Bullying is on the mind of future Ms. America contestant, 35 year-old Jessica Mason, whether it’s advocating for children who are bullied or speaking up for the “bully” breeds like Pit Bulls who often get a bad rap in the media even though they are some of the most happy and people-pleasing dogs that you can own.
Ms. America title holder contestants are required to have a platform or cause they believe in to promote during their appearances and Mason would like to use her title to advocate for both children and animals. The larger her title, the wider her reach. Mason has raised enough money for her entrance fee and should know the title she is competing for this weekend. She is currently raising money for competition and travel expenses. She has set up a Go-Fund Me page to help her reach her goal, and if you can help support her efforts or want to support her platform, check it out here.
Her goal is to write a children’s book using Pit Bulls to teach the origins of bully behavior. She wants to spread the message of “That which we fear, we must seek to understand. That everyone is worthy of love”. The platform is called “Luv-A-Bull”.
When asked about her interest in advocating for animals she said, “I grew up with animals as my grandparents were dog breeders (Huskies). Even though I have a soft spot for them, it wasn’t until we adopted a Pit Bull mix that I saw the need for breed advocacy. My young son and I took our sweet Sophie to the dog park and when she was rough housing with another dog, it’s owner threatened to shoot our dog because of her breed. Right in front of my son! I believe no dogs are born bad, and that even the most mistreated animal can still be loved back to health. Animals reflect their upbringing- just as children do. By educating kids about bully breeds and poor ownership, I hope to teach compassion and distancing for bullying behaviors from their peers.” She continues, “My hope is that if kids can understand that their bullies are reflecting their own issues that they won’t take what is said and done personally. By educating our youth in ways of compassion, we stop the cycle of abuse. I believe teaching people at a young age to care for animals will create compassionate adults.”
When she was growing up, Mason was known for bringing home animals on a regular basis. Once when she went to visit her sister in New Orleans, she came home with a cat – hidden in her sweatshirt. Currently, she has two dogs and two cats in her home in Michigan. She has a big, goofy Great Dane mix named Harley and a senior Pomeranian with diabetes named Bear who was recently adopted. Her cats are both girls even though they are named Eddie and Max. With her son and mom in her home state of Colorado are her Pit Mix Sophie (who can’t join her in Michigan until she has a fenced in yard because she is also part Husky and a runner); her son’s dog O-Jo, a 14-year-old Pomeranian/Chihuahua mix and two kitties her mom has appropriated named Samantha and Tic Tac. Samantha is a fat cat and Tic Tac still looks like a tiny kitten. Mason’s goal is to rescue Pit Bulls and have a great big farm for all of the animals she loves.
Mason says her passion for volunteering tends to gravitate towards animal shelters and Humane Societies. She says, “I have a high ‘ick’ tolerance and believe that anything I can do to make shelter animals more comfortable or feel more at home is truly noble work. It may take me a matter of minutes to clean an animal’s cage, but for that animal, it’s their whole world.” She enjoys volunteering at the Cherryland Humane Society in Traverse City and says, “they truly love each and every animal in their keep.”
Mason is a Colorado native who moved to Michigan for love in 2015. That love would be local celebrity and all around great guy, Bill Froehlich. Froehlich has worked as an Anchor/Reporter with WTCM Radio (Midwestern Broadcasting) and 9&10 News, and was also the Stadium Announcer with the Traverse City Beach Bums. His Linked-In profile also lists him as a Spanish-speaking tennis player who is a Virgo. What a catch!! Jessica definitely agrees.
Froehlich and Mason met way back in high school and had mutual crushes on each other. However, Froehlich was a senior and Mason was only a freshman so they weren’t allowed to date. They reconnected through Facebook years later and Mason instantly knew it was meant to be. He was recently divorced so she moved to Michigan with her kids so that his kids didn’t have to go through a divorce and have to move. Six months later, Mason proposed to Froehlich in a rather public way, advertising on the marque of the State Theater. He said yes and proposed right back to her shortly after. It took 20 years but Mason is happy they found each other again. She says, “I never knew it could be this good or this easy to love and be loved in return.”
Marrying Froehlich combines two families into one. Mason has two boys, Nick (11) and Devin (17), and Froehlich has a boy named Noah (13) and a girl named Ella (13). Mason says that she’s been a mother her entire adult life as well as a wife and single mom and that it has given her an edge by gaining life experience and overcoming adversity. She says, “By Ms. America this Fall, I will be remarried and two beautiful stepchildren will be added to my family roster. Going into competition with my home team behind me makes me already feel like the ultimate winner. I truly can’t lose. Either way, I come home to them.”
The Ms. America pageant is open to women who are 26 years of age and older who are single, divorced, widowed or married. Competition is based on Evening Gown, Interview, On-State Question and Sportswear (no swimsuit or talent competition). Mason will be 36 at the time of the competition and is used to competing with younger women in other pageants although this is the first time she’ll be competing against women ten years her junior. Mason didn’t compete in pageants until she was an adult because her mom was worried about the long-term impact of praising her for her appearance at a young age. As an adult, Mason was mature enough to see the skills involved and the subjective nature of pageant judging. She says the winner is not only chosen simply on looks alone. The girls who wins and adds that contestants are judged on physical fitness, elegance, eloquence and the ability to think on your feet. Mason believes these are all useful skills in the real world and says, “even with all the preparation a contestant can muster, the result is still determined by the opinions of a few individuals. The real way to win a pageant is to best yourself in the training process, to challenge yourself to get out of your comfort zone and truly believe in yourself enough to compete with the belief that you can win.”
Mason has held the titles of Miss Colorado–Galaxy, Mrs. Colorado–International and Ms. Planet Beach. She placed top 10 at the Miss Galaxy Pageant, Third Runner Up at the Mrs. International Pageant and 1st Runner Up at the Ms. Planet Beach International Competition. Mason is, and always has been, a dancer. She started dancing at the age of seven and started teaching at the age of 13. She danced professionally right after high school and in 2008, she opened her own studio. She ran that until she moved to Michigan last year. She is just getting a footing in Traverse City, teaching ballroom dancing and fitness classes. This Spring, she hopes to launch a dance team for special needs students.
Whether advocating for animals, dancing, having fun with Froehlich and the kids or competing in a pageant, Mason is definitely a winner already with a strong support system and a heart full of love for others, whether they are of the human persuasion or have fur and four paws.