The National Alliance on Mental Illness of New York City, Inc. (NAMI-NYC Metro) celebrated their 10th Annual NAMIWalks NYC on May 7th. The event took place at the South Street Seaport Promenade, and featured the Walk and a wellness fair. Mental Health Advocate Jaclyn Stapp, kicked off the Walk with special remarks and encouragement about dealing with mental illness within her own family.
New York’s largest mental health event, which started with just 1,000 walkers in 2006, hosted more than 5,000 people who traveled over the Brooklyn Bridge and back to the Seaport Promenade and ended the day with a wellness fair which included activities such as free massages, basic health screenings, give-a-ways, and more. Special stations were set up where attendees could make a pledge to listen to those around them who are effected by mental illness and post #IWILLLISTEN to their social networks. CBS New York served as the community partner for the 10th Annual NAMIWalks.
NAMIWalks NYC celebrates recovery from mental illness and helped raise funds to combat stigma and promote awareness. Funds raised from NAMIWalks NYC will allow NAMI-NYC Metro to provide no-cost support and education to thousands of New Yorkers next year including four signature, multi-week education courses, bi-monthly public education events with leading experts, and more than 20 support groups for people living with mental health and for families and friends caring for an impacted loved one.
Jaclyn Stapp is a beauty queen, philanthropist and fashion model with pageant roots in Florida and New York. She is married to Scott Stapp, front man of the band Creed. Her most notable titles include Mrs. Florida America 2008 and Miss New York USA 2004. She is executive director of The Scott Stapp With Arms Wide Open Foundation.
Raised in a close-knit family by her widowed mother, Jaclyn is one of five children who learned early in life the value of hard work. Born in New York and raised in Florida, Jaclyn is a southern girl at heart who overall enjoys life especially acting and competing in pageants since age 13. This one time skinny, boyish looking girl recalls her first introduction to the stage and lights when her mom entered her in her first pageant at a nearby mall. She didn’t win but placed and received her first trophy. That experience led the way for Jaclyn to embark on various opportunities in pageantry, modeling, acting, and the start of fulfilling her childhood dreams.
With a great passion for TV and modeling, Jaclyn has loved the spot light and the spot light loves Jaclyn. She had an unbridled energy to set goals and attain them. She completes her education graduating from Stetson University with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and communication. Throughout her college years, she worked several jobs including part time at Disney World, portraying Aladdin’s character Jasmine, modeling, and working on a mobile marketing tour.
She has traveled extensively across the country and across the globe, hosting events, serving as a spokes model; managing marketing sports tours, judging pageants, and promoting philanthropy. She has also developed a broad portfolio in film, television, and print. She has graced the cover of magazines such as Luxury, Ocala, Orlando Life, Stork, and Pregnancy Newborn. Some of her modeling and acting credits include episodes of Full House, Second Noah, and Sex and the City. She has also appeared in Miss USA Fear Factor, a major Disney vacation television campaign, starred in Olive Juice movie with the Back Street Boys, and featured on Florida’s Best Beaches on the Travel Channel.
This Jordanian American Beauty also dedicates time to humanitarian projects that have taken her across the country and around the world. She has presented motivational addresses to high school students in New York City and worked with inner-city youth through Stetson University’s “Into the Streets Program” for at-risk students. During her reign as Miss New York USA, Jaclyn’s most memorable experience was visiting the U.S. troops in Iraq at the invitation of the White House Provisional Coalition. Jaclyn traveled to Baghdad spending time with our soldiers, visiting an Iraqi orphanage and meeting with brave female members of Iraq’s Governing Council to discuss human rights. She has described her journey as “a humbling and profound experience that I will never forget.”
Jaclyn was crowned Mrs. Florida America 2008, and placed 1st runner up in Mrs. America. Jaclyn keeps busy traveling to different locations for fashion photo shoots, working on her favorite charity, and traveling on the road with her Grammy winning rocker husband.
