Miss Ohio 2012 - Audrey Bolte

Every path that leads to the Miss Ohio crown is unique. We’re not talking about the path to select the perfect dress or what trick of the trade works best (we’ve heard the Vaseline story one too many times). No, we’re talking about the ups, downs, twists and turns that lead one lucky woman each year to claiming the Miss Ohio title. Some have taken the path many times, but there are some, like Audrey Bolte, who may not have taken the easiest route to get there, but she got the directions right the very first time.

Q & A
What made you want to be part of the Miss USA franchise and particularly Miss Ohio?

I was absolutely clueless when it came to pageants growing up. I was a tomgirl. I loved horses and loved being outside. My mom would be so irritated because I would come home dripping in mud and covered in clay. A couple of years ago, I had a friend who ran for Miss Ohio and she had never been in a pageant before, either, and she told me about what a wonderful experience she had and how it changed her life and opened so many doors for her. She also had the chance to make a big impact as well by helping kids through a variety of charities. It had been in the back of my mind for a few years and I always liked the idea, but when I entered college I was pretty dedicated to school. I was also in North Carolina and you kind of have to live in Ohio to be Miss Ohio. I was also dedicated to my equestrian team in school. My whole life, when I get dedicated to something, it’s a one-way road. I’m very loyal and I work, work, work. My agent kept asking me if I wanted to do it and thought that I should go for it. My mom also encouraged me. Finally, after I graduated, they reminded me again. I got accepted into the pageant and got a job offer on the very same day. Talk about a jam-packed day of excitement. I definitely got a pint of ice cream that day to celebrate. 

What went through your head right before you went on stage?
Well, let’s talk about the first time I walked into the dressing room at 6 a.m. I was shell-shocked. I was like, “What did I walk into?” I showed up in a T-shirt and sweat pants and some of these girls were done up already. We were in rehearsals. I didn’t need to be done up. In the modeling world, you showed up in your tennis shoes with heels in hand, but these girls were in it to win. So, stepping on the stage for the first time was different. Everything down to your presence was different than what I was used to. 

This was your first pageant ever and you won!

I’ve never been in a pageant before. I’ve done modeling, runway shows and photography. What I realized during college, in an internship at a hospice facility and working at a summer camp for kids, my eyes were opened to what I really wanted to do and that’s something in the service industry by helping to raise money for organizations. While working at the hospice center, I helped with a fundraiser and raised a record-setting amount of $72,000. All of the money went to those who couldn’t afford hospice care. There are so many wonderful people who work for those organizations and I love being able to help those organizations and get people excited about helping them, too. The wheels started turning when I joined the pageant because people will listen to me even more now. That was one of the main reasons why I wanted to run for Miss Ohio. The other one is because I love to empower people. Like when you give someone a riding lesson and they learn how to ride a horse. That’s a 1,000-pound animal and you’re controlling it. You’re the boss. Do you know how uplifting that can be? I’ve seen little kids, my parents – they just get a lot of strength from it. Horses have funny ways of teaching you responsibility without even trying. It can’t reach its water bucket without you. It can’t feed itself if it’s in the stall. It can’t clean its feet out. They rely on you. That’s what made me the woman I am today. I’m not a slacker and I know I have to work for what I want. I was never handed a nice horse. I had to make my own horse. If the horse had a problem, you had to work with it. That’s how you learn work ethic. A lot of people didn’t know how hard I worked on a horse to train them until they rode it. They were amazed how I transformed them. I just worked really hard at it. That’s why I ran for Miss Ohio. I want to empower people.

What was the experience like for you?

Well, when I stepped out on stage they called me Top 15. I felt very confi dent in my performance from the day before. They got to number 8 and I was starting to get nervous but then I was like, “I got this. I know I can make Top 15.” They kept calling the names, and for a second I was hesitant and then I was like, “No, be confi dent.” Right then, they called my name and I was like a football player. I was like, “Yea!” That pumped me up more. Then we went back and changed for Top 15 and we came back out for Top 5. They called my name last. I kept talking to myself. “You did good. This was your fi rst pageant ever and you made Top 15. You did good.” Then I was like, “No, you’ve been good with your diet and working out.” I did my diet the healthy way but I was hunnngrry! I can eat twice the amount my dad does at Thanksgiving. I eat a ton and I don’t know where it goes. All of a sudden, they called the fourth girl and I said to myself, “I want it!” Then they called my name and I was like, “YES!” But I was standing up there and I was numb when they announced my name when I won. I didn’t know what to do with my hands. I didn’t have anything going through my head. They shoved the fl owers in my hand and put the crown on my head. I looked at my mom and I didn’t know what to do.

What is your focus during your reign?

Living with a positive attitude, empowering women and raising money for breast cancer awareness and ovarian cancer will be my focus. I want people to realize you can do something you never thought you could do. 

What were you like when you were 13 years old and then 16 years old?

Those are two different dramatic ages for me. At 13, I had buck teeth. I had no self-confi dence at 13. I went from kinky, poufy hair to straight hair. I had braces. I was quiet and wasn’t a social butterfl y. That’s where I went through a stage of where I was very unsure of everything. I was very withdrawn sometimes. But, then I got my braces off and then people started to look at me a little differently. Boys started to pay attention to me. My mom told me that if someone gives you a compliment to say thank you, because I was very bad at taking compliments. Now that’s drilled into my head. At 16, you also get a car. My fi rst car was a Dodge Dakota truck. I called it White Thunder. I went from this quiet girl with braces and hair in her face to people starting to notice me and I didn’t know how to handle it.

Do you have a nickname? How’d you get it?

Butch. My mom called me Butch just because I would be this girl with all these horses and be scrubby dirty but somehow in 15 minutes I’d be ready to go to dinner. I’d be driving my big truck and would step out of my truck in my heels to go to modeling jobs. 

What is your most notable characteristic?

I’m just different. I’m a very independent person. I can be dirty all day and turn around and get pretty. I’m very giving and caring and I’ll practically bend over backwards to help someone out. I believe in karma. What goes around comes around. You do good things and it will come back to you. I’m tough, too. 

What is your greatest fear?

Being buried alive. Another fear is not pushing myself as far as I could. I never want to feel that I’m missing out on something.

What makes you angry?

People stereotyping others because of the way they look or dress. That fires me up.

End war or end world hunger?

War will never end. People will always be in a struggle for power, but you can do something about hunger.

What was your first job?

My first paid job was at PetSmart. I know how to take care of animals and where do they stick me? Fish! I love fish and I like to fish but I don’t know anything about tropical fish.

Anything else you want our readers to know about you?

I am a normal, everyday person. I’m a small-town girl but that doesn’t stop me from having big town dreams.

Heels or sneakers?

Stilettos make your legs look fine!

If the shoe fits, it would be made by…?

Chinese Laundry.

Political views – public or private?

Keep them private because everyone is entitled to their opinion.

Move every six months or live in the same place your entire life?

Move every six months. I love to make friends wherever I go and learn about new cultures.

Know the truth or leave some things secret?

Know the truth; it’s better for you.

Be gossiped about or never talked about at all?

Maybe you can make a positive impact by being gossiped about.