10 Most Beautiful 2012
Meet the 20 women who were chosen as finalists to compete in the 417 Magazine 10 Most Beautiful Women contest.
DISCLAIMER: The information in this article was fact checked and accurate at press time, but 417 Magazine cannot guarantee its accuracy indefinitely.
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Grace L. Canuzo, 39
Occupation: Operations Director at Healing Hands Chiropractic & Diagnostic Clinic
Family: husband Dr. Kevin Hatfield, D.C.; 15-year-old Brooke; 8-year-old Blake
What is your charity of choice, and why is it important to you?
Special Olympics Missouri. I would like the same athletic opportunities for normal people be facilitated generously to children and adults with disabilities. Having been extensively involved in sports as a soccer mom, I have become more sensitive to children with special needs and their parents who dream of having the same opportunity and experience for their children. Additionally, in honor of my mother who has worked for the state for 13 years, I would like to help the under-represented members of our community—the disabled. She's taught me to advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves and to treat others with respect, fairness and equality. Sports offer more than basic technical skills. They cultivates values such as patience, determination, teamwork and trust for example, that people with special needs need to be equipped with in order to live a fruitful life just like you and me.
What do you think makes a woman beautiful?
There are so many different cultural perspectives on what makes a woman beautiful, and if we are to factor in the media's ultimate standard of beauty, which is to look paper-thin and highly-finished, then we would be much more confused and misled. Being beautiful goes beyond the physical attractiveness. I find a woman beautiful when she is comfortable in her own skin, when she fights for the greater good and is dauntless as a catalyst of change in the arenas of parenting, politics, relationships and humanitarian efforts.
Why do you think you’re a 10 Most Beautiful Women finalist?
I define my own success as a woman, as a mother, as a partner and as a human being. Undoubtedly, there are thousands of attractive women in the community. However, when it comes down to goals and vision and vim and vigor, I see myself as a force to reckon with. In the past, it was my ability to compel others to exceed company expectations that gave me the corporate credentials. Today, it is about my capacity to be in the forefront of responsible parenting and civic leadership that gives me the extra one degree of separation from other successful professionals.
Do you volunteer, or are you involved in any philanthropic or community organizations?
I am a member and supporter of Essence and W.I.N foundations, advocating for the success of battered women and neglected children of America. I have added a new focus in 2012, and that is helping the Springfield U8 Soccer Team. This group of young talented players need help in securing sponsorships and in being able to raise funds for the Disney ESPN World Championships in August 2012. In February, I volunteered to spearhead the aforementioned efforts. It is such an honor for us Greene County residents to have young champions of sports hailing from the Missouri Ozarks.
How are those experiences meaningful to you?
It is fulfilling as a Christian to have helped someone leap from being a victim to being a victor. I always encourage those I have helped to pay it forward: If every human being commits to helping another human being in need, this world will be filled with love and happiness. No one would feel abandoned and despondent.
Tell us what you do for a living:
I am the Operations Director for Healing Hands Chiropractic & Diagnostic Clinic, ensuring order in all aspects of the business. The clinic has been around for over 13 years in the same location, hence I'm glad to be a part of a small practice that has been serving Springfield for many years.
What has been your proudest moment?
One of my proudest moments would be when my daughter (6 at the time of my sister's death) comforted me with her words, “Mom please understand. Everything happens for a reason and sometimes it's not clear to us why. Only God knows.” I stopped from crying and reproaching God.
What has been your biggest hurdle to overcome?
I am a firm believer that God does not assign obstacles that we cannot overcome. However, the hardest hurdle I had to overcome was the untimely passing of my one and only sister, Jessica, who died with her unborn baby of vehicular manslaughter on June 19, 2004. Such tragedy left her three very little children (at the time 4, 3, and 1 year old) to go on in life without her. Nothing and no one could bring my sister back, but God granted me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.
What are three words that describe you?
Tenacious, ambitious, empowering.
What’s your favorite feature about yourself?
My feet are my favorite feature because I love shoes. My feet can rock 5-inch stiletto heels and boots for hours! It’s a skill.
When you were a child, who did you think was the most beautiful woman?
I had a skewed version of being beautiful as a child. My mother to me was the most beautiful woman growing up. Although people would always comment on how my sister resembled my mother and I my father. I was sort of bitter about it growing up until sports came into my life, shifting my focus from aestheticism to athleticism.
What’s your favorite source of inspiration?
When I was 5, my mother had me memorized the poem Invictus by William Earnest Henley. Ever since then, I have been reciting this poem in times of weakness and despair. This poem reminds me that no matter what situation I am in, I will be able to emancipate myself from it because I am my own CEO.
What advice would you give to a young girl about being beautiful?
My advice to a young girl would be to embrace who she is, as that is reflective of her gratitude to the Lord's kindness and her trust in Him. Generally speaking, when you are comfortable in your own skin (self-acceptance), being beautiful on the outside is the least of your worries. When your inner beauty or soul is healthy, it makes your physical appearance strong, your charisma inviting, your functionality as a human being positive, and your life worth living.
What are your favorite ways to spend a day off?
I would spend half of the day meandering in the bookstore to search for Oprah's favorite picks. I would peruse antique shops and flea markets. And last but not least, I would shoe-shop. A woman can never have too many shoes!
What is your most prized possession?
As a soccer mom, my most prized possession is my H2. This 7,000-pound truck is big enough to keep us all safe and to haul everything and everybody (including pets!) when going to practices and tournaments in town or out.
What is your Facebook status right now?
I'm usually at a sports-related event or gabbing about it.
If you could have one talent that you don’t currently have, what would it be?
Tailoring. I'd like to be able to weave my fashion ideas together and into reality on my own.
What’s something that might surprise us about you, or a story you love to tell?
I attended a leadership seminar a few years ago and had a wardrobe malfunction when I stood up and sort of walked around to acknowledge people prior to receiving my award. Nobody was brave enough to tell me right away that my back zipper was open, exposing my thong. Then two years later, I attended another leadership seminar. Inside the elevator, I met a gentleman who had seen me at the prior seminar. He said loudly, “Hey remember me, I'm Joe!” I looked puzzled, as I didn't remember him clearly. He then said, “That's okay. I remember you and your purple thong when your zipper broke,” he chuckled. Mind you, we were not alone in the elevator. I thought it was kind of rude, so I handled it the best way I could by retorting, “It was Victoria's Secrets, and the color was lavender, meaning light tint of violet. Thank you very much.” I sashayed out the elevator with my head help up high.Edit ModuleShow Tags