Most Beautiful Women
To some, beauty means staying in shape, having a contagious smile and possessing a keen fashion sense. To others, its more about whats insidebeing kind and generous, volunteering free time for those less fortunate or having a passion for life.
When we asked our readers to nominate a woman whom they thought was beautiful on the inside and out, we didnt know what kind of response to expect. What we received was nearly 100 nominations from husbands, mothers, daughters, coworkers, students and friends. After learning about each woman through the generous and heartfelt words that were written in the nominations and looking over the many smiling faces in their photographs, we finally made some tough decisions and narrowed the group down to the 10 beautiful women you will meet on the following pages. The women that we chose are dedicated to their families and eager to do anything in their power to better their community. Theyve overcome obstacles and emerged with such a positive outlook on life that merely being in their presence is inspiring. It is with great honor that we present who we feel are the 10 most beautiful women in Hampton Roadsinside and out.
Occupation: Payroll coordinator for Icelandic USA Inc.; instructor/owner of Shape Up with SherryLadies BootCamp
Family: Three beautiful children, ages 6, 9 and 10
Standout Assets: Single mom; business owner; student; fitness role model; body builder
What her nominator said: She is stunning when you see her but, more importantly, she has a heart of gold. She pours her heart into the women in her boot camp class and encourages them on a regular basis. Shes a single mother to three children, but she doesnt use it as a crutch. She wants to prove that single mothers can be successful and happy regardless of the cards they have been dealt in life.
How would you define beauty? Beauty is an inner strength that shines through, regardless of your circumstances. Beautiful people are strong women and men who strive to improve their life and the lives of others.
Whats the first thing you think about when you wake up? How blessed I am.
What do you feel is your most important role? Being a mom. Through motherhood, I have the ability to influence the lives of three people who will in turn influence the lives of those around them. I have the opportunity to instill values in them that will carry them through life.
What has been your proudest moment? Winning first place in my first NASF Body Building Competition. A year prior, my self esteem was low, I was not exercising, and I had become very complacent in my life. I trained, worked, went to school and raised my kids all with a purpose. I did it! I finished what I started and since then have inspired so many others to do the same. Not necessarily to compete, but to remember to take the time to nurture themselves, set personal goals and recognize their strengths as women.
Describe the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome. When I first dreamed of starting my own business and becoming a certified trainer, I had a few people say they felt I couldnt or wouldnt succeed because of my lack of experience. I was determined to turn my dream into reality. In August of 2009 I started Shape Up with SherryLadies Boot Camp, and I havent looked back. I have learned to take my obstacles, stack them up like stairs and step up to what lies ahead.
What is the best piece of advice you have received? Dont settle for what you think you deserve based on your past mistakes or current circumstances.
Do you have a guilty pleasure? Oh yes! Swedish Fish!
Whats the best compliment youve ever received? From the ladies in my classes. To know that I motivated another individual to live a healthier lifestyle is an incredible feeling.
City: Virginia Beach
Occupation: Chef instructor at Tidewater Community College; sous chef at the Virginia Beach Resort Hotel
Family: Married for 15 years
Standout Assets: Mentor to young chefs; caretaker for elderly parents
What her nominators said: She is a great instructor. She is a mentor to her students. She takes an interest in the students that have talent, pushes them and encourages them on their own path to being a great chef for our region. Her students love her because she takes an interest in them. We should have more teachers like her.
Who is your strongest female role model? My second grade teacher from John B. Dey Elementary School, Penny Laderberg. I was born in the Far East, and when I came to America she was the person that taught me that I could achieve the American Dream.
What do you feel is your most important role? Being a mentor to the next generation of chefs in the Hampton Roads.
What has been your proudest moment? Watching students find their own voice and learning about themselves through their own culinary adventures.
Describe the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome. Trying to reinvent myself at the age of 40 by going to culinary school in a field that is dominated by men and young people.
What is your biggest goal in life? To put Hampton Roads on the map as a culinary destination.
What is the best piece of advice you have received? You can do anything at any age.
What are three words that describe you? Intense, effervescent, passionate.
