I had the pleasure of meeting CJ through Show Me Pageants. She goes above and beyond with everything she does. I have worked on several projects with CJ and immediately saw a talented young lady in so many areas. She has an incredible eye for detail and seems to never miss a thing. It is my pleasure to introduce to you, CJ Thomas, Faces of Missouri and people to meet.
CJ Thomas is an English major, High School Drama Teacher, and aspiring Miss USA. She currently resides in Rolla, Missouri, but she has called the Lake of the Ozarks home since birth. She and her five siblings have been raised by strong entrepreneurial parents who both own businesses in Camdenton. CJ has a strong background in pageantry and has held the titles of Miss Dogwood and Miss Missouri Collegiate America. She has also received two honorable mention awards and one top fifteen placement at the Miss Missouri USA Pageant. Whenever she isn’t competing you’ll find her producing natural pageants for young girls through her pageant production company, Show Me Pageants. CJ is passionate about being a force for good in her community and spreading a message of positivity, inclusion, and acceptance wherever she goes.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT LIVING IN MISSOURI?
I’ve lived in Missouri my entire life and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve visited several other states and have never felt the same warmth that I do whenever I’m in Missouri, and I’m not talking about the humidity. It’s the people that make Missouri so great. I recently visited a large city and the people I passed on the street didn’t smile back at me as I walked by. That’s insane to me, because here in Missouri we smile and greet everyone!
WHAT ARE YOUR FAMILY’S FAVORITE ACTIVITIES?
We enjoy experiencing the amazing rivers that Missouri has to offer. So many people focus on the lake, but I’m much more of a river girl! My family enjoys swimming and fishing in the river. I’m one of six children and an aunt to five nieces and nephews, so whenever my entire family gets together we’re larger than most sports teams. The river is great for little ones because there are a lot of safe shallow areas for them to swim. I personally enjoy walking the trails and enjoying the wildlife with my two dogs, Molly (Newfoundland) and Otto (German Shepherd). I promise, you haven’t lived until you’ve seen baby otters playing in the springs at HaHa Tonka!
WHERE CAN SOMEONE FIND YOU WHEN YOU ARE NOT AT WORK?
I’m in the process of renovating a house near Bennett Springs, so as of lately I feel like my life has been consumed with lumber and sheet-rock dust! Whenever I’m not playing “Fixer Upper” I’m probably doing something pageant-related. I own an online pageant earring boutique called Caylee Jo’s (yes, you caught me, that’s my real name). I photograph and ship all of my products out of my home so that keeps me very busy. I am also the director of a natural pageant production company called Show Me Pageants, which hosts pageants for young girls in central Missouri. The goal of Show Me Pageants is to provide an opportunity for girls to grow their confidence and communication skills at a young age. Whenever I’m not immersed in all things pageant you will most likely find me reading, running, or cuddling with my dogs.
WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER YOUR GREATEST PROFESