A Beautiful Mend Beauty Pageant Winner Donna Hazle Glanzmanís Inspirational Outlook on Life Stems from Personal Loss

By Tiffany St. Martin

Most people, fans especially, can appreciate all the behind-the-scenes activity that goes into playing sports like football or baseball.

The participants use special equipment, wear special shoes and practice special moves.

So do beauty pageant contestants, says Donna Hazle Glanzman.

And she should know.

A petite, blue-eyed blond, Glanzman, 55, won the Ms. Ohio Senior and Mrs. All American  pageants in 2003.  In both, she says, she wore special shoes and used special makeup tricks.

All the other contestants did, too.

“For many of these women, this is their sport,” Glanzman says as she sits on the lanai outside her Cape Marco condo, sipping Diet Coke.  The Gulf of Mexico laps at the shore 19 stories down, providing the perfect setting for this beauty queen. 

The world of pageantry is an interesting one, she says.  So interesting that it inspired her second book, The Sport You Never Thought to Play.

“It’s opened up a whole new realm of friends and a broader understanding of the pageantry field,” Glanzman says.

Glanzman’s still working on her second book, but her first one, The Magnificent Seven Plus One:  The Art of Discovering Inspiration From Within, has been on the shelves at Barnes & Noble and Sunshine Book Sellers since August.

It’s a collection of reflections and vignettes Glanzman wrote over the years, before she even knew the premise of her great American novel. 

She wrote some of them here on Marco Island, where she and her husband, Gary, have spent time for the past seven years.

On their first trip, the couple spent only a week on the island.  Now, they live here six months of the year.  They spend the rest of their time in Columbus, Ohio. 

Glanzman took a walk on the beach during one stay and started collecting shells.  She caught herself picking up some shells and not others, and she related the experience to life.  She thought, Why in life do we choose to be friends with some people and not others? 

She will discuss that story and others in the book at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, January 27, at the Marco Island Branch Library.

Glanzman says she wrote The Magnificent Seven Plus One to inspire without forcing anything on the book’s readers. It stems from motivational talks she gave on seven of her beliefs, plus one truth:  God. 

The book leads its readers through Glanzman’s major life events, such as the eight years she spent as a single mom of three girls and the loss of her sister to suicide in 1993.

“It was a life-changing situation that made me re-evaluate where to focus my time and energy,” Glanzman says.  “I decided it was time to stay home and focus on family.”

She started doing volunteer work, and that’s when she met a former Mrs. Ohio United States, who suggested that Glanzman compete in pageants.

Glanzman was skeptical. She had just turned 50, and she didn’t think short people could enter—let alone win—pageants.

She could handle the evening gown and interview competitions with no sweat, but the thought of wearing a swimsuit in front of a crowd gave her the incentive to sweat and get into shape.

Glanzman was first runner-up in her first pageant, Mrs. Ohio United States.  She was hooked.

Although she hasn’t entered a pageant in a couple of years, Glanzman says she may compete again.

She loves being onstage, and she loves answering questions during interviews.  Before her days as a pageant contestant, Glanzman was a public relations professional.

The Louisville, Kentucky native handled public relations for her home city’s Humana Hospital-Audubon.  Two months into her job with the hospital, Glanzman planned media coverage for Dr. William DeVries’ second artificial heart implant surgery.

So many media outlets were interested in the project that the hospital rented the Kentucky International Convention Center to accommodate them.

That’s how Glanzman came to work with Barbara Walters, Oprah Winfrey and Dan Rather.

She also worked with Michael Douglas in the Academy Award-winning movie Traffic.

Glanzman was an extra in the movie, but not just an ordinary extra.  She plays an airline ticket-taker, and she actually appears in a scene with Douglas for three seconds. 

She likes to call those her “three seconds of fame,” but she’s done much with her life, and she encourages everyone around her to do the same. 

She thinks her philosophy stems from the loss of some of her loved ones.  Not only her sister, but her brother’s daughter, who was killed in a car accident at 16.

“When something terrible happens—or something negative—you have to find a positive out of it, or you don’t learn and you don’t get through it,” Glanzman says.

Glanzman says she has made so many decisions, seen so many places and had so many experiences throughout her life that she believe God has guided her.

“My path has been so improbable that there has to be a divine hand guiding it,” she says.

From:  Marco Island Eagle, January 26, 2005