June 11, 2007

Delano graduate becomes Mrs. Texas

By Kelsey Linden
Staff Writer

At age 37, Delano graduate Megan (Johnson) Zucaro recently competed in Frisco, Tx. against 22 other wives and mothers for the title of Mrs. Texas 2008.

Now that she has won the title of Mrs. Texas, she is beginning to prepare for the Mrs. United States pageant in July.

Zucaro graduated from Delano in 1988 and currently lives with her husband, Zeke, and their three children, Rocco, Nicoletta, and Isabella, in Texas.

Even though home is now a good thousand miles away, Zucaro insists, “Minnesota has a special place in my heart.”

Minnesota is where she began her life, and Zucaro still says that some of her closest friends are from Delano.

“There is something about having roots,” Zucaro said. “My Delano High School friends love me no matter what. That bond that you create at such a young age is irreplaceable. I literally see them, like, once a year, but it’s like time has never lapsed.”

At Delano High School, Zucaro participated in three sports, band, and other activities.

Zucaro’s parents, Steven and Sue Johnson, now live in Mound.

Ted May, who was the principal at Delano High School from 1982 to 2002, said the Johnson family was always very supportive of education.

“They really promoted their children’s involvement in worthwhile activities,” May said.

“She’s always participated. She lettered in three sports,” Sue Johnson said. “Megan was very athletic, and she’s always been physically fit.”

Even through college at the University of Minnesota, Zucaro maintained a physically fit body as she modeled often during those years. Exercise has always been important to her, she said.

When asked why Zuarco developed an interest in modeling after playing three sports in high school, she said, “I loved sports, but I’m really tall, so people always said I should be a model. Overall, I was excited for a change.”

Zucaro met her husband, Zeke, on an internship in Florida. Shortly after, they were married and now following 10 years of marriage, they are proud parents of their three children.

Together, the Zucaros own Megazee Mortgage, and work to train others in the field of real estate. Originally majoring in broadcast journalism, Zucaro reflects upon how God has turned her life in different directions. She recently became a published author, is an ambassador for the Killeen Chamber of Commerce, and is a member of the National Speakers Association.

With all that is going on in her life, many wondered if adding a pageant into the mix would be too stressful. She believes that if one has a properly balanced life, anything is possible.

Originally, she said she joined the pageant because people informed her that she would be a great role model, but she also wanted to meet other professional women who shared the same interests.

“A lot of times people think of a pageant as a beauty pageant, but at this point, they are evaluated on so much more than physical beauty,” Johnson said. “It’s a competitive sport. The winner of this pageant must be very well rounded.”

Even though a well-rounded personality is emphasized, physical beauty is very important. The three categories that all the candidates are judged on include interview, evening gown, and swim suit.

After being the runner up at the same pageant a year earlier, Zucaro knew that “you have to be good at all three categories in order to win.”

The judges also evaluate what each participant has done in their community, and how they have applied their platforms to their everyday lives. A platform is an avenue for girls to express what they are interested in.

Zucaro’s platform is positive parenting. When discussing the importance of the platform, Zucaro said, “The majority of America are both working parents and what happens is, the kids get left out – not because the parents want to, but because they are so busy doing everything else.

“The purpose of positive parenting is to help our children. In order to help our children, we need to help our parents. It’s about balance in one’s life.”

Balance is an aspect of Zucaro’s life that she truly believed to be the key to her success. With juggling three kids who are all a year apart in age, her life can, at times, be very stressful.

“Anybody can have balance,” she said. “You just have to have a plan and execute it. It’s just like everything else in life where you need the education.”

When she was on stage being announced the winner, Zucaro said, “The feeling was extraordinary.”

Watching the pageant from the crowd, Johnson also said, “Winning the Mrs. Texas competition was just an exciting moment. It was overwhelming. I was thrilled to be a part of it. I was an extremely proud mother.

“When I know Megan as a person, her core values of faith, family and integrity are what showed that weekend. That is what is important to her.”

Although it may appear that pageants are not difficult, they do in fact require a great deal of hard work, time, and dedication. Without hesitation, Zucaro said, “There’s a lot of discipline with it. I have just a tremendous amount of respect for women who do pageants.”

As far as the Mrs. United States competition goes, Zucaro feels excited. “I really want to win Mrs. United States, and I think if I give it 150 percent, I have just as good of a shot as anyone else who is competing in the states.”

Above all, Zucaro is excited to be a part of something that offers an opportunity for mothers and wives to bask in the spotlight.

“This is a celebration of married wives and married mothers,” she said. “It’s about giving appreciation to wives and mothers, because they really are special people, and they’re all out there. I want them to be appreciated. That’s the bottom line.”

In whatever Zucaro pursues, she believes, “You do have to sacrifice things in order to accomplish your dreams. Anybody can make their dreams come true; it’s just a matter of going out there and doing it. Everything that has a purpose takes some type of sacrifice.

“Life throws you curve balls, and you need people that are going to love you no matter what choices you make. It was awesome growing up in Delano and that’s why I continue to talk about it,” she said. “It’s what’s given me the balance in my life that I have. Everything I have in my life is because God provided me with it. I’m an extremely faithful person.”

In all her success, she believes that her family and close friends have played a pivotal role in her life.

“My mother is amazing,” Zucaro said. “I couldn’t ask for a better mother. My family and friends support me 100 percent. They are just the most amazing people.”

Close friend, Stephanie Russek of Delano added, “In my opinion, she (Megan) has a very firm foundation in her faith and family. She just brightens up a room. She would give you the shirt off her back. She’s very giving and she’s pretty much the queen of controlled chaos.

“She makes people feel important. There are just not a lot of people like Megan in the world. Just to have a friend like that in your life is just a blessing from God. It’s like that distance from Minnesota to Texas just isn’t there.”

Russek said Zucaro wants to do her best to utilize the gifts God has given her.

“Whatever she says she’s going to do, she does. She’s not your typical beauty queen,” Russek said. “She works hard for what she does. I’ve known her 24 years, and every minute of it has been a pleasure. Anyone can grow from her.”

Zucaro continues to touch many by her faith-filled example, and truly lives the balance she preaches.

“She was always full of energy and pep,” May said. “She was someone who had leadership, but also had a popular touch, and was very well-liked.”

The Mrs. United States pageant will air July 12, with preliminary competition taking place in Las Vegas from July 8 through 13.

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