Interview with Breanne Ewing (@iam_breanneewing)

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
As a little girl with a speech impediment, I would often get teased. Watching my confidence diminish, my mom began seeking out opportunities to help me regain faith. She stumbled upon a pageant that promoted belief and promised to equip girls with life skills, like communication and speaking skills. There was no make-up allowed, no swimsuit competition, and having a talent was not required. Not only was preparing and competing in the pageant incredibly fun, but it strengthened my speech and repaired my confidence. To top it off, I ended up winning the pageant! While the doors that opened for me after winning were incredible, the overall pageant experience shaped who I became. The career path I chose to follow….equipping girls and women with the confidence and skills to unleash their potential and have a successful future. From producing pageants to speaking engagements, to working in the fashion industry, to what I choose to post on social media, I have always used this as my foundation and intention.
Can you share the most exciting story that happened to you since you started doing this?
As an adult, upon first meeting, someone with the same standard series of questions gets asked: what’s your name, where are you from, what do you do. I have struggled with the “what do you do” question for years. Most people give an answer that everyone instinctively “gets”, and there is no need for any further details or explanation: doctor, lawyer, vet, etc. This is not the case for me. When I say to people, “I produce pageants,” they immediately picture toddlers and tiaras and give me a look. If I say, “I produce events,” they assume I’m a wedding planner. If I say: “I teach life skills like an interview and public speaking to young women,” they think I am a school teacher. If I say, “I work in the fashion & modelling industry,” they presume I’m lying because I’m only 5 feet tall and “obviously” anyone who works in fashion/modelling has to be elevated. If I say “entrepreneur” or “I own my businesses,” they ask what kind, which requires an explanation usually results in one of the previously mentioned scenarios. So, for about a year, I thought it would be fun to try out different answers in hopes of finding one that would not be met with a stereotype, misconception, or lengthy explanation. One day, I was on an aeroplane, and an older gentleman, about 60, was sitting next to me. We began chatting, which led to those standard questions being asked. “So, what do you do,” he said. Right before we boarded, I had received an e-mail on my phone from the current Miss Missouri, who was about to crown her successor in a few days and wanted to thank me for all I had done for her throughout her reign and for “making her dreams come true.” So, with this freshly in my mind and attempting to test out a new answer, I said, “well, sir, I make dreams come true for a living!” Then, his eyes grew wide. He looked me up and down as I sat there in my seat. He said nothing and then put in his headphones and stared out the window for the remainder of the flight. As the plane landed and we started to disembark the aircraft, the man quietly leaned over to me and asked, “how much does a night usually cost for something like that?” I was confused by his question. He continued, “I am a strong, married Christian man, praying for you the whole flight. God has called upon me to give you your nightly rate to free you of your sins tonight and reflect on his purpose and love for you.” My mouth dropped to the floor, as I quickly began to put together what he thought I had meant when I said, “I make dreams come true for a living.” So, now when I meet a stranger on an aeroplane, and they ask what I do for a living, I respond with “lawyer.” It makes the rest of the plane ride go much smoother.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them thrive and not “burn out”?

#1. Remember, that people inherently NEED to connect to something. When they are seen and heard, they feel connected. When you are real and honest about yourself and your interactions with them, they feel connected. If you are not making it a priority to connect with people, you will not be able to gain a loyal customer following. Everything I do, from what I post on social media, to events, to personal interaction – I make it a point to connect with people, to ask questions about THEIR life, and to make sure that they feel seen, heard, and that they matter to me. This is often overlooked by entrepreneurs or business owners because, frankly, it’s exhausting when you are trying to juggle so many balls as the boss. But, it’s what keeps customers coming back and good employees sticking around. #2. Spend the money to scale, automate, and market. Spending money can be scary, and you may loose a bunch of it. I sure have before. But, loosing a bunch of money to know what doesn’t work is more important than spending zero money and thinking you can figure out what does. #3. Delegate. Find people who can do the work for you. It may not be “as good” as you would have done it. But, some work getting done is better than no work getting done because you have too much to do on your plate. However, this goes back to #1 – if you make it a point to connect with people, you will be able to build a team of employees, interns, assistants, vendors, etc who you can trust to do a quality job when you delegate projects on to them.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Sometimes I think it would be cool to be one of those successful, bad-ass women I read about who didn’t need a man and did it all independently. I respect and admire those women. But, then I think – hot damn, how lucky I am that I have a man I’ve built a business and a life WITH. My husband would be the engine if our life together were a vehicle. He may hide below the hood, unseen, but his “manpower” (pun intended) is what keeps us driving forward. We were 10 when we met (in a children’s acting class in our hometown), 21 when we started dating, 26 when we started running my parent’s business together, and 30 when we started our own business. At 26, we were both broke and living together in Los Angeles. I convinced him to leave his dream of being a movie star behind and to move back to the midwest with me to run my parent’s business. Everyone in LA is a struggling actor, and most of them are struggling for years, never “making it.” Packing up and peacing out on the West Coast seemed like the more financially secure option, especially having put in a solid few years in LA and coming