We had the opportunity to interview Lisa Van Orden, Ms. New Hampshire United States 2013! Lisa is an extremely accomplished woman: She has a degree, is a licensed esthetician, and a professional makeup artist. Despite her history with bullying, she has pulled through and is now a woman that we can definitely consider a role model.
Name: Lisa Van Orden
Birthday: April 6th
Occupation(s): Esthetician and Professional Makeup Artist
Quote: Nothing is impossible, the word itself say’s “I’m Possible”- Audrey Hepburn
Color: Hot Pink
Accessory: Alex and Ani bracelets and of course my crown!
Food: Chipotle’s Fajita Burrito Bowl
Book: “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrnes
How old were you when you were bullied?
I experienced bullying from the third to the sixth grade so I was about seven or eight years old. I was attending school in a predominately higher class neighborhood where the kids lived in big beautiful homes and wore the coolest Gap and Limited clothes. As a child I was forced to deal with a lot of adversity. I didn’t have a strong female presence in my life and and I didn’t have a good example of a loving relationship between my divorced parents. My older siblings were in and out of correctional facilities, leaving me without older mentors to guide my way. This left me longing for attention and friendship from my peers at school.
I recall trying my hardest to mimic the looks that the other girls were wearing by going to thrift shops to find similar looking styles and clothes. I can’t say that my dad was much of a help in this regard, however, he tried his very best and I am appreciative for that. The kids at school used to make fun of me by putting me down with such statements as “the poor girl” and the “loser”. This left me sitting at the sidelines on the playground or alone at lunch. I recall being scared during gym class because I felt ashamed to always be the last one picked for teams. As I began to develop in the fifth and sixth grade the comments were based around my body. I was made fun of for a more developed chest size and some of the kids would throw tissues and make “Achoo” sneezing noises any time I walked by. The mean girls were insinuating that I was stuffing my bra. I went home crying on multiple occasions and it affected my self-esteem greatly. I hated school and feared going every day.
How did you respond to bullying?
As a kid going through so many tough experiences, I think that for the most part I did my best to “make the best” of things. I definitely was affected by the cruel jokes and statements made towards me, to the point where I would wet my pants at school. I was in constant fear as I entered junior high years because I was constantly on guard due to threats of physical harm towards me. I tried to get more involved with theater and dance which helped to give me a safe haven and a new group of positive kids to befriend.
Has bullying made an impact on your life?
Definitely! My experiences in those formative years shaped my personality and the way that I respond to anxiety, and stress. I have battled with anxiety and depression as a result of my childhood experiences, however I believe that I am a stronger person now as an adult because I had to develop a thick skin early on in the game of life.
What advice would you give to someone who is being bullied right now?
I would recommend getting involved with other groups of kids, whether it’s theater camp, dance, or some type of sports league to help to alleviate the seclusion and to build positive friendships. It is also important for the parents to ensure that the child has a positive mentor or role model to look up to and to turn to. I had a mentor and was involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters, which afforded me the opportunity to have good role models that brought richness back into my childhood years.
What got you interested in pageants?
I was attending a summer camp called “Fun in the Sun” where I had a female camp counselor who became a good friend and mentor for me. She started taking me to dance lessons on Saturdays which I looked forward to each week. It truly helped me to build self confidence. She offered to take me to my first Miss New Hampshire local pageant where I was in total awe of the girls in their crowns and sashes. I really thought they were princesses, or Cinderella! My dad took me to watch her compete at Miss New Hampshire that year and Miss America 1994 was in attendance. Miss America performed the song “Hero” by Maria Carey that night and to my surprise she knelt down and sang directly to me at the end of the aisle. I was so excited and said to myself “I want to be Miss America someday”!
For me, pageants changed my life simply because they gave me something to consistently work towards. I wanted to embody the qualities promoted by the women that I had watched up on the stage throughout my childhood. They were my role models!
I began traveling down the wrong road in high school, but luckily I had a goal in mind to eventually try to chase the dream of becoming Miss America. Because of my dream I got back on track. I learned valuable lessons and made wonderful friendships with strong, confident women throughout my journey in the pageant world. My public speaking skills were polished, and I could tackle any job interview after all of the panel interviews I had to complete. I mastered the art of grace under pressure, and all of these skills have carried forward in my life and career. In my opinion pageants are not about beauty to the women who compete, but about a lifestyle and a dream. Like any other sport, pageantry teaches you about healthy competition and teamwork. Pageantry opens new doors and opportunities for girls like me who may not have been given the opportunity to talk about their experiences. The crown gives you the power to speak to diverse constituencies about what matters most to you.
We are a huge fan of your makeup work. How did you get started?
I became interested in becoming a makeup artist through working as a studio coordinator for a successful makeup artist in the area. I actually went to school and received my bachelor’s degree in Business Studies first before I realized that my career did not bring me any joy or happiness. I decided to follow my passion and my dreams. So, I was able to assist at Boston Fashion week, and shadowed pro makeup artists on my free time to learn as much as I could.
Do you have any beauty advice for our readers?
As an Esthetician, I try to teach my clients about general health first. The skin is a blueprint of you internal health. The best way to have great skin starts with the diet. Eat healthy, and drink plenty of water to keep the skin hydrated. It is also important to practice a double cleanse in the morning and at night with a good cleanser (not bar soap). The first cleanse is to remove dirt, debris and oils, while the second cleanse actually cleanse the skin. Finally, be sure to use SPF 15+ every day to protect the skin from harmful UV rays.
Name one mistake you have made on the way to your current success that you have learned from:
In my high school years I stopped believing in myself and the power that I have inside to make great things happen. It is imperative to believe in yourself and never let fear of failure stand in the way of what you want to achieve.
In the next five years, where do you hope to see yourself?
My goals are to continue my efforts in my community where I work with kids who need a positive role model in their lives, just as I did. Professionally I am eager to continue to learn new techniques and ideas within my field. Ande eventually I would hope to run and operate my own Boutique Spa where I can incorporate inner health with beauty.
Who are your inspirations and why?
My grandmother has always been a strong influence and a huge inspiration in my life. She was a ballroom dancer, photographer, successful business owner amongst many other things. I can only hope to achieve as much success as she has in her life.
If you could tell us three interesting things about yourself, what would they be?
I was fortunate enough to plan and finance over ten European adventures over a span of five years, where I was able to grow as a woman and discover myself. I was able to see many masterpieces including the Statue of David, the Mona Lisa, and Notre Dame.
I am the first female of my family to go to and complete a college degree.
I love old movies including Rogers and Hammerstein musicals and Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers movies.
Is there anything you’d recommend to girls to help them be the most beautiful (and successful) version of themselves?
It is important for girls to believe in themselves no matter what types of adversity they may face. I spearheaded a program called MYFAB Future (Mentoring Youth for a Brighter Future) where I promoted a workshop called “Find your Passion”. The basic message that was given was to inspire young women to find their passion in life and follow those dreams and goals. It is important to be well rounded and it is your own responsibility to know what is happening in the world around you culturally, politically, socioeconomically, and historically.
We look up to Lisa as a role model because she has overcoming bullying and is now extremely successful and accomplished. She is a positive role model and helps her community! Keep up the amazing work Lisa!