Inspirational interview with Heather Habura
Name: Heather Marie Habura
Occupations: National Television Personality
Owner/Instructor-Heather Habura Studio-Pageant, Modeling, Etiquette, Acting, Performance & Dance Coach
Owner-Inspirations by Heather Habura Inspirational Clothing
You’re a pageant, modeling and dance coach and TV Personality, how did you become involved in this and was it a natural choice for your profession?
Yes! I started dancing at the age of 3- I was a cheerleader and performer my entire life. I did my first pageant at the age of 16.....then competed in the Miss America Scholarship Program in college. I always knew I wanted to be a TV Host and have my own studio since I was young. I made my dreams a reality because I never gave up and believed in myself, even when many people discouraged me from pursuing my dreams. I think belief in yourself is definitely one of the most important things.
I know that you hold many pageant titles yourself, congratulations! At what age did you begin taking part and why? Were you nervous for your first pageant? Did you have a coach? What do your family think of this? Have they always supported you?
Absolutely! My first pageant was Miss American Coed- I was 16 years old and yes-completely nervous. I didn't know the pageant world back then, but was very hooked once I got started. It was an awesome experience and I continued on from there competing in the Miss America Scholarship Program. I did have a coach- Diane DeBarr from Fashion Point Modeling.
My parents were always so supportive in everything I wanted to do. They instilled in me at a young age that my education was the most important thing for me to focus on before pageants or anything else. Growing up they enrolled me in dance, cheerleading, track, swimming, tennis, skiing so many opportunities. I was the one who went to them about wanting to compete. They were so supportive because they realized it was a stepping stone to better myself in all areas- Pubic Speaking, Interviewing, Dance Performance, Academics, Stage Experience and so much more. Wow! You certainly were fortunate to be able to do all of these things, I think children who are less fortunate in their options should concentrate on the thing they love the most.
Who inspires you?
My mom and dad- they are my best friends!
Did attending pageants affect your upbringing in any way?
Not at all- I started competing later in life - it was a complete finishing school for me!
Are Pageants just for the young, beautiful and talented women? I wear glasses and would say I’m pretty average looking! Could I or anyone for the matter enter a pageant? What are the rules?
Absolutely you can! Thanks! I'll tell you what I tell my students- You are not average- beauty is found within- anyone can put on makeup/hair extensions and look fabulous- but true beauty is from your heart and soul-never say you are average. I wear glasses and am proud to wear my glasses. Pageants are for everyone- there is a pageant system that fits everyone's unique style. There are different rules for each pageant system- but the universal rule is to be of good moral character. I agree with true beauty also coming from within, however I do think that unfortunately, when it comes to the professional world of modelling and the like, there is still a steryotypical look that they are after, although I know that there are many campaigns for this to change.
Do you still compete?
I do not- my time and energy is given to my students when it comes to pageantry.
What do you think of toddler pageants?
I think child pageants can be a wonderful opportunity for kids to gain confidence and etiquette. Parents need to make sure there is a balance in their child's life when competing
Is there any need for parents to be concerned over their daughters entering pageants? Some young people will go to great lengths to look a certain way and we have heard of young girls developing eating disorders in order to maintain a particular look, not to mention the cost that they can incur financially.
I believe pageant promote a healthy lifestyle. Most of my students see nutritionists and personal trainers. I encourage healthy eating and daily exercise.
I don't believe pageants cause eating disorders- there is an underlining issue that would be there with or without involvement in pageants. I work with many survivors that have overcome eating disorders, anxiety and depression. These pageant give them something to work towards and better themselves. It makes them really look at themselves and make changes for the better. It is great to hear that pageants are actually, some cases, helping young people who have overcome eating disorders!
What would you say to someone who believed that pageants make people shallow.
I would say "If you look for the bad in people/situations expecting to find it, you surely will!" (a great Abraham Lincoln quote).
Also- if you judge a person for what they do with their life - you don't define them, you define yourself as someone who is negative and critical. Focus on your own life and stop criticizing others. Great answer!
Pageants greatly divide opinions what would you say to people who are strongly against them? I would say- if you don't like them- you don't have to watch them or be involved at all. Find something you do enjoy and are strongly passionate about and get involved with that. Absolutely!
How does it affect a young girls self-esteem when they don’t win the title or a particular category and they leave empty handed?
It's absolutely heart breaking when you work so hard and don't win. However, most contestants shake it off and try even harder for the next competition. It's just like anything- if you try out for the soccer team or basketball team and don't make it- you don't give up, you practice and try out again. The key is to Never Give Up on something you are passionate about!
I know that at the end of 2015 you underwent 2 surgeries and your hair was affected as a result, would you mind telling me about why you were in hospital?
This set back must have been tough on you?
Yes, I went into the hospital for a simple procedure-a laparoscopy to clear out endometriosis that is prevalent in so many women today. They went in laparoscopically, but unfortunately hit a vein-while I was recovering I started bleeding internally. This put me back in the hospital and I had to get put under for a second time within a week with the use of anesthesia. My hair was very long and anesthesia caused my hair to crumble off and fall out. I also suffer from Crohn's disease which is an autoimmune disease that affects my small and large intestines. A few weeks after the surgeries I had to be put in twilight for a colonoscopy. It was at that time I had to go to the hairdresser and get all my hair cut off because it was falling out in clumps. Thank you for sharing this with us.