What do you feel is your best feature? My smile, but my husband says my legs.
What is your favorite aspect about living in Hampton Roads? The local food. It is amazing. We have the Chesapeake Bay that has some of the best seafood. Smithfield and Surry with great ham and sausages, plus some of the greatest farmers like Bay Breeze Farms and Cullipher Farms.
In what ways do you feel your community has helped you? Growing up in Hampton Roads gave me an appreciation of all the bounty of nature. I used to go crabbing and fishing, and this taught me how much this area has to offer. I have learned to incorporate all these wonderful foods into my culinary style, which I believe is very unique and something I take pride in.
Occupation: Office administrator for her familys company, Davis Interiors (third-generation employee)
Family: In a committed relationship with her boyfriend, a Norfolk firefighter, for more than 4 years
Standout Assets: Community advocate; organizer of the inaugural Survive Norfolk charity event in October 2010; founder of the Lafayette River Circle
What her nominator said: Whitney is more committed than anyone I know to making positive changes that will benefit the people around her and the local organizations that strive to do great things for the community. I am very proud of Whitney for the outstanding work she has done this past year, and I know the people of Norfolk are too.
Who is your strongest female role model? My mom, Rexanne, is the most inspiring woman Ive ever known. Shes a 22-year breast cancer survivor and taught me at a young age that giving back to your community is the most important legacy you can leave behind.
Tell us about a charity or organization that has had the strongest influence on you. My first job post-graduation was working for the Hope House Foundation, which helps adults with developmental disabilities lead independent lives. I became very close with a gentleman I supported, Kevin, who is now like a brother to me. Both he and HHF gave me a new perspective on how to have tolerance and respect for people from all walks of life.
What has been your proudest moment? Surveying the scene at Survive Norfolk and seeing thousands of people full of energy and excitement. I got to see the community come together in the most amazing way possible, and that moment will stay with me for the rest of my life.
Describe the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome. Cramming about six months of prep work and fundraising into just five days in order to make Survive Norfolk happen. Canceling it was never an option to me, so I did everything I could to make sure that didnt happen.
What are three words that describe you? Adventurous, outgoing, quirky.
Whats the best compliment youve ever received? The humbling and inspiring words Mike Gruss wrote about me for a column on the aftermath of Survive Norfolk in The Virginian-Pilot. It was a call to action for Norfolks arts community to pay attention to the young adult population desperate for fun, hip activities in the area as well as to the community at large to put forth more effort to support the arts institutions here.
What is your favorite aspect about living in Hampton Roads? Ghent! Theres so much to do around there, and I can walk everywhere I need to go. Great bars, restaurants, shops and the Naro. Being 20 minutes away from the beach is pretty nice too.
Occupation: Vice president/general manager of United States Sales Corporation, a military manufacturers representative agency
Family: An 11-year-old son, Taylor, who is the joy
of her life
President of the Hampton Roads Logistics Association; single parent to a son
with special needs
What her nominator said: Heather always puts others needs, wants and desires above her own. She gets great pleasure giving back to her family and community and never expects anything in return. The joys she brings to others is the biggest reward.
How would you define beauty? To me the meaning of beauty is what radiates from within: integrity, self confidence, strength, dedication, help and support of others.
Who is your strongest female role model? Jackie Kennedynot only a woman with amazing style and elegance but a true representative of refinement, graciousness and intellectualism.
What do you feel is your most important role? It is really the balance of two roles. First, being a strong, supportive mother is my most meaningful role in life, especially as a single parent. This is the role that fills my heart. Second are my professional roles, for they give me mental stimulation and the opportunity to interface with other committed professionals.
Tell us about a charity or organization that has had the strongest influence on you. Id have to say it is a tie between Autism Speaks and Cookies for Kids Cancer. My son was diagnosed with autism nine years ago, and sadly, as of today, there is no cure. It is important to me to help educate and bring awareness of how this disorder is affecting more and more of our children. Cookies for Kids Cancer was founded by dear colleagues of mine whos young son just lost his battle with neuroblastoma in January.