In 1995, Stapp entered the pageant for Miss Florida Teen 1995. She entered the pageant system again seven years later with the Miss Florida USA 2002 where she placed third runner-up. The following year she competed for the second time and was first runner-up to Shannon Ford.
Having moved to New York, she competed in the Miss New York USA pageant for the first time in 2003, where she won the 2004 title. During her reign, Stapp was invited by the White House Provisional Coalition Authority in March 2004 to visit U.S. troops in Iraq including her sister Army Capt. Julia Nesheiwat (then serving in Baghdad, now Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Implementation, Bureau of Energy Resources, U.S. State Department). Stapp represented New York in the Miss USA 2004 pageant broadcast live from the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, California in April 2004. On May 31, 2008, Stapp won the Mrs. Florida America pageant, and was named Mrs. America 2008 First-Runner Up and awarded the title of Most Photogenic.
Her life’s motto is to inspire and be inspired. She adds, “I am blessed with an amazing family. I believe in leading by example and hope I can inspire others to have the confidence to believe in themselves, set there goals of life, and above all never give up.” One thing is for sure, Jaclyn is driven by her Christian faith and is thankful to her family, friends and all those who have been along side her continuing journey in life.
Jaclyn Stapp is currently appearing on season 6 of VH1’s Couples Therapy. Jaclyn is not your typical rock n’ roll wife which is what sets up apart from the pack. Season 6 airs on 10pm VH1. Jaclyn is a mother of three children, fitness enthusiast, fashionista, philanthropist (her foundation CHARM was created to help underprivileged children) award winning children’s book author, former Miss New York USA and working model.
Ms. Namita Nayyar: You were born in New York and was raised in Florida. You started competing in pageants since the age of 13 years. You over the years developed a broad portfolio in film, television, and print. Winning Miss New York USA propelled your professional career to the height where you have been at the top of the world of glamour and modelling. Tell us about your journey that took you to where you are now in the world of acting and modeling?
Ms. Jaclyn Stapp: I was always a tomboy growing up, humble beginnings, one of 5 kids raised by my widowed mom, I played sports and never wore dresses as a child. My mom decided to sign me up for my first beauty pageant at our local mall at 13 years old, I didn’t win but I loved that feeling dressing up, wearing makeup for the first time and from then I knew I wanted to explore a career in modeling, acting, and ultimately my dream as a little girls was to compete in Miss USA one day.
As a teenager I did many local commercials, modeling and magazine covers and even worked at Disney World as Princess Jasmine part time after I graduated college. I moved back to NYC to continue my career and focused to compete in Miss USA. I continued working on my career and was ecstatic to have a small parts here and there like on “Sex and the City “and “Law and Order”.
I competed in Miss NY USA and won and my experience at Miss USA was unforgettable and being part of the Trump Miss USA Organization opened so many doors for me. I was very focused and knew what I wanted and where I wanted to be. I always admired Halle Barry since she started out in a local pageant and worked hard to get where she is today.
I definitely could not have made it this far without the commitment of my mom and taking me to that small beauty pageant at my local mall.
Ms. Namita Nayyar: You have selected a profession of being a model and that requires a lot of hard labor, technical soundness and excellence in different faculties to finally succeed, how do you achieve that?
Ms. Jaclyn Stapp: My mom gave me the initial push, once I got my feet wet in the industry I was committed and eager to know more. I learned by trial and error what to do and what not to do, my child hood days I was clueless when I started out in modeling, I had no idea what to do at an audition, I took classes and practiced. I lost many competitions before I started winning, but most importantly I didn’t let that discourage me and give up.
I was open to constructive feedback, I left each competition or audition and learned something new and it motivated me to push myself and work harder. I kept an attitude that sometimes you win and sometimes you lose and that’s ok. I think my attitude going into this career helped me stay grounded, have longevity and not burn out.
Ms. Namita Nayyar: What exercises comprise your fitness regime or workout routine you shall like to share?
