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PUBLISHED: 4:24 PM on Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Woman represents Juneau in Mrs. Alaska Pageant
Beauty, brains and a marriage license are what it takes to be the new Mrs. Alaska America, and for the first time since 1978, Juneau has a representative.

Lola Savatgy, 37, was anonymously volunteered for the pageant, which took place July 7, in Anchorage. The winner for each state will go on to compete in the Mrs. America Pageant in Arizona in August.

Savatgy received an e-mail informing her of the pageant and assumed it was a joke.

"Normally you have a year to get ready; I had two months, and I had no idea what I was getting into," Savatgy said.


Photo by Abby LaForce
  Lola Savatgy, 37, participated in the Mrs. Alaska America pageant, which took place July 7, in Anchorage. The winner for each state will go on to compete in the Mrs. America Pageant in Arizona in August.
"I wasn't going to do it. We just literally moved into our new house, my son is adjusting to living here, I started a new job with the State, and someone submitted my name," she said. "I thought it was my sister, I thought it was my friend-no one's 'fessing up.

As a Coastguard commander's wife, the Savatgy family moved to and fro from Juneau. With her husband's recent promotion, they returned to establish a permanent home and eventually retire.

Originally from California, they moved to Juneau in 2000, moved away and returned in April 2007. Her husband, David Savatgy, is more than supportive of Lola's endeavor.

"I said to my husband, it's real and he said, 'you gotta do it; you're beautiful, you're smart,'" she said.

Even after informing Savatgy he'd need to walk her across the stage in his handsome uniform, and thinking he'd say 'no, way,' David simply agreed to her delighted chagrin.

The question remains: Why has Juneau not had a representative for so many years? Savatgy believes it's because the process is time consuming and quite expensive.

Part of the process to get to Anchorage includes raising a pageant fee, money for her ticket, hotel and advertisers.

"It's difficult, I've had a harder time than most and a shorter time," she said.

"I think I'm going to be one of the older contests. The average age is going to be 23-30."

Several people in the community have contributed good amounts of money toward her cause including general manager Leesa Castro at the Prospector Hotel and Subway Restaurants.

'My friends and family all came together, aunts and uncles sending me checks, my sister taking the time with my son. I'm $538 away from my goal, which was about $2400 in two months," Savatgy said.

Their three-year-old son, Simon Lance, was hard earned. While living in D.C., they received assistance to quicken the fertility process; they've will be married 13 years this August and have known each other for 23. Their son was a welcome addition to the family, after so many years of waiting. While attending the pageant, her sister will stay with Lance, she said.

The pageant is judged on four areas including poise and beauty, the interview, physical fitness and the evening gown.

"Rita (Corwin, pageant director) said she was very thankful that I was doing this and that I was very organized," Savatgy said.

"We pick out our own outfits based on the sport we do, so I picked out a running outfit," she said concerning the physical fitness area.

She founded a group called the "Running Divas," who run together across the country. They founded it to help each other lose weight; Savatgy also set up a blog documenting their excursions.

For the evening gown event "the theme is Dream Girls, so I have the Dream Girl's dress," she said. "It's black satin, flared with rhinestones, long black gloves, and the perfect shoes."

Her opening outfit is her favorite, a red cocktail dress with a fun surprise.

"Because I'm representing Juneau, I'm going to wear Xtra Tuffs and a raincoat. I'm going to take the raincoat off but I will be wearing the Xtra Tuffs," she said.

Savatgy didn't hire anyone to coach her due to the lack of time but was pageant tutored off the Internet and prepared for everything else on her own. Usually, contestants hire coaches, physical fitness trainers and more.

She does; however, have background experience that will help her along in the event. Besides being equipped with looks, intelligence and a standout personality, she was a showgirl for Icescapades, performing and traveling around the world.

Her work experience is also beneficial for the pageant concerning presentation and garnering attention.

She was an Army program manager at the Pentagon from 2003-2007.

"I just came from a job where I had to brief fairly high-ranking officers in the military and stand in command attention. As a woman, for one that was tough and as an employee too," she said.

She's also worked for the University of Alaska Southeast and has a Master's degree in Business Administration.

While Savatgy's never been in a pageant before she said she's not nervous, loves being on stage and in the spotlight.

"It is exciting, it's funny and I keep giggling about it. My mother was a model, and she's so excited about it," she said.

The Savatgy's lived in Juneau prior for four years. "I went to living in a town of 30,000 people, to working in a building with 30,000. You just get lost-it was hard for me," she said.

"Being in the Coastguard, a lot of them return. This is my husband's final tour, and we're retiring here. This is our community, this is where we want to raise our son, we fell in love with it here. And, I'm a California girl! But at the same time I had a family here that I never left," she said.

The Mrs. Alaska winner's will reign for a year and attend events across the state. Winners are also given prizes that help prepare for the Mrs. America pageant, which is a two week process.

For Savatgy, representing the state is the best thing about being Mrs. Juneau. She said her favorite thing about Juneau is the people, and certainly not the shopping.

On the application they ask a question on why applicant would be a good Mrs. Alaska. She replied, "it's because I'd make a good Mrs. Savatgy," she said.

"Everyone who's married knows the first three years is really hard, at a time when a lot of our friends got a divorce, we stayed together and work through all the good stuff and the bad stuff, like not being able to conceive. What it means to me is the State's recognition of me being a good wife to my husband," she said.

"Last year, they diapered babies. To me that doesn't represent a good wife or mother. 'Mrs.' in general means to me that I'm a woman who has a job, and is a wife. 'Mrs.' means I can handle anything," she said.

While some hobbies may include the usual replies, her hobbies are her family, she said.

"My life is so good right now with my child. Children change everything but they don't tell you everything. I spent all weekend getting thrown up on; I wanted to make him feel better. I should have been prepping for interview questions (but) that's my job: 'mommy,'" she said.

On her recent return from the pageant, Savatgy said, "I am back without the crown but with the the award for Mrs.Congeniality!"

"Winning Mrs. Congeniality meant more to me than anything because my peers were recognizing me for my inner beauty more than my outer."

The new Mrs. Alaska crown was given to Happy Glorioso, of Eagle River.


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