What has been your proudest moment? After months and months of intense speech and occupational therapy from CHKD, the first time my son said mama at age 3. It was the best music to my ears!
Describe the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome. Finding a healthy balance between being a strong mother figure to a special needs child and building a successful career path.
In what ways do you feel your community has helped you? I have the privilege of serving on the Hampton Roads chapter of the American Logistics Association board as the current chapter president. We sponsor numerous events throughout the year to raise funds to support our annual scholarship program of deserving students from within our local military community. In the past 10 years, we have been able to award more than $200,000 in scholarships to deserving students that might not have had an opportunity to further their education without the support.
Occupation: Director of the Office of Educational Accessibility at Old Dominion University
Family: Married to husband, John (president of ODU), for 32 years; mother to three sonsRyan, 30, Matthew, 26, and Aaron, 16
Standout Assets: First Lady of ODU; activist for students
What her nominator said: Between her own career and serving as ODUs First Lady, Kate works 6070 hours per week on average. Regardless, she is never too busy, too tired or too otherwise occupied to help. If one of her students calls or emails, she drops everything to help them find a solution to their problem.
What do you feel is your most important role? All of them. Since I wear, and have worn, many hatsmom, wife, nurse, educator, First Lady of ODU and director of the Office of Educational Accessibility, which serves students who require educational accommodationsI believe that it is the many facets of my life that make me who I am. Changing any one of them changes who I am. I believe that we are the sum of our experiences.
Tell us about a charity or organization that has had the strongest influence on you. Old Dominion University has had the strongest influence on me for many reasons. Between my career and my husbands career, we have spent more than 17 years engaged in the growth, the triumphs, the challenges and the incredible mission of this institution. Working with my students, in particular, I have been inspired and moved by their determination to obtain a college degree despite some tough obstacles.
What has been your proudest moment? When I held my newborn granddaughter just seconds after she came into the world.
What are three words that describe you? Advocate, athletic, assertive.
Whats your favorite way to spend your free time? I love to competitively sail, exercise, and to travel to exotic places and then come home to Hampton Roads.
What is your favorite aspect about living in Hampton Roads? I have lived in many places, from Boston to Marthas Vineyard to Western New York. What I like best about this area is the convergence of many cultures that add to the richness of this melting pot, and of course, the weather.
Occupation: Founder and executive producing director of The New Theatre of Chesapeake
Family: Engaged to Robert Dozier; wedding date set for July
Standout Assets: Performing artist; arts activist
What her nominator said: She is a very caring person and wants to bring the arts to Chesapeake to not only enrich the community culturally but also to help the businesses reap the benefits. After traveling the country she has seen firsthand the impact that the arts can make and realizes Chesapeake needs this. As the states third largest city, she sees the potential for a quality arts program.
How would you define beauty? Beauty is what stirs the soul. Love is beautiful. An act of kindness is beautiful. Artistic expression is beautiful. Beauty is subjective. It doesnt matter what it is that we find beautiful, only that we have beauty in our lives. Beauty is all around, but you must look for it and recognize it to appreciate it.
What do you feel is your most important role? I have played many roles in the theater. Some would expect that my role as an artist is most important to me. While my art does play a huge role in my life, it has been family that has played the greatest role: a good partner (to my fiance and soon-to-be-husband), a good sister and sister-in-law and a good daughter and granddaughter.
What has been your proudest moment? The standing ovation at my one-woman show. I thought, My God, not only are they still here, but theyre on their feet! I did it. I made an impression.
What is the best piece of advice you have received? Stand up straight, practice a firm handshake, and when someone tells you no, let it roll over you like a wave, emerge upright and carry on.
Do you have a guilty pleasure? Do you have an extra page? For the sake of brevity, Ill go with ... dark chocolate, good wine and hot baths followed by a pink robe and bunny slippers.
In what ways do you feel your community has helped you? The Hampton Roads community gave me my start in the arts. Now I am back with a degree from a prestigious music conservatory and tons of experience in the field, and I want to give back. That is why I founded The New Theatre of Chesapeake, Chesapeakes premier professional theater company. Our goal is to offer high-quality live entertainment at affordable costs and to have a state-of-the-art performance venue built in the city of Chesapeake.
