Actress, Beauty Queen and CEO : Why Erica Abke Wants To Empower Women Entrepreneurs

From competing in beauty contests, to acting and modeling. Erica Abke can do everything! She has been competing in the pageant industry for 10 years, she won many titles, including Miss Teen Redding 2007, Miss Sacramento Intl 2009, Miss Los Angeles Intl 2010, Miss So Cal USA 2013, Miss Southern California 2014, Miss Long Beach 2015, America's Miss California 2015. She will compete for Miss Universal Petite in September representing USA Petite Miss! "I'm really excited to hang out with girls from other countries" she said.

Erica currently lives in California and graduated from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Downtown Los Angeles with a degree in Product Development and Fashion Design.

She launched her clothes brand, Abke Collection, in March 2015. The majority of profit of each sale from Abke Collection goes directly to charity. She uses the brand as a catalyst for social change, promoting charitable causes, and mentoring models who may not fit the standard norm.

Erica grew up as one of the shyest kids in her class - "Growing up I was often bullied as the awkward tomboy with a speech impediment. One night after failing to order a pizza because I was (seriously) that shy, I made the decision to transform myself. I came into adulthood resilient to achieving anything I wanted to." she explained. Abke created a Self Esteem Building Seminar for young girls, and has toured schools of California since its' inception in 2009.

She loves to mentor younger generations to find their self confidence and to reach for their goals, whether they want to become successful models, entrepreneurs, or any career they choose.

As an actress she has worked on set of popular shows such as GLEE, Law & Order, and  Hard Times of RJ Berger, to name a few. 

Erica's dedication and hard work towards her goals, and her success which has been a result of her ambitions and efforts, will surely take her long on the road of victory for her next pageant!

Did you face any moment of disappointment with yourself during the pageant journey, and how did you overcome it?

Failure is the path to success and it's the only way to learn. My most memorable disappointments were issues with not being able to perform the way that I wanted because I was too nervous. After years of public speaking and practice, I finally can hold a mic without trembling, but I still get nervous every time I'm about to go on camera or on stage.

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You are an influencer, entrepreneur, marketer and pageant queen. What are you most proud of ?

I am most proud that people (boys, girls, men, and women) reach out to me regularly to say how inspired they are by my actions, and they therefore do something positive in their life in some way. The versatility of what I do speaks to larger audiences, and I am honored that people want to connect with me for those reasons.

You are the founder of Abke Collection. How did you get your start?

I started out creating clothes for GUESS Jeans, but I always knew I wanted to do formal wear. What drove me to finally doing it was my boredom with the same styles year after year by popular designers. I wanted to create something unique and exciting, while never up-charging, and while promoting models who don't fit the standard "fashion model" norm. Now I'm interested in doing more couture one-of-a-kind pieces for other girls who compete. In 2018 I'll be launching a new line of something exciting ;) !

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A day in Erica Abke’s life…. How does it go from dawn to dusk?

If I'm not on some spontaneous adventure, then you'll find me working, working, (and more) working. I hit the gym as often as I can, and manage two businesses on my own. Some days I get this feeling that I just need to travel, and I'll pick a place and just go! Most recent adventures include South Lake Tahoe and Laguna Beach.

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How do you imagine your life in ten years? 

I imagine I will be on a beach somewhere with my hubby and a kid or two. Plus, business will have grown to the point where I can hire and help others, with a focus on helping and empowering female entrepreneurs!

Who is your favorite beauty queen and why? 

Eva Longoria. She competed a few times and look at her now - she's a total boss babe! I love how she is a perfect example that you don't have to win in order to be successful or feel validated. Plus, she's as tall as I am ;) !

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Thanks to the beautiful Erica for the interview. Pageants News wishes you all the very best for Miss USA Petite Miss pageant.