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DARE TO DREAM: Ms. Senior USA Burks speaks at Female Factor

Sara Jo Burks of Troy was crowned Ms. Senior USA in June in Las Vegas. She then competed in November for Ms. Senior Universe and was named third runner up. She is a living testimony to her platform that emphasizes, “You’re never too old and it’s never too late.”

Burks was the guest speaker at Female Factor on Wednesday and she encouraged the women who packed The Studio for the monthly lunch meeting to dust off their dreams and Get Out And Live. “That is my GOAL and make it yours.”
Burks shared a quote from philosopher and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself,” and dared the ladies to do, as she had done, live the life they have dreamed for themselves.

Burks has been involved in pageants for many years as a director for girls and young women ages, two to 25. She helped them gain confidence and to learn how to win and how to lose. She shared their happiness when they received crowns and scholarships.

Nearly five years ago, Burks realized that she could be a better director if she understood more fully what it is like to compete for a “Miss” title in today’s world. “Not 50 years ago.”

She wanted to experience what the interview process is like, what the stresses of competition are, what it’s like to be on stage, performing before judges and a large audience.

So, she entered the Ms. Senior Pike County pageant in 2014 and won. That whetted her appetite for pageants. She won Ms. Senior Shelby County in 2015, Ms. Senior Heart of Dixie in 2016 and Ms. Senior Troy in 2017. But, through it all, her goal was to live the dream she dreamed for herself. She wanted to win the Ms. Senior Alabama Pageant.

However, that title eluded her, again and again, until she was crowned Ms. Senior Alabama in 2018.

“Nobody has been in the Ms. Senior Alabama pageant as many times as I have,” Burks said, laughing. “But I dared to dream.”

Burks was beyond excited and honored when she won the title Ms. Senior USA 2018 during the pageant that took place at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.

She shared with the women at Female Factor the doubts she had to overcome to dare to dream the life she dreamed for herself.

“Even when things don’t work out at first, it’s important to keep striving for your dream,’ she said. “You might have to wait but God’s timing is always perfect.

“Babe Ruth said, ‘Don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.’

So, play the game. Get Out And Live.”