Ms. Jaclyn Stapp: Yoga has really changed my life is so many ways, emotionally, spiritually and physically. I try to do Yoga 3-4 times a week, no matter where I am, even in hotel rooms. I also throw in various classes like extend barre, spinning and boot camp on top of Yoga to get in my strength training and cardio vascular work outs. Chasing my little ones around always keep me on my feet as well.
Ms. Namita Nayyar: Do you take some special diet or have a strict menu that you follow to remain healthy and physically fit?
Ms. Jaclyn Stapp: Not really, for me it’s all about moderation, too much of anything is not good for you. I love food, I love home cooked meals, food is so comforting to me, since I train hard I need to have carbs and protein as fuel. I try to avoid fried or processed foods. I try to balance my carbs intake and eat small portions of food throughout the day. I stick to a high protein diet and lots of green veggies.
I will say when I have a swimsuit photo shoot or an event I tighten up on my diet. Again it’s all about balance & food portions. If I need a good detox I drink green smoothies that I make at home, even my 5 year old likes them! Everyone’s body is different so you have to customize what works for you.
Ms. Namita Nayyar: You have glowing skin and gorgeous hair. Do you take some kind of skin treatment to keep it young and glowing and secondly what you do to your hair to make them look so stunning?
Ms. Jaclyn Stapp: I think being Middle-Eastern is where I get the long thick hair, I use Oribe conditioning masks once or twice a month and sleep with it on the ends of my hair to keep moisture and shine. I sometimes use coconut oil on the ends of my hair in the shower. I try not to use flat irons or the blow dryer too often, I shampoo my hair maybe twice a week to avoid the heat and use a heat protector in my hair.
As far as my skin, my mom taught me to always protect my face from the sun, so I wear sunscreen and always wash my makeup off before bed. I have to wear makeup often for TV or modeling projects so for a good deep cleanse I use the Clarisonic face scrub. I also use Kate Somerville exfoliate once a week and Glam Glow face masks as needed.
Ms. Namita Nayyar: Advice and motivational words for our inspiring and budding women models and actresses who all are your fans, what should they do for their climb to the ladder of success in field of acting and fashion?
Ms. Jaclyn Stapp: I would just share with them my personal experience and that nothing is easy to obtain in life. You have to work hard at whatever you want. I think it starts with having the right attitude and mindset, you’re going into an industry where you can potentially be told you’re too fat, skinny, pretty, ugly, not tall enough, you need to change this or change that. This can be hard to hear to a new young model.
This is a very competitive business and don’t let these words discourage you or give up on your dreams. When one door closes another could open. Rejection could be protection.
Always get a second opinion, develop a support group or close mentor to guide you if you are new to the industry. Find what your good at and stick to it. Lastly I would emphasize that nothing happens overnight, what you put into something is what you get out of it.
Ms. Namita Nayyar: You are a TV personality, model, fitness enthusiast, fashionista, philanthropist, award winning children’s book author, Miss New York USA, mother & wife. How you manage such a remarkable multi-dimensional lifestyle?
Ms. Jaclyn Stapp: I’ve accepted that it’s ok to have imperfections, and not be perfect. I try to do my best at whatever project is going on in my life but I don’t take myself too seriously throughout the process. If I land something great or win an award that’s awesome, if I don’t I’m OK with that. I’ve realized I can be a mom, wife, work and do what I love, it’s all about time management, multi-tasking and getting priorities in order. I’m blessed with a supportive family and my mom travels with me and the kids so that we can all be together.
Ms. Namita Nayyar: You on May 31, 2008, won the Mrs. Florida America pageant, and was named Mrs. America 2008 First-Runner Up and awarded the title of Most Photogenic. Elaborate more about this memorable experience?
Ms. Jaclyn Stapp: After I had my first child I had that itch to want to compete again when my daughter was 6 months old. I think subconsciously I just wanted to see if I “still had it” My husband encouraged me to compete in Mrs. FL America, so I entered the pageant last minute. I was thrilled to win on my first try and go on to compete at the national Mrs. America competition, my husband and kids joined me and were able to see me compete at Mrs. America.
