Meet Mrs. NY America 2018
Patti Gomez Baker is a marketing professional, an Army veteran and Mrs. New York 2018. She is also a military spouse and a new mom. In her spare time she enjoys traveling, photography and spending time on the water with her family - which includes a dog named Bear and two Vietnamese potbelly pigs, Maize and Blue.
1. The Mrs. NY Pageant was your first pageant. Why did you get involved in the competition? I got involved in the competition as a way to increase awareness and raise funds for my platform, Homes For Our Troops - a nonprofit organization that builds specially-adapted custom homes for disabled post-9/11 veterans, to enable them to rebuild their lives. As a veteran and a military spouse, it is a cause that is very near and dear to my heart. The entire experience was completely new to me - the gowns, the shoes, the photoshoots, all of the appearances; but there's so much more that goes into pageantry. It's not just smiling and waving, it's really being out in the community and doing the work.
2. How did the public respond when you made the news for being an Army veteran and Mrs. NY? I would say that it was overwhelmingly positive. Of course, there were a few that couldn't wrap their heads around someone in the military being in a pageant, but overall I received so much support. I think there's still a stigma that still surrounds pageantry, but what I've found in the pageant world is that these women are exceptional - they are doctors, lawyers, authors, etc. and they just happen to also be pageant queens. In the years that have followed I have encountered so many young girls and women who are both in the military world and the pageant world. I wouldn't say that I "paved the path" or anything like that, but due to all of the media exposure that I received, it definitely brought it to the spotlight during my reign.
3. What impact did you make on veterans as Mrs. NY? From a monetary and time perspective, I raised funds and did a lot of volunteering with multiple veteran organizations; but if you're referring to the overall impact, I hope that it's been this: that veterans remember that people still care. Given the current social and political climate in America, now more than ever, that message needs to be very loud and very clear. 4. How did your experience as Mrs. NY help you in the future? My experience as a title-holder definitely widened my network in really interesting ways; I now have people in my corner that I may not have otherwise met. Additionally, it allowed me the opportunity to hone my personal brand and fine-tune my messaging when it comes to the causes that I'm passionate about. As a PR and marketing professional, I've always been behind the scenes with my companies and clients; however, my experience as Mrs. New York put me on the other side of the lens and helped me see it from that perspective as well. 5. Anything else you would like to add?
I'm really excited to see how pageantry continues to evolve to meet or shape the demands of an ever-changing world. As for how I fit into that narrative, I'm not sure yet, but time will tell.