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Mesa's 'Ms. Senior Arizona' shares advice for a life well lived

Patricia Person’s philosophy is ‘live until you die.’

MESA, Ariz. — The phrase ‘living life to the fullest’ only scratches the surface of this year’s Ms. Senior Arizona.

Patricia Person’s philosophy is "live until you die." That is exactly what the 64-year-old Mesa woman plans to do.

“The stereotype is you know: you sit in a rocking chair, you just rock the rest of your life,” Person explained. “No. I believe in living your life to the fullest. And that's what the message that I tried to send.”

For Person, that meant entering the Ms. Senior Arizona Pageant.

“Well, this is the age of elegance,” she said. “Ms. Senior Arizona is not like the average pageant. In a way, it is except we're all over 60 and it's not a beauty pageant per se. It’s ‘Age of Elegance.’ It’s the inner beauty. It’s who you are on the inside.”

Living by her philosophy, Person won the title of Ms. Senior Arizona. It’s just the latest in a long line of accomplishments in Person’s life.

From starting her own hot dog business, LA Hot Dogs, when she first moved to Arizona in the ’80s, to becoming a certified Zoom instructor and Activities Director for a Fountain Hills Assisted Living Community.

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And before all that, Person was a dancer for the television show, “Soul Train.”

“Oh, I was absolutely fun. I was 16 years old, starstruck a lot of times,” Person reminisced. “We danced and I met the Jackson Five, Aretha Franklin, the Spinners and just being on stage and seeing yourself dance, it was a lot of fun. And they’d say, ‘You’re on Soul Train! You’re on Soul Train!’ So that was my first introduction to the stage. So, I know I love the stage and entertaining people.”

It was her love of entertaining people on stage that helped earn her the crown of Ms. Senior Arizona. In the pageant, Person put on a one-woman show, portraying the life of Bessie Coleman, a pioneer in aviation and civil rights.

Just as Coleman inspired generations of women to pursue their dreams, Person, who is the first Black woman to win Ms. Senior Arizona, hopes her victory will inspire women today to continue that pursuit.

“Well yeah, it will inspire not just African American women, but all women to try to do things that they may not have tried,” Person said. “They will think ‘Oh well she did it, I can do it.’ that could be for Hispanics, Asians, dark, light- whatever. You can do this you just have to try and be consistent and do it.”

Ms. Senior Arizona participants take part in the Cameo Club, which benefits victims of domestic violence. Patricia will take part in fundraising efforts for the club and speaking engagements while running her hot dog business and working her day job as an Activities Director.

It’s a full life indeed.

12 News wishes Patricia Person all the best when she competes in the national pageant in 2022.

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Inspiring Arizona

Hear more inspiring stories around the Grand Canyon State on YouTube.