10 Most Beautiful Women 2018 presented by Bharat Shah

The woman who receives the most online votes and brings the biggest crowd to Indulge will donate a portion of the event proceeds to her local charity of choice. The winner will be announced at Indulge on October 3.

What is your local 417-land charity of choice, and why is it important to you? 

Missouri State University Student Emergency Fund

Do you volunteer, or are you involved in any philanthropic or community organizations? If so, what are they, and what do you do?

At 12 years old, I started volunteering at a local nursing home in Thayer, Missouri. Later, I did work with Special Olympics while I was in Physical Therapy school. I then began to do medical mission trips to Guatemala, Africa and Jamaica through United Methodist Church, and International Executive Women’s coordinated through Spark. I have served on multiple boards including, but not limited to, CASA, a member of the State Board of Education, a past member of the Missouri State University Board of Governors and the Physical Therapy Commission for the Board of Healing Arts. 

I have enjoyed having a focus on education and the healing arts, which I believe are two things we can give to others that helps them to build a future and better their current situation at the same time.

What do you think makes a woman beautiful?

A woman who can not only recognize when others are in need but is willing to be helpful and has an attitude of kindness. 

What has been your proudest moment? Or, what are you most proud of?

My daughter who is a beautiful, kind, hard-working woman. She inspires me and currently works at John Hopkins Hospital in administration.

What was one particularly defining or life-changing moment in your life?

The opportunity to return to West Plains’ hospital just out of PT school and work with a supportive administration that allowed me to create a physical therapy department. This experience allowed me to impact my profession on a state and local level, as well as create a presence of rehab in south-central Missouri because rehab services were not readily available at the time.

Bharat Shah MD FACS

When you were a child, who did you think was the most beautiful woman? Why?

Like most young women, I thought my mother was beautiful. She was kind, smart and hard-working. A nonfamily member would be Mother Teresa, who impacted the world in ways that are still meaningful and important. I feel she set the bar for service to humanity.

What advice would you give to a young girl about being beautiful?

It starts on the inside by how we treat others. Although it sounds cliché it is a woman’s inner beauty that goes much deeper, and that is what people will notice and remember; it is much more eye-catching than traditional beauty.

What’s something that might surprise us about you, or a story you love to tell?

As a child, I had to work through dyslexia. I was given remedial reading classes and had to work extra hard, but I have found that it has not slowed me down.

What is your biggest source of inspiration?

People who are authentic with their thoughts and actions. Although I may not always agree with them, I admire them for being respectfully authentic.

Where do you find beauty in 417-land?

Our rivers and forests are always a beauty to behold, but so is the generosity and kindness of the people in 417-land. 

What do you think is the biggest issue or challenge 417-land is facing right now, and how would you tackle it? 

The need for an adequate number of good-paying jobs in all of our surrounding communities. I feel with the appropriate education and technical training to develop skills with a focus for the needed workforce, we can meet the needs of the job market and bring new jobs to our area. Also, by encouraging and supporting small businesses in our area communities.

Fill in the blank: Friends would describe you as “The _____ One.” 


See the winners in the September issue!

Get to know our 10 Most Beautiful even better. Then, watch them walk the runway at 417 Magazine's Indulge on October 3 at Oasis Hotel and Convention Center.