ABOVE PHOTO: Mrs. Montgomery County, April Walker Taylor
By Kharisma McIlwaine
Throughout Philadelphia, April Walker Taylor is known as an author, counselor, and public speaker with beauty, brains and a love for the community.
With a desire to expand her platform, participating in a pageant like Mrs. Pennsylvania America was the next logical step for Taylor.
She’ll be taking to the stage as part of the Mrs. Pennsylvania America pageant on June 18 at 7:00pm at The University of the Arts’ Terra Hall.
After winning the title of Mrs. Montgomery County in March, Walker Taylor set her sights on competing for the title of Mrs. Pennsylvania America 2016. She’s the only African American among the nine women competing in this year’s pageant.
When asked if she felt any pressure, Taylor was candid.
“No!” Taylor said. “I compete with myself everyday… To do better, be better, live better, to be a better role model, a better wife, and a better mother.”
“All the women competing have full lives,” said Taylor, who says that finding a good work/life balance is one of her toughest challenges. “We have our careers and family. So it’s challenging just trying to make everything fit. That’s where your family and community support comes in because you want to be at your best when you compete.”
In addition to the interview, swimsuit, and evening gown portions of the competition, each contestant is required to choose a platform.
Taylor’s chosen Autism awareness as her’s.
“I’m a licensed behavioral specialist by the State Board of Medicine through the state of Pennsylvania. That gives me the opportunity to work, interact, and improve the lifestyles of kids on the autistic spectrum,” Taylor said. “Even though I know the field, I connected to the autism community on a whole different level. I’m talking to the agencies that service the kids and families. I’m trying to find out what the needs are… what is the general thought around available resources to people in that community, and seeing how I can help and lend support to them.”
If she wins, Taylor intends on honoring Mrs. Pennsylvania America’s theme of “Family. Business. Community” in a way that makes her family, and by extension Philadelphia, proud.
“I do believe if everyone gets involved, we can impact the community in terms of resources available, laws being passed, and in terms of people being aware of the social stigma that comes with autism,” she said. “As Mrs. Pennsylvania America, I want to connect the points and make everyone more aware, and be able to add something that would improve the lifestyles of children, adults, and families that are affected by autism.”
Tickets for the pageant are available at www.mrspennamerica.org.