Meet D’Antrese: Navy Wife, Beauty Queen, Noonday Ambassador
Here at Noonday we have an incredibly rich Ambassador community. What began as an adoption fundraiser has grown into a movement of women who share a desire to create pathways out of poverty for the vulnerable. Our Ambassadors serve as the voice and face of Noonday Collection in their communities. These women are showing us what it means to be leaders and world changers. We hear story after story on how our Ambassadors are doing amazing things in their communities and beyond, and we couldn’t be more proud of the over 700 women who truly embody what it means to be a Noonday Collection Ambassador.
Several months ago we had the pleasure of welcoming D’Antrese McNeil to our Ambassador community. D’Antrese currently lives with her family in Seoul, South Korea and has a passion for changing lives and for good food. She also loves a good pageant and was named Ms. Black Texas in 2012. Learn more about this world changing woman, who you just might see running for Ms. Maryland in the coming year!
What is your favorite thing about being a Noonday Ambassador?
I heard about Noonday Collection through a fellow Navy wife and friend, who I love to call a Noonday junkie! I fell in love with the jewelry and stories behind every piece and knew I wanted to be a part of the story.
My favorite part about being an Ambassador is the relationships I have formed with both customers and other Ambassadors. It’s amazing how many people share my same sentiments, morals, and values. I love it. I also love that each piece of jewelry, bag, scarf, or home accessory helps improve someone else’s life.
What led you to life in Seoul, South Korea? Tell us about that experience.
My family found our way to South Korea after the U.S. Navy assigned my husband here in 2012. Living in Seoul, South Korea is like living in NYC on steroids. Seoul is a city that never sleeps and never slows down and will turn a small town person into a city person in no time! It kind of forces itself on you in a way because there’s just so much going on. But don’t worry, they make sure you are awake and alert for all of it—you can find coffee shops everywhere. I love it because you truly get to be immersed in a different culture.
What do you love the most about living overseas?
Let me be honest here: I love the food—it is amazing! Everything is right at your fingertips, whether it’s Korean, Mexican, American, Indian, African or even Russian. And what makes it even better is that the people making all this amazing food have come from their home countries to Seoul to cook, so everything is so authentic.
I also love the fashion here. Koreans pride themselves on looking good so there are such a wide variety of places to shop. There’s so much culture in the food and fashion of Korea alone and I will miss that the most when we move.
Describe your experience winning Ms. Black Texas 2012? What made you decide to enter?
I decided to enter Ms. Black Texas after a good friend of mine ran and won the year before, so I said, “Why not? I will give it a go.” It was an incredible experience. I thought I would just go have fun and make great memories and surprisingly I ended up winning. I didn’t realize that I had won until they put the crown on my head. I was even congratulating the first runner up on winning before noticing that my name was being called. The entire experience went by so fast, but I loved and cherish every minute of it.
I also loved being able to raise awareness about Sickle Cell Disease, a disease that is an inherited condition and greatly affects the African American Community. There is so little attention concerning this disease, so I was glad to be able to use my platform to educate and raise money for this cause.
What surprised you the most about your Ms. Black Texas experience?
The biggest surprise for me was the fact that I formed great friendships with all the women who entered. I was always warned that pageants bring out the worst in people, but every single woman that participated made an effort to make sure we all shined. We helped each other and encouraged one another. My experience taught me to not go into situations with preconceived notions based on others people’s opinions. My experience at the Ms. Black Texas pageant is why I have decided to run for Mrs. Maryland next year!
What accomplishment in your life are you most proud of?
I have to say my family. I am so proud of the family my husband and I have built together. Oh—and lately, my willingness to actually finish what I start.
What is something on your bucket list?
I want to go skydiving. I am terribly afraid of heights but want to do it while I still can! I also really want to learn how to sew at some point in my life.
What book can we currently find on your shelf?
Right now I’m reading Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. It has been hard to get my daily errands and activities done because I can’t put this book down!
What are your must-have Noonday pieces for Fall?
I am loving the Sofiya Wrap Bracelet, the Amhara Scarf and the La Noche Bracelet in Midnight.
What are you passionate about?
I am passionate about art and life. I love music and photography. I am always singing because music soothes the soul. Photography allows me to capture those moments in life that are sometimes unexplainable but a picture says a thousand words and more. I am passionate about life because I feel like a lot of times people don’t realize that to live is an honor. I believe that God specifically chose you and I to grace this earth to serve a purpose and I would love to help each person I meet find that purpose and fulfill it. I also want to find a way to help all people understand that no matter who you are, no matter your past or present your life is valuable.
Thanks to D’Antrese for sharing her heart with us and inspiring us to say, “Why not? I’ll give it a go!” Want to join her as a world changing Noonday Ambassador? Join today and bring opportunity to the vulnerable by creating a marketplace for artisans around the world!
*Note: The Noonday Collection Ambassador opportunity is currently only available to United States residents and individuals living abroad through the U.S. military.
Meet Jessica Honegger
Jessica is Noonday Collection’s Founder and Chief Dreamer. Jessica spends her days inspiring others to live lives of purpose—from empowering our Ambassadors to be powerful storytellers and stylists, to visiting and encouraging our Artisans partners across the globe. After hours, Jessica can be found relaxing with her husband, dancing with her three children, and enjoying a good book.