You are very glamorous! How did it feel cutting your hair? In one of your tweets you said your spirit felt free joining the ‘short hair club’
Yes yes yes I felt so free because I felt like I was hiding behind my long hair, trendy clothes and make-up. Cutting it all off made me not care what anyone thought and allowed me to focus within and not focus on my outward appearance so much.
What's important in life is family, faith and being a good person. Although it was very upsetting going through the surgeries and having mistakes made, it made me so thankful for my health. My Crohn's disease is under control and I've never felt better I'm really pleased that you are on the mend and that you have learnt something from such a negative experience. I think that if you can take something positive from an experience it makes you stronger, this can be greatly underestimated with many people only focusing on the negative that happened.
Self-esteem in young people is important to you, why is this and does this stem from personal experience?
Would you mind telling me about your personal experiences with bullying?
I was bullied in 6th grade (elementary school for me). I was called fat every day for an entire year and was too embarrassed to tell my parents about it. The girls on the playground formed a line one day walked up to me and told me they did not want me hanging out in their group anymore because I was a loser. On the bus (my maiden name was McDonald) and every day they would say mean things to me referring to me living on a farm as a cow, hippo, and pig. They would throw things and call me ugly and a nerd.
When I would get on the bus no one would sit with me. All of the kids, row after row, would say the seats were taken. Sometimes I would have to stand in the back while the other kids laughed because no one would sit with me. I was never picked to be on anyone's team in gym or when teachers asked us to form groups- i sat by myself and did the project. I had no one to sit with at lunch so I would go in the band room and sit by myself -I would not eat because in my mind I was too fat even though I was 5'2 115 pounds. You may ask - didn't the teachers do anything? Or what about the bus driver? Did one person stand up for you when you were beaten down while it was happening? The answer is No!!! No one did- no teacher- no counselor- no bus driver- no classmate.
This was leading me down the road to destruction with very low self esteem and self worth. I had a kind heart and a fragile one. I didn't understand even how to be mean to someone let alone bully them. I also started to believe the bullies-I needed to believe in myself and learn to stick up for myself .......and that's what I did.
Finally after a year of torment, I told my mom and dad. It was at this point I got the support I needed and started building my self-esteem back up. I went on in High School as a confident teenager and even became Captain of the cheerleading squad and was involved with dance, skiing, track, choir, swimming, tennis, pageants- you name it! In college I graduated with honors and was a Miss Ohio Finalist in the Miss America Scholarship program- I won Swimsuit-Interview-Talent-Gown-Community Service.
People say, "Well if you didn't go through the bullying then maybe I wouldn't be where I am today". I completely disagree - no one should ever have to learn a life lesson being bullied. The cruel words still burn in my heart every day and although I have moved on into my adult life to become a successful television personality and business owner, there's that little girl inside me whose heart is still broken.
So what happens to the people who don't have support from their family? What do they do? They turn to alcohol, drugs, self harm, suicide and this is what I want to stop- I want people to know they are not alone! The important thing is to reach out to your family, teachers, and friends. Let them know what you are going through and that you need their support.
This leads me to why I am raising funds for anti-bullying by coming out with my "Inspire" clothing line. With the suicide rates rising due to bullying, it is my goal to help those who feel they cannot go on anymore because of the cruelty of others -we need it to stop and it starts in the community. By wearing these T-shirts - you are showing others that you are against bullying and are part of what I call "The Kindness Movement". My shirts put out uplifting and inspiring words, so when people see you wearing them, they will know you stand for kindness towards all! We only have one life to live, let's all uplift each other and make our life a good one! Thank you again for sharing your experience, I truly believe that you will inspire others by sharing.
There can be severe consequences as a result of bullying including suicide, what would you say to someone who was experiencing bullying in some form?
To tell your parent/guardian, teachers, principal. Don't feel embarrassed - if you don't stand up to these bullies and put a stop to them, they will keep going and try to ruin so many lives. Also, stand up for yourself and others you see getting bullied.
Don't ever believe what they say and know things will get better- I promise!
I think that often addressing the bully’s themselves is overlooked, what would you say to the bully?
That I do not tolerate their behavior in any way- that there are consequences to their actions and they will have to suffer these consequences if the bullying continues.
What do you believe is responsible for someone becoming a bully?
Parents who are bullies themselves, teachers who look the other way, friends who do nothing to help.
What advice would you give to people about pursuing their dreams and ambitions?
If you have a dream, I want you to pursue it. Don't believe people who tell you that you won't make it. All the successful people in this world were told the same thing. If you have a passion in your heart- use it- this is God's gift to you!
What is your ultimate goal with regards to your work and your future projects?
To keep teaching at my studio and take my Television career to a National Level- I would love to be a Host and Producer of an Inspirational TV show that covers miracles, acts of kindness, success stories and more
Thank you so much Heather for your time, I wish you all the best with your future, keep up the great work!
Coaching site- www.HeatherHabura.com
Clothing Site- www.InspirationsByHH.com
LinkedIn- Heather Habura