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I asked my 92 year-old great grandmother the question, of everything you own, what is your most prized possession? I was surprised to hear her answer.  She smiled and said, “The things I hold most dear I don’t own, but they are more precious than any gold or diamond ring I can leave to the beautiful women in my family.  They are the memories of raising my family and watching each one grow into the characters that I am proud to proclaim possess my DNA.”  (you can see my interesting use of words is bound in my DNA) That was a very profound statement.


So when Yes Video gave me the opportunity to interview 1997 Miss Universe, Brook Lee, my memories began to flood through my brain.  We have given the pageant scene a whirl. I am a pageant mom as well as a cheer mom. For a couple of years Maddie Jane decided she would give the pageant world a try.  She did quite well, winning a state title in her first few competitions.  My gorgeous baby looked amazing in her gown, but  she always excelled at anything involving an interview or speaking.  Thinking back on her composure at such a young age gives me chills.  She has not competed in a few years, but I will always look back fondly on being a pageant mom.  As I researched Brook I found out she and my baby beauty queen had a lot in common.


I enjoyed watching her YesVideo memory reel.  What made her so endearing to me was her wit, humor, and attitude.  I watched home movies from her Miss Universe year and it made me like this lady.  She seemed like an unassuming beauty that was not scared to give her educated opinion on any current event or media hot topic.  I was looking forward to the chance to talk to her and hear more stories and get her opinion on how Miss Universe changed her life forever.  I have to say she did not disappoint.

Brook is a very educated and well spoke woman, but what set her apart from most beauty queens is her attitude.  She told us a funny story about how she would let anyone that expressed interest in her Miss Universe crown try it on.  Her view was that she was the “every person” Miss Universe.  Meaning that if she could do it, that goal could also be obtained by everyone so they had as much right to wear the towering head piece as she did.  How could you not love someone with that attitude.

She went on to tell us it took her three tries to win her Miss Hawaii title, and it was not  her desire to compete in the Miss America pageant that drover her, but the need for scholarship money to finance her higher education. She told us even though she lost her first time around, she still received a $17,000 scholarship.  So with her second competition she was doing something she enjoyed with the benefit of receiving more funds for college.  She told us upon entering for the third time she had no expectations of winning, she had learned how to lose and amazingly it had developed her character and her confidence.  This time would be her time, and she would win her state’s title. She said at that point she had accomplished a huge goal and everything else would just be icing on the cake.


Man, that would turn out to be amazing icing, a win at the Miss America Pageant and a trip to the Miss Universe extravaganza.  Brook is a dark-eyed-multi-cultural-glamour girl  who definitely fit into the ranks with the international beauties. She told us it was amazing meeting and hearing the stories from the other contestants.  Brook formed many relationships with her fellow beauty queens and could now find a friend in 89 countries thanks to the pageant.  It made me respect her so much when she said that her friendships and experiences with the other contestants were her “prized possessions” from the Miss Universe experience.  Relationships and memories, I have heard that before.

Okay, I got it.  Two very wise women have expressed the importance of memories.  In this day and age we are blessed to have mass amounts of technology to document our experiences.  As a mom of three, the amount of photos and video I have taken of my children is astounding.  There is one problem with our earliest memories, they are on VHS.  I do not own a VCR, so they sit on the shelf, a box full of untouched memories.  That will all be changing after I do as Brook has done.  I will be sending my boxes of treasured past to YesVideo where they will process it to their site and also send me a CD copy as well.  You can check out Brook’s pageant memories and also take advantage of a great offer, one video transfer for free. There is also a great app to create pics from frame shots within your videos.

Well, I hope everyone is out there making the most wonderful memories.  After all, they are treasures that cannot be bought or sold, only held in our hearts.



  1. Beautifully said! Memories are the one thing no one else can take away from you :)

  2. This is good to know I have a friend who is thinking about putting her daughter in pageants on a full time basis she would love to see this. Making memories are what makes the golden age so much fun we can sit and think about the good ones that I am sure outweigh the bad

  3. What an interesting interview! I agree that memories and friendships – and family are the most important!

  4. Yes, our memories are incredibly important – and the drive to do something when motivated for the right reason can definitely help build a woman who is focused on so much more than just her own desires. Beautiful post.

