With a husband, four sons, an Internet communications company and her work for several nonprofit organizations, Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino of Falmouth is a busy woman.

She could be even busier in the year ahead if the recently crowned Mrs. Maine 2011 wins the international title in Chicago in July.

Hamilton-Guarino has participated in a few pageants before, winning Miss Iowa Teen in 1988, Mrs. North Lake Tahoe in 2004 and Mrs. Maine United States in 2006, she said.

The 2006 competition took her to Las Vegas, where she found the emphasis on the swimsuit competition and youth in general a little daunting.

“I felt like the grandma of the group, and I was 36 at the time,” recalled Hamilton-Guarino, now 41. “This pageant has more substance than that. It’s more platform-based. You really have to stand for something.”

The Mrs. International pageant highlights the interview portion of the competition; it accounts for 50 percent of each contestant’s score. There is no swimsuit competition. Contestants model aerobics wear and evening gowns; each account for 25 percent of their final scores.

Hamilton-Guarino was chosen among eight women who applied to represent Maine in the Mrs. International 2011 pageant, said Mary Richardson, executive director of the Virginia-based pageant organization.

There was no state pageant in Maine this year because illness sidelined the directors, Richardson said. Richardson chose Hamilton-Guarino after reviewing the applications and conducting in-depth telephone interviews.

Hamilton-Guarino’s accomplishments, demeanor and ability to juggle many interests made her an ideal candidate to represent Maine at the international competition, Richardson said.

“Elizabeth has such a calmness about her,” Richardson said. “She has four boys and she runs a company. She’s a busy woman and she does a good balancing job.”

Hamilton-Guarino is a supporter of or spokeswoman for several causes, including the American Heart Association’s efforts to prevent heart disease and strokes. She became a supporter six years ago, when her father had a stroke, she said.

The pageant has been affiliated with the heart association’s Go Red for Women campaign since 2005. The winner of the international competition usually wears red and is a spokeswoman for the campaign.

Hamilton-Guarino’s familiarity with the heart association will come in handy if she wins the international competition, Richardson said.

Hamilton-Guarino, who has a life-threatening allergy to nuts, has been an international spokeswoman for the MedicAlert Foundation since 1998 and helped to design an emergency medical response bracelet for kids, she said.

She supports the Ronald McDonald House, promotes literacy as an ambassador for Maine Reads and wrote a children’s book, “Blueberry,” last year.

Hamilton-Guarino was born in Minnesota and raised in Iowa. She and her family moved to Maine in 2004. She runs Best EverYou, a multi-media lifestyle blog that she started with a friend in 2008.

Her husband, Peter Guarino, is a lawyer. Their four sons are Connor, 15, Quinn, 13, Cameron, 11, and Quaid, 9.

Hamilton-Guarino paid an $1,800 fee to enter the pageant, Richardson said. If she wins, she will receive $10,000 in clothing, jewelry and luggage, as well as a travel allowance for speaking engagements and appearances for the Go Red for Women campaign and other causes.

She said she’s looking forward to representing Maine at the international competition and she’s up for the challenges that lie ahead if she wins.

“Something about me is always giving,” she said.

 

Staff Writer Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at: [email protected]