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? 

My charity choice is the Branson Regional Arts CouncilBranson is known for being the live music capital of the United States. For tourists, there are ample opportunities to see a fantastic show. For the locals, there is still a desire to create and educate through the arts. The Branson Regional Arts Council provides educational youth programs in the arts. They also host galleries for local artists and have recently added Branson’s Community Theatre. Currently, they are leasing the Historic Owen Theatre as the office and performance space for the organization. They have quickly expanded, and they need financial support to continue that amazing growth. 

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

I am a board member of the Branson Regional Arts Council. Along with that leadership position, you will see me ushering, cleaning, building sets or fundraising. We all pitch in to make this volunteer organization flourish.

What do you think makes a woman beautiful?

A woman is beautiful when she is confident in who she is. A beautiful woman exudes inner beauty from her strength of character and her compassionate heart.

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

My proudest moment was when I took the stage for the first time after my bi-lateral mastectomy. Although I was still tender from surgery, I wanted to get back to my normal. I was able to perform without even one audience member knowing what I had just walked through. It was empowering and humbling all at the same time.

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

I don’t think anyone ever expects to be diagnosed with cancer. I think it was life-changing because I reprioritized my life. Many of us women pour ourselves into work, community, family, friends, social groups and church activities. I realized that I needed to slow down. I needed to say “no” more often. I now try to delegate more. I snuggle with my son and date my husband. I take longer walks with my pug, Pudgy. Time is precious; I want to spend that time wisely.

Bharat Shah MD FACS

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

My mom is an example of inner beauty and strength. She is a saint! Mom loves deeply and tangibly demonstrates that love. She worked in child care for over 25 years specializing in infant care. She made an impact on hundreds of children’s lives. 

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

Be you. There is only one you and there will never be another you. Outer beauty fades, but inner beauty gets more beautiful with time, so let your light shine! Also, make the effort to recognize the beauty in all the girls you know.

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

I graduated from the University of Nebraska, so I am a Cornhusker Football fanatic. My darling husband graduated from the University of Missouri. When we met, our alma maters were in the same athletic conference. I am convinced the good Lord separated Missouri and Nebraska out of the Big 12 so we could have a happy marriage. 

What is your biggest source of inspiration?

My son, Thomas. Our precious child is from the beautiful country of Taiwan. He has been on quite a journey in his short life. He has overcome obstacles that I can’t image. He has left all that is familiar to live where it is not. This might destroy some children, but not my son. Everyone who meets Thomas says he’s bright, compassionate and hilarious. He is my why to everything I do. He is the strongest person I know. 

Where do you find beauty in 417-land?

I absolutely love roller coasters. At Silver Dollar City, on the ride Wildfire there is the most magnificent view of the Ozarks before the first big drop. You see Table Rock Lake and the rolling Ozark mountains at the same time. It is a breathtaking view, right before that plummet takes your breath away.

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

I have never been more aware of a need for diversity than after adopting my sweet son. He is one of three Asian American children in his school (K-12). I believe one reason for the lack of diversity in 417-land is because minorities don’t feel included or understood. One way that I personally tackle this issue is through the creative arts. My theatre company, Forte Theatre Productions LLC, produced The Diary of Anne Frank for our community and hosted local school groups. This play shows the devastation and reality of hate in our world and the beauty of hope and love. Through the arts, we can celebrate different cultures. We can better understand other views and we can explore sensitive subject matters.

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.