  5. Sharing with my friend who is thinking of entering her daughter into pageants! Loved your grandmothers statement, so true!

  6. What a wonderful post, I just love what your grandmother said too. So true!

  7. Excellent point! What makes the memories so special is in our heart. The photos and such are nice and help prompt, but they are not the sentiment itself.

  8. Memories are precious. My husband always feels sorry for people who divorce after a long time together because the memories are damaged in life going forward.

  9. Your great grandmother said it beautifully :)

  10. Interesting that it was the scholarship that compelled her to keep going. I’m glad she won then! I had no idea you’d dabbled in the pageant world!

  11. I love that she worked hard for her pageants because she wanted to get money for education. So many do it for the glamour/fame — Excited that she kept trying until she won!

  12. great interview and i love that a lot of her motivation to continue was to get education

  13. The YesVideo seems like an awesome site! I wish I had all the VHS tapes that my mother made from when I was little, I’d so send them in a heartbeat!

  14. What a sweet post! Memories are especially important to our family too. I would love to create some videos of my family.

  15. What a great post! I am all about memories: making, saving, and documenting them. I’ll be checking out YesVideo to help me with my box of VHS tapes!

  16. memories are SO important! i think that’s one of the driving forces behind me being obsessed with y camera. i want to document everything I can!

  17. What an amazing opportunity to interview such an inspiring woman!

  18. Great that you got to have this conversation with your grandmother, I wish I had asked more personal questions of my grannie when I had the chance.

  19. Very interesting…the fact that she never gave up says so much!

  20. So nice to see she was spurred on by the scholarships. I was in a pageant once, it was fun.

  21. Memories are so important! I try to live life with that in mind. Spend time with the people I love to make memories that will last forever. I’ll have to check out YesVideo – I have lots of VHS Tapes too!

  22. What a fun opportunity to interview her!

  23. Great post! I’m from Hawaii too, I remember when she won!

  24. This is a beautifully written post about memories! Also I will have to look into YesVideo myself for my old VHS tapes of my two oldest kids. I would love to be able to actually view them again!

  25. Memories are the best and She sounds like an awesome woman!

  26. We just transferred a bunch of VHS tapes to DVD because we realized that relying on our VCR was probably not a smart thing since we cannot find replacement parts for it anymore, if it should break.

  27. What a great post… memories are priceless.. thanks for sharing and your princess is beautiful… loved seeing her in the gown;

  28. I agree Memories are so important and I would not trade those for all the diamonds, gold or money in the world.. the memories of raising my kids. their hugs kisses and the look on their faces when they discovered something for the first time.. is priceless..

  29. I always like reading about the backside of beauty pagents.

  30. Brooke looks like a beautiful person inside and out. I love that she worked so hard to make money so she could be educated. And yes, no one can ever take our memories away from us, they are a part of our hearts.

  31. I wish I had done pageants when I was younger for college!

  32. it’s nice to see beauty queens being so real and so genuine. and placing emphasis on education!!

  33. I agree memories are priceless and what matters most. That’s what I tell my photography clients too! You will never get these moments back, so capture them and hold them dear.

  34. What a great interview and amazing pictures.

  35. Great interview! I can’t imagine how excited you must have been!

  36. I’m trying! I quit my job this year to stay with the kids, so I’m feeling the pressure to create tons of memories now!

  37. Really great post and a great interview also. I love what your grandmother had to say, what a profound woman. It was nice to read that Brook Lee wanted to make more of herself than just a beauty queen, good for her.

  38. What an inspirational story I love her determination. And what a neat tool YesVideo. We have tons of memories sitting different formats from the past. Thank you for sharing.

  39. Memories are so important. I don’t have very many pictures from my childhood and it make me sad. I probably take way too many pictures, but my kids will have pictures of their childhood lol!

  40. Very interesting insights. Thanks for sharing!

  41. She is so gorgeous! I am not familiar with the pageant scene but she is very gorgeous.

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