Mrs. Norway: beauty with a purpose
Chambers becomes the first Norwegian woman to compete for Mrs. International pageant
In just one week, Norway will take the stage of Mrs. International for the first time. This U.S. beauty pageant for married women ages 21-56 has been around for 27 years and has hosted women from all around the world. According to the Mrs. International website, the purpose of the pageant is “to promote today’s married women, their accomplishments, and commitment to family and marriage.”
This year, Eva Worren Chambers, a 36-year-old Norwegian native who now lives in Houston, Texas, will represent her home country as Mrs. Norway. Chambers will compete in Jacksonville, Florida, from July 24 to 25, with over 60 other contestants for the title of Mrs. International. “I’m not really a pageant girl,” she admits. She has worked professionally in the oil and gas industry as well as the modeling and travel industries. But according to Chambers, Mrs. International is not just about the beauty contestants, it is about giving back. Requiring each contestant to adopt a charity platform, Mrs. International promotes what Chambers calls “beauty with a purpose.”
That was what caught Chambers’s attention. When she was first contacted via Facebook about participating in Mrs. International, Chambers was skeptical. She had been a finalist for Ms. Norway when she was 20 years old but the Miss Norway pageant was more like a modeling competition and did not focus on helping others. It was also much smaller than the Mrs. International pageant. “We don’t have a lot of pageants in Norway just like here in the U.S.,” said Mrs. Chambers. After doing more research, however, Chambers concluded that Mrs. International would provide her with a unique opportunity to help people in need.
For her charity platform Chambers chose to work with Habitat for Humanity, an organization that she and her husband Mark have volunteered with for years. Habitat helps communities around the world by building houses for families without homes. The mission statement on Habitat for Humanity’s website explains that, “with an affordable, stable home, families have more to spend on food, medicine, child care, education, and other essentials.” If she were to win, Chambers says she would increase the reach of Habitat for Humanity International. “I would travel globally, bringing exposure and assistance to Habitat’s many programs that are available to help those in need, through marketing and fundraising activities.”
The Mrs. International pageant is also affiliated with the Go Red for Women campaign, the American Heart Association’s program to increase awareness of heart disease in women. As Mrs. International, Chambers would also be an advocate for this cause. However, the results of the pageant do not determine her commitment to charity. “Regardless of the outcome, I will continue to give back and volunteer in the community,” she pledges.
Along with promoting a charity of her choosing, the winner of Mrs. International acts as an advocate for her state or country, promoting its values and traditions on a global stage. Chambers is no stranger to the limelight. In 2003 she placed second in the reality TV show “Robinsonekspidisjonen,” the Norwegian version of “Survivor.” As the first Norwegian to participate in Mrs. International, Chambers says that although she is feeling the pressure, she is up to the challenge. “It is an honor to represent Norway,” she says, “I want people to understand just how giving and how big Norwegians’ hearts are when it comes to those in need.”
Chambers is looking forward to the week leading up to the competition, when contestants have the opportunity to teach one another about their cultures. “I love meeting new people,” she explains. Chambers offers a unique cultural perspective because she has Filipina as well as Norwegian heritage; her father is Norwegian and her mother is Filipina. Growing up, Chambers spent summers in the Philippines and lived for the rest of the year in Norway. “I get a lot of support from the Filipino community,” she remarks gratefully.
When Chambers moved to the U.S. in 2007 to marry her husband after a two-year long-distance relationship, she says it was very difficult. She missed her friends and family at home and it took nearly a year before her green card was approved so she could begin working in the U.S. “I am very independent,” she says firmly, so it was challenging to be excluded from employment. However, by volunteering, Chambers really began to feel like a part of her new community. Now, competing in Mrs. International, she turns to her passion for volunteering again in the hopes that she can give back to the global community.
You can vote for Chambers in the Mrs. International People’s Choice at mrsinternational.com/mrs-international-pchoice-voting.php?id=873.
This article originally appeared in the July 17, 2015, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.