Lisa Hemmie of Canton certainly isn't lacking positivity or poise.
A 43-year-old mother of two and veteran of the Marines, Hemmie brims with confidence when talking about bringing her crown as Mrs. Michigan to the national stage to compete for the title Mrs. America, a competition recognizing America's married women.
Hemmie will join 50 other contestants (the District of Columbia also is represented) from Aug. 23-29 to compete in Tucson, AZ. The winner then will advance to the Mrs. World pageant.
Already an active woman — she coaches cheerleaders at her business, and dabbles in the entertainment industry, working as project coordinator on the nationally syndicated children's television program, The Ariel & Zoey Show — Hemmie also devotes much of her time to volunteering.
"A lot of the responsibilities (of being Mrs. Michigan) are charity work and promoting," Hemmie said of her crown.
She said she hopes that by holding the crown, she can help other women pursue volunteerism.
"When you have a title or a crown on your head, it gives instant credibility," she said.
This credibility, she said, facilitates opportunities to volunteer with causes near and dear to her heart, including children with special needs — Hemmie has a nephew with autism — as well as promoting anti-bullying messages and helping veterans through efforts such as Toys for Tots.
But, Hemmie said, the crown doesn't define her efforts. It works quite the contrary, she said.
"It's your actions and who you are," she said.
Hemmie said she began preparing for Mrs. Michigan in November 2011, but didn't tell anyone until the months leading up to the March pageant in Grand Rapids.
"It was a personal journey," she said. "You get to be a certain age, you do some things differently. This was about personal growth for me."
Hemmie said she used the experience to enhance different areas of her life and finally, she said, she felt comfortable telling her loved ones about her pursuit of the state crown.
"When I was ready, I told people about it," she said. "I was very well-supported."
While like traditional pageants, the competition involves evening gown and swimwear attire, Hemmie said women are judged based on poise and confidence.
"It's about how you portray yourself with confidence onstage," she said.
More importantly, she said, the contestant interview weighs heavily, accounting for 40 percent of the total score.
"They look for you to be able to present the information in an articulate, well-spoken way," she said.
For her part, Hemmie said, she won the interview and bathing suit portions of the competition. But, she said, the competition is about poise more than anything else.
"It's not about being super-skinny," she said. "It's how you carry yourself and how you do it with confidence."
Hemmie leaves Aug. 23 for Tucscon, AZ, and will spend a week competing for the Mrs. America title through Aug. 29.
"I'm so excited," she said. "We're going to have a great time. I'm a little nervous, too, but I'm really looking forward to it."
She said she already has made friends during the statewide competition and has touched base with national contestants through outlets such as Facebook.
"I'm involved in a sisterhood that is unique and that I'll have for the rest of my life," she said.