World’s Mrs. Ohio Tourism 2015 overcame rough past

Published 1:44 pm Thursday, December 18, 2014

Miss Tourism 2

CHESAPEAKE— Latoria Potter, of Chesapeake, may have won World’s Mrs. Ohio Tourism 2015 in the World’s Miss Tourism Pageant, but life has not always been easy for her.

“I grew up in a rough life. I’ve been through foster care, I’ve been bullied and have been a victim of domestic violence,” Potter said. “I was a wild teen and I didn’t want to listen because I thought I knew it all. I got into a lot of trouble and was put in a girl’s group home for 16 months.”

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Potter knew she had to turn her life around.

“When I was about 18 or 19 years old, I finally straightened up,” Potter said. “I realized I was an adult and needed to act differently, although it was really hard.”

The World’s Miss Tourism Pageant is not a typical pageant in that it is community-service based.

“All of the tourism girls strive for community service and to be good role models,” Potter said. “I wanted to be a good role model. I want to show girls who are going through some of the things that I have been through that it can be overcome and you can still be something.”

Potter won the Ohio crown for the “Mrs.” category, which involves married women ages 21 to 49.

“Ohio doesn’t have a state director, so there was no actual state pageant. I competed in an online pageant, where I won my title,” Potter said. “With online, it’s different because it is just a photo pageant where I submitted photos. When it closed, they were sent to judges where it was judged just like a regular pageant.”

With winning the title, Potter is required to do community service and make public appearances.

“I was very excited when I found out I won,” she said. “I never really expected it, but I was hopeful.”

Potter wants to use this as an opportunity to make a positive difference.

“With my reign, I would like to bring awareness to autism and orphans,” she said. “I want to get involved with For Jamie’s Sake adoption agency and Hope’s Place child advocacy group in Ashland and be a role model for them. I want to bring awareness to autism because my daughter has Asperger’s Symdrome, a form of autism.”

This coming July, Potter will go to Nashville, Tennessee, to compete in nationals.

“So far, all of the girls who are in the tourism pageant are all like a family,” she said. “A lot of us are Facebook friends, but I am looking forward to meeting all of them and making new friends. It will be a lot of fun.”

Potter lives in Chesapeake with her husband Brian, son, Mackey, 4, and three daughters, Tennessee, 7, Mia, 6 and Johanna, 1.