Mrs. Delaware America 2024 Tetra Shockley discusses identity, inspiration


DOVER – There are many ways to describe Tetra Shockley. She’s a family lawyer and part owner at Benton & Shockley. She’s an adjunct professor at Wilmington University. And now, she is Mrs. Delaware America 2024.  

“I have been involved in pageantry for about 14 years now. It is a passion of mine. It's something that I've been interested in since childhood,” said Ms. Shockley. 

Her platform at this year’s pageant was “You are the crown.” 

“I think a lot of times, as ladies, but also just humans, I think men struggle too, with ‘why am I here?’ ‘Why am I on this earth?’ ‘What am I here to do?’ And I think a lot of hope is lost if we don't have the answer to that question,” said Ms. Shockley. “And so, through ‘You are the crown’ my hope is to inspire and encourage as many people as possible to dig in and find out what your purpose is. So that you can fulfill that and have that sense of ‘I mean something to this world,’ and then pour out of yourself from that space.” 

Ms. Shockley said she got into pageantry originally for the glamour that came with being a beauty queen, but as she went on, she realized that she had the opportunity to make a difference with her platform. 

“I just was drawn to the sisterhood component, but then also just the community activism, it is a great way to get out in the community,” said Ms. Shockley. “People who might not call Tetra Shockley to come to events, will definitely call Mrs. Delaware America. So, it's a great way to be involved and to promote causes that you're passionate about.” 

She said that the competition process is a whirlwind. Contestants are whisked from photoshoots to interviews, where judges ask several questions poking around to see who the best woman would be to represent their organization, the first day concluding with the Queen’s Dinner.  

The next day, contestants immediately go to hair and makeup, preparing for an iconic part of the competition, something that Ms. Shockley said is more nerve-racking than one might think. 

“We went straight into the swimsuit competition, which is the scariest part of the whole thing,” said Ms. Shockley. “Lots of quick changes, changing earrings changing from swim to gown, making sure the hair is still looking good. Makeup touched up. So, it's a lot of fun, excitement and chaos.” 

After all the competition came both awards and the final crowning, where Ms. Shockley was officially bestowed the title. 

In her daily life, Ms. Shockley is an attorney, a profession she said she was drawn to from a very young age, which help fuel her talent for advocacy. 

“Family law, I'm drawn to because family is important to me. And I like to help people. And I know that when my clients come to me, they're going through the hardest times in their lives. And so, for me to be able to pull from that passion for family, pull from that gift of advocacy, and help my clients (with it) is everything,” she said. 

She continued, jokingly, “and it doesn't hurt that I like to argue, and I'm always right.” 

When asked what she would say to young girls that look up to her and want to be like her, she continued to empower.  

“I was that little girl who wanted to be here. When I was growing up, and I'm looking at the beautiful faces of ladies who are in pageantry, I had acne, I had glasses, and I had braces. I thought it would never be me,” she said. “And so, I would say to that little girl, don't ever give up on your dreams. I don't care what your situation and circumstance look like right now. If it is a dream in your heart, it can come to pass. Just work hard. Believe in yourself and surround yourself with people who also believe in you. You can do it.” 

That passion imbues every word of her message.  

“I want women specifically but really everybody to know that you do matter. You are enough,” she said. “And the whole premise of ‘You are the crown’ is to inspire and encourage people that there's nothing externally that defines you and gives you value, including this crown and this sash. This doesn't add anything to me. I'm not in search of a crown. I am the crown. I am the thing of value. I am the thing of beauty. I am the thing of a worth. And so are you.” 

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