out with empty pockets and no star on the walk of fame. It took some convincing. But when he did finally agree, he went all in. That’s Ryan; when he does something, he’s ALL in. I love that most about him. Sometimes, I wonder what would have happened had he stayed out in LA, pursuing his childhood dream of being the next Matthew McConnaughy. Sometimes I feel guilty that I talked him into another life. But, most of the time, I feel gratitude towards him. In a world where “strong, successful, independent women” DOES NOT equal “, I built a business with my husband,” I am hopeful that we are changing that perception as a “power couple.” Women are fighting to break glass ceilings and fight for their place in the patriarchy, and rightfully so!!!! But, I think it is JUST as important not to diminish or dis-empower the women climbing the ladder of success WITH a man. I am grateful to Ryan for all that he contributes personally and professionally to our life and the gamble he took to give up on his dream. But, I am most grateful that he empowers my strength, encourages my independence, and is by my side for all of the successes.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
At each pageant I produce, every contestant takes part in “The I Am Worth It Retreat.” Every girl does this: the four-year-old, the 14-year-olds, the 24-year-olds..and myself. This retreat takes place after all the competitions are over and right before the Finale. During this mini-retreat, each girl is given a compact mirror & a sharpie. They are asked to look in the mirror and, as they do, to think about all the things they accomplished at the pageant & all the things they are capable of achieving. Then they are told to write the first word that comes to mind when they see themselves in the mirror. They then stand in front of all the girls and share their word, and as they do, every girl cheers, shouts and empowers her to remind her that she is worth it; SHE MATTERS, SHE IS SEEN, SHE IS HEARD! At the end of the retreat, they then take the mirror to their family, who is there with them. On the other mirror, their family members write the words of what they see when they look at her and together, intimately, they share these words with her, reading her once again: SHE IS WORTH IT, SHE MATTERS, SHE IS SEEN, SHE IS HEAR. No girl nor her family have ever written: “Miss California or Miss Missouri.” Instead, the words are: brave, confident, honest, kind, fierce, loved, worthy, saved, etc. When I first developed this concept, I intended to find a positive way to avoid the negative that can come with the competition when you/your child doesn’t “win.” I didn’t quite realise the power of that little mirror. I began being pulled aside by tearful parents, receiving their heartfelt e-mails, handwritten letters from girls, being tagged in posts on social media…all sharing their stories of struggles with anxiety, suicide, abuse, divorce, death, bullying. They all expressed gratitude, yes, for the confidence & skills that were etched into them or their daughter from the pageant experience, but that little mirror mattered most. Even years later, long after a girl has stopped competing in the pageant for one reason or another, I have girls and moms who will send me to thank yous and let me know that she STILL keeps that mirror in her nightstand, her locker, even under her mattress and how it’s gotten them through a tough time recently. While the pageant, itself, brings goodness to the world in the fact that it helps to positively shape young women, allowing them to discover who they are, sharping skills in communication and interview, and build self-confidence…’s that little compact mirror that has helped to empower girls when they are facing their lowest days by reminding them that THEY ARE WORTH IT!
Do you have a favourite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?
“What is your Intention.” When I was in high school, I had like 1 hour between school getting out and whatever club or after school activity, I was involved in would start. I’d run home, grab a snack, do my homework, and put the Oprah Winfrey show on in the background. Oprah’s voice is the background music of my teenage years. LOL! I would always catch her saying: “what’s your intention?” And like all teenagers, it went in one ear and out the other. I would sass back for years, speak up, and tell people what I thought even when they didn’t ask for my opinion. I thought that’s what “strong, successful, independent” did. Fast forward to my mid-20s, and Oprah was going off the air; she did a whole show with her staff and her team talking about the journey of creating the show together over the years. And they kept referencing how Oprah would always ask, “what’s our intention when making decisions about the show.” I started to think about the good Oprah had done, the people she inspired, the messages she shared with the world, and how she had used her voice to speak up. But, she had done so… with intention. She wasn’t just speaking up and sparking change because she was a strong, successful, independent woman, and she could. Instead, she was intentional with her words, choices, and WHY. It has DRAMATICALLY shifted my approach to everything in life. When I get a ridiculous complaint from a customer, and I want to go off because what they are saying is so inaccurate, when I think a friend is making what I consider to be a wrong life choice and want to tell her my thoughts despite her ever asking, when I think my cousin is parenting incorrectly. I want to shame her; when someone DMs on social media with negativity and I want to sass back, I take a beat to consider my intention. Because of this, my relationships have strengthened, and so has my business. But more importantly, so has the way that I have been able to impact other girls and women. I often speak with them about being intentional, from what is your why for competing in the pageant, what do you hope to gain out of aligning yourself with that charity, what do you want your clothes to say about you, what change do you want to spark in the world, what do you hope to accomplish by speaking up….what is your intention?
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Instagram: @iam_breanneewing TikTok: @iam_breannewing Facebook: NAM Breanne Ewing
Anything specific you’d like to have mentioned in the article?
I can say all 50 states in alphabetical order in under 30 seconds; I have never somersaulted my life; I am obsessed with dipping my breakfast sausage in melted peanut butter, and my answering these interview questions felt like I was writing college acceptance essays. XO