Local military wife finds passion in helping deployed troops through pageantry

Mrs. United World is a relatively new pageant dedicated to helping nonprofits

Jenileigh Sawatzae is a local San Antonian who won the title of Mrs. United World 2024 earlier this year.

“Since it is a newer system, we’re in our third year, so I’m like the third Mrs. United World,” Sawatzae said.

Mrs. United World is an international pageant organization that started in 2021. Like many pageants, the contestants are judged in four areas of competition — photogenic, on-stage interview, swimsuit and evening gown.

“When we do swimsuit and evening gown, they’re not judging you on your body, they’re judging you on your confidence,” said Sawatzae.

Sawatzae won the title in September of 2023, to serve as Mrs. United World for the 2024 pageant year. Volunteering with nonprofits plays a huge role in being Mrs. United World.

Sawatzae volunteers with many organizations as part of her community service but the one that has a special place in her heart is Operation Gratitude. Through Operation Gratitude, Sawatzae helps collect and pack items to put into care packages that are sent to deployed troops.

“My spouse is military so it’s one of the huge reasons why I got involved with the program. And having a home base here in San Antonio means that I get to be a lot more invested and involved in the program,” said Sawatzae.

As part of Mrs. United World, Sawatzae has to complete at least 30 community service appearances. In the few months since her crowning, she has already completed 25. Her goal is to do at least 50 appearances total.

“Community service is of the utmost importance with this organization. They want you to work for the crown,” Sawatzae said.

Prior to being Mrs. United World, Sawatzae competed in pageants all over the world. She has performed in more than 65 countries and even competed in Miss America.

“Kind of crazy. I’m like the first and only aerialist to have competed on the Miss America stage,” Sawatzae said.

Sawatzae says Mrs. United World is unlike most pageants because they don’t focus on your beliefs or what you look like, they focus on you. Sawatzae is the first LGBTQ married queen and says she doesn’t have the typical body type of most pageant participants.

“It doesn’t matter your background, what you look like, who you love, your political beliefs, it’s very accepting and inclusive of all,” said Sawatzae.

If you are interested in getting into pageantry, Sawatzae says to ‘just got for it.’

“If you’re curious about doing pageants, I say go for it! Jump out because you never know what you’re going to learn about yourself,” Sawatzae said.

You can learn more about Mrs. United World and how to get into pageantry by clicking here.

About the Author:

Halee Powers is a KSAT producer primarily focused on digital newscasts and events.