City: Virginia Beach
Occupation: Graphic designer, restaurant interior design assistant and photographer for Flourish Designs Inc.
Family: Married to husband, Scott, for 12 years; two childrenEliza, 11, and Quinn, 8
Standout Assets: Stand up paddler and founder of BOOBS (Babes Only On Boards); co-founder of Guardian Angels Fund; co-director of Surfers Healing VB; runner for Team Hoyt VB; founder or her neighborhoods surf club
What her nominator said: If its broken, shell fix it. If its hurt, shell heal it. If it needs help, shell help it. She has dedicated her life unselfishly to volunteerism and awareness. We are the luckiest family in the world to have her in our lives.
Tell us about a charity or organization that has had the strongest influence on you. After seven years of being involved with Surfers Healinga non-profit, California-based group that takes children with autism surfingthe impact of these kids on our lives has been profound, and we can only hope we have left as much of a mark on them as they have on us. These kids may not be able to verbalize as much as you and I, but they are purely amazing on the inside. They have led by examplebelieve in yourself and just go for it. Their parents have led by example as well, a true testimony to giving your kids wings and letting them fly.
What has been your proudest moment? Hands down stand up paddling 28 miles around Manhattan with my husband, Scott, last summer to help raise money for several different autism charities, including Surfers Healing.
Whats the best compliment youve ever received? My husband has the purest soul and is a great person on the inside and out. The fact that he chose me to share the rest of his life is a pretty huge compliment.
Whats your favorite way to spend your free time? Any time spent with my family, running with Team Hoyt VB, paddle boarding, Crossfit, photography and helping with other great charities such as Life Rolls On and Wounded Warriors Surf Camp.
Do you have a guilty pleasure? Facebook.
In what ways do you feel your community has helped you? Im amazed at how many of our Hampton Roads neighbors show up to help at our eventsfrom the neighbors that show up at our house at 4 a.m. on a Surfers Healing day to start moving tents, tables and surfboards to the clubs and organizations that donate their time to fundraisers and financial support to make these events happen. There are also so many other folks out there in our community leading by example and spending their time helping others. Many of my Hampton Roads friends and neighbors are out there doing just that, and I find them to be both an inspiration and a motivation.
Occupation: Librarian at U.S. Joint Forces Command in Suffolk
Family: Married to
husband, Jerry, for 43 years; mother to Jerry,42, Rickie, 40, and Chris, 36
Standout Assets: Breast
cancer and brain surgery
survivor; founder of breast cancer awareness organization Pearls for Promise
What her nominator said: When I look at Paulette, I see radiance. Radiance that says through all I have endured I am not dead; I am alive. God has given her another chance, and with this opportunity she embraces the likelihood to help others who may not know how to see tomorrow after receiving a diagnosis that sounds like death rather than an opportunity to triumph.
Whats the first thing you think about when you wake up? How grateful I am for just waking up and opening my eyes and being able to get up.
What do you feel is your most important role? My roles as a wife, mother and being that shining light for someone that might be in a dark place because of their health issues. I have done some counseling and hand-holding when it was needed most.
Tell us about a charity or organization that has had the strongest influence on you. The American Cancer Society has had a very strong influence on me, so much so that I became a Reach to Recovery volunteer for ACS.
Describe the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome. After surviving breast cancer, I had to battle my way back from a brain tumor. The prognosis was not very favorable, but God made me better than brand new. My co-workers nicknamed me Benjamin Button.
What are three words that describe you? Happy, blessed, victorious.
What do you feel is your best feature? I think my smile is my best feature and my ability to put people at ease. People are comfortable around me because I am very approachable, which causes them to open up to me.
What is your favorite aspect about living in Hampton Roads? The wonderful medical care I received at Mary Immaculate and Riverside Hospital. The easy accessibility to the local parks, restaurants and entertainment venues, and the beautiful Chamberlin Hotel, where I have held some breast cancer-related fundraisers. There is always something exciting and fun for my family and me to do in Hampton Roads.
