*This article appeared in our national column with Examiner:

July 20, 2013, 70 women competed for the title of Mrs. International 2013, and Amy Gregario from Illinois went home with the crown.  Gregario will spend her year continuing her work as a Court Appointed Special Advocate, as well as representing the Mrs. International alliance with the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women.

After an opening number in sexy cocktail dresses by Sherri Hill, the contestants were narrowed down to 15 semi-finalists: Ashley Bentley (Alabama), Susan Huntley (Northeast), Michelle Berndt (Texas), Kristin Melton (Midwest), Brandy Wendler (Northwest), Ceylone Boothe Grooms (New Jersey), Maggi Thorne (Nebraska), Sanam Azeem (Pakistan), Trudy Davies Davis (Georgia), Amy Gregorio (Illinois), Laura Valenti (Louisiana), Rocky Harrigan (Alaska), Amber Wandtke (Virginia), Keikilani Ho (Hawaii), and Quynci Joyner (Arkansas).

The semi-finalists then competed in an onstage question and the audience was introduced to their personal platforms.  The semi-finalists were then taken down to the Top 10 finalists who competed in Fitness and Evening Wear.  The top 10 finalists were: Michelle Berndt (Texas), Brandy Wendler (Northwest), Ceylone Boothe Grooms (New Jersey), Maggi Thorne (Nebraska), Sanam Azeem (Pakistan), Amy Gregorio (Illinois), Laura Valenti (Louisiana), Rocky Harrigan (Alaska), Amber Wandtke (Virginia), and Quynci Joyner (Arkansas).

The final court for the 2013 pageant is: Laura Valenti (Louisiana), Fourth Runner-Up, Quynci Joyner (Arkansas), Third Runner-Up, Sanam Azeem (Pakistan), Second Runner-Up, and Brandy Wendler (Northwest), First Runner-Up.

The Mrs. International Pageant system began 24 years ago.  The focus behind Mrs. International® is to showcase women 21 to 56 years old, married at least six months and a resident of the state or a citizen of the country she represents.  Each contestant competes in Interview Competition, which is valued for 50% of her overall score, Evening Gown, valued for 25% and Fitness Wear for 25%. Each contestant has the opportunity to select a platform of her choice that she spends the year promoting. Husbands are a direct part of the show, escorting their wives in the Evening Gown competition, and the husband crowns his wife titleholder. For more information about Mrs. International log onto:

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