Lincoln Park Model Mother Aims at Ms. America Title

February 25, 2015

(photo by Dawn Uhl-Zifilippo

This week WDET is examining the downriver community of Lincoln Park.

The city has one export in particular that is set to make waves nationally – a beauty pageant contestant who’s earned the title Ms. Michigan.

At the Traffic Jam Boutique in Wyandotte an entourage of family and fashion store employees circle a young blonde woman trying on a series of long, glamorous gowns.

Those at the boutique say Rachael Adams tends to attract admirerers -- on purpose.

Adams, a former marketing major, says she’s even invented a stage persona to help gain a foothold in the highly-competitive world of modeling.

The Lincoln Park native bills herself as “Rachael Adams…of Detroit.”

“I live on the outskirts of Detroit,” Adams said. “So no, I’m not somebody who really knows the struggles of Detroit. If I go and say ‘Yeah I’m Rachael Adams of Lincoln Park,’ somebody’d say ‘What state is that in?” You know? But Rachael Adams of Detroit? They know instantly who you are. Again it all ties down to marketing, ha! But more – being known as a girl who’s trying to make a difference in the world.”

Adams says she wants to give back to her community as much as move up in the ranks of modeling.

Still, she’s used her marketing know-how – and a lot of chutzpah – to land a bit part in a movie, modeling gigs in magazines, auto shows and car races, and now the chance to represent Michigan in the Ms. America contest.

That’s not the MISS America or Miss USA pageants.

The Ms. America contest is open to women age 26 and up, single or married.

And Adams says it has a theme that fits her to a tee.

She said, “This is more about trying to create a difference and using your crown for a purpose. Which is perfect for me -- that’s exactly what I want to do and what I have been doing for years. I’m a mother, I’m a cub scout leader, I’m an ambassador for autism, I’m linked to tons of charities. So when I seen this is a pageant that highlights that, I thought this is right up my alley. I’ve never done pageants before, ha. So this is all new to me.”

Adams became Ms. Michigan on the strength of her resume and a bubbly telephone interview.

That was it.

She was sent a sash and crown in the mail.

And it sent Adams life into a new cycle.

Standing near Adams in the boutique, her sister Sara Rembo holds one of Adams' four children – a baby only a few months old.

Rembo says those closest to Adams are doing everything from watching her kids to advising her about hairstyles while Ms. Michigan prepares for her turn in the national spotlight.

“Oh they love it,” Rembo said. “Nothing like that big has ever happened to our family. So our parents are very supportive of her as well. If she needs to go do something they’ll watch the kids, they’ll go pick up the kids, they’ll do whatever they need to help. They’re always there just like she’s always there for us.”

In fact Adams put her family to work a decade or so ago in a painting business she created after graduating high school.

But now Adams heads for the full-fledged national beauty pageant – a true contest where the commodities involved are not just how hard you try but how good you look.

Adams knows that world well, having spent years modeling.

But she also recently gave birth and says those who judge her based on almost-impossible-to-achieve physical stereotypes need to reexamine their own standards of what truly makes one a beauty queen.

They will say things, Adams said, like “she looks too old or she’s carrying a little bit too much weight. I say well you know what? I AM getting old. Everybody ages. I’d rather be doing what I love to do and following my dreams and helping the world then looking like the perfect Barbie doll.”

Yet Adams admits for her much is at stake in the upcoming pageant, both for her career and her hopes for community service.

“If I’m just a girl that’s a model trying to go out and save the world and help the world, people might look at you and say ‘Okay, yeah.’ But when you have a crown and a title of Ms. America people might tend to want to listen to you and join on and try to help you,” Adams said.

The national finals of the Ms. America pageant are set for August in California.

Almost assuredly, Lincoln Park will be watching.