Bekah Pence was crowned Ms. Virginia on April 12, 2015, enabling her to compete in the Ms. United States pageant held in July. She is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and returned from serving as a full-time missionary six months earlier (October 2014) in the Nevada Las Vegas Mission. She had never competed in a beauty pageant previously.
Pence is from Buena Vista, Virginia and grew up in Richmond. She graduated from Southern Virginia University in 2009. Her mother, Elaine, altered each of Pence’s contestant outfits to help her achieve her goal to promote modesty. She said that she is a “firm believer in not just being modest, but you can also be absolutely drop-dead gorgeous, not just beautiful. I feel like girls don’t feel that way. They think that it’s a step down if you’re modest. They don’t think you can be absolutely gorgeous, but I felt that way. I felt like, ‘You know what? This dress is amazing, and I feel gorgeous in it — and I’m modest.’”
Pence used her faith as the foundation of her pageant platform and said that maintaining standards can help youth put on metaphorical wings and excel. She hopes to continue to inspire and uplift young people and help them realize they can be true to their standards.
During the competition she was asked the question: “How would you describe the new American dream?” She responded that the American dream should include strong families and that this can happen when families pray together. Her answer reflects impressions she received after praying about what she should include in her answer to the on-stage random question.
Pence was the model for the 2012 painting “Adorned with Forget-Me-Nots” by Rose Datoc Dall. Dall painted Pence surrounded in the color red to represent courage and the message that a virtuous woman’s value is far above the price of rubies. The forget-me-nots are homage to Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s address, “Forget Me Not,” given at the October 2011 General Relief Society meeting.