Occupation: Manager of Silhouette Mastectomy Boutique in Newport News
Family: Engaged to Steve Black after six years of dating; mother to Shelby, 34, Aimee, 28, and Brooke, 23; grandmother to Ashleigh and Zachary
Standout Assets: Breast cancer advocate, working to help survivors
What her nominator said: Teresa is passionate about helping women regain their self-esteem and realize they are beautiful, even in the face of devastating health issues. She has been instrumental in recognizing young women with breast cancer who are in dire need of support from women who understand their unique problems with this disease.
Who is your strongest female role model? My mother, Molly Howlett, was diagnosed with breast cancer in her early 30s in 1966. Her hardheaded attitude gave her the power to extend her life 35 years past the six months she was given by doctors. And yes, she passed that trait on to me and other members of my family.
What do you feel is your most important role? It has changed over the years. Initially, as a young divorced mother, it was to help my girls become strong, independent women. Then, with my children grown, to redefine myself. Now my goal is to nurture women of the community and help them find their inner strength to deal with their challenges.
Tell us about a charity or organization that has had the strongest influence on you. Without a doubt, it is Beyond Boobs. This is an amazing group of young survivors that goes way beyond support group. Its a sisterhood, a family that helps young women navigate the very tough journey after breast cancer diagnosis. There is also guidance and support for caregivers and education and awareness about breast health for the community.
What has been your proudest moment? Its funny how everything cycles around. All the highs and lows of my life, the deaths, the personal tragediesdivorce, a lumpectomy and cancer scare, living with lupus, having heart surgeryhave prepared me for this amazing career that I have now. Im in a position to help so many women with so many different needs and can truly relate to their situations.
What do you feel is your best feature? To always find the good in every situation, even the ones that seem impossible. Im the silver lining queen! I strive to help others also find that bright spot.
City: Virginia Beach
Occupation: Education specialist at the Virginia Beach Aquarium and Marine Science Center
Standout Assets: Founder of the Virginia Beach Aquariums Nature Trail docent program; leader of the Animal Ambassadors program; fosters special needs pets
What her nominator said: Knowing CarolAnn, it should come as no surprise that many of her hobbies center around animals. She is truly passionate about animal training, whether it is in a professional capacity or at home working with foster animals. She constantly explores different strategies and approaches when it comes to expanding her knowledge and experience in this field.
What has been your proudest moment? Every day when I see how my animals at home or my animal ambassadors at work act so excited to see me and how they listen, learn and respond by flying to me or giving me a hug or a head butt or saying, I love you. It melts my heart, and I think I must be doing something right.
What is the best piece of advice you have received? My grandmother was a character, a real tough cookie. She would always say, Feed em and youll never get rid of em. Boy was she right! Training animals involves a lot of feedinggiving them positive reinforcement, establishing relationships, building trust. Working with kids involves a lot of feedingacknowledging their interests, building self esteem, fueling their dreams.
Whats the best compliment youve ever received? Because of the type of work that I do, Ive had the luxury of getting compliments every day. I work with live animals who are ambassadors for their species and the habitats in which they live. The animal ambassadors are amazing so they often generate big reactions. Professionals who are in the industry have told me that my rapport with the animals is exceptional and that I have an uncanny animal sense. That means a lot.
What do you feel is your best feature? My adventurous and humorous nature.
Whats your favorite way to spend your free time? I really enjoy hanging out with my animals at home. Lately, most of my time is spent incorporating Baby, an umbrella cockatoo with a screaming problem, into my wild family life.
In what ways do you feel your community has helped you? Back in 1996 I started working with young volunteers who were 1112 years old. Those kids continue to remind me of how important it is to inspire a sense of community. Theyve come back and told me stories of where they are, what theyve done, whats important to them and what they hope to become. They care, they give back, they have a sense of responsibility and accountability, theyre hardworking, theyre motivated, theyre bright and theyre our future. My community has given me so many years of wonderful memories, big dreams and a sense of hope.