Placing 1st runner up was an incredible feeling especially seeing my family and daughter in the audience cheering me on. It was fun, I didn’t take myself too seriously. I’m a mom first!
Ms. Namita Nayyar: Tell us more about your book “Wacky Jacky: The True Story of an Unlikely Beauty Queen”. Your true to life experience won the prestigious Mom’s Choice award and the Children’s Literary Classics?
Ms. Jaclyn Stapp: As a child I was bullied, called names, and looked like a boy. I had knobby knees and wild crazy hair. I spoke a different language and felt I didn’t fit in with the other kids at school being multicultural eating different food or dressing different. After becoming a Mom and seeing the recent stories of all the bullying that has increased today with kids I was inspired to write a book about my childhood.
I would even hear stories from my own kids on what was going on in their schools. My book is a true story about growing up different, being multi-cultural, the importance of kindness, love and a message to kids that what makes you different make you special. Every chapter in the book is a real life story from my childhood experiences, from volunteering at the hospital my mom worked at, the school I attended and the real life first pageant I competed in and the before and after photos in the book.
When I found out I won the Mom’s Choice Award I was so incredibly happy! I knew after I wrote the book I wanted to share this message about bullying to kids all over the world. I’ve traveled and read to kids all over the world and so happy to know others can identify and relate to my story. It’s a great book for young girls and I’ve started working on book #2.
Ms. Namita Nayyar: Who has been your inspiration and motivation that led you to your success in the world of modeling?
Ms. Jaclyn Stapp: I would say definitely my sweet Mom. She was very involved in my life while raising 5 kids as a single mom. She exposed me to my first pageant and invested so much time into me at a young age. As a tomboy I don’t think I would have ever pursued these things had she not believed in me and invested in me.
Ms. Namita Nayyar: You launched the ‘Children Are Magical Foundation’ CHARM. This foundation is dear to your heart, tell us how you have been able to achieve and quench your thirst of giving back to the society through such endeavor of yours?
Ms. Jaclyn Stapp: I’m so incredibly proud to launch Children Are Magical Foundation (CHARM), it’s very near and dear to me, I would say it’s one of my biggest accomplishments today more than any modeling or TV job. I started Charm Foundation informally in college with just a couple of friends. As a child I grew up volunteering and was always taught by my mom at an early age to give back to our community.
She taught me volunteering is the ultimate expression of human relationships. I’m so passionate about children and I realized children don’t always have a voice. I found out about the poverty rates of children in my own community and it really opened my eyes. I wanted to use my experience and resources to do something more meaningful and creating my children’s charity has been most fulfilling for me and my family. At the end of the day I reflected on my own life and realized how blessed I was to have my family, my health and a roof over my head.
In life we all get busy and caught up in the small things & it’s so easy to forget about the thousands of children that can’t celebrate a birthday, a holiday or have a hot meal. This put so much into perspective for me & what life is really all about and what really fulfilled me at the end of the day. We are gearing up for our 1st annual Thanks giving Food Drive feeding families in need and our 1st annual Christmas Holiday Toy Drive. The days of modeling and pageantry were so fun and exciting, I loved it but today they are a hobby for me. My family are my charity are my # 1 priority. You can learn more about CHARM at www.childrenaremagical.org.
Ms. Namita Nayyar: What you wish to say about the website Womenfitness.net and message for its visitors?
Ms. Jaclyn Stapp: The site is very insightful and resourceful. I love that womenfittness.net is a one stop shop for woman’s needs from A to Z. Today woman are busier than ever and to be able to have this info in one place no matter where you live in the world is great. Women need online communities to learn, share and read other stories from other women. I love the site! It provides valuable info to all women.
To know more about Jaclyn Stapp, check her out at: http://www.jaclynstapp.com/
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Women Fitness Team thanks Jaclyn Stapp for giving her valuable time for this interview and quenching the thirst of her fans to know more about her and made this interview happen.