, rather than throwing some money at a gym, because half the time people don’t go anyway. Of course, now I exercise, and I gave up soda. Then when I gave up soda I gave up sugars, and when I gave up sugars I gave up carbs, and it kind of spiraled into a healthy eating style.
After I lost the weight, I felt a lump in my breast in November.
Luckily, they were able to remove it all. I didn’t need chemo and I feel very blessed that I found it and that it was small enough that they were able to remove it. I’ll have to continue with normal checkups and there’s no guarantee that it won’t grow back. But for right now, I’m cancer-free.
What are some of the duties you’ve been performing as Mrs. Parker?
I was introduced to Cam Breitenbach of the Rotary Club of Parker, and she has led me in a direction of service that I didn’t even know existed.
I’m actively involved at Fort Carson, I’ve been to a lot of homecomings and deployments. We had a battalion come home early three days before Thanksgiving last year and the base was short about 90 turkeys. So I put a Facebook blast out and we got about 220 turkeys. It was amazing to see the people of Parker come together.
I think there’s a misconception that pageants are all about beauty, and they’re not. It’s about service.
What would you like to raise awareness for if you become Mrs. Colorado?
I want to work with those who have power to make changes in the legislation for PTSD.
Right now we have 22 veterans who commit suicide every day in the country and that’s just way too many. You don’t see those outward wounds but they’re inward and they’re destroying families.
You grew up on Army bases in Georgia, Texas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri and Utah. What were the best and worst aspects of that lifestyle?
The best part was being able to see the country. Seeing the different dialects, the way people are raised, it’s just completely different, from the west to the east to the south.
Probably the worst part was just giving up friends. Back then we didn’t have social media and it cost money to call long distance, so when you moved, that was the end of your friendship.
I had one friend, my best friend, and we lost contact for 21 years, but now we’re reconnecting. I am starting to go back and reconnect with those people thanks to Facebook and social media. But that was the hardest part — just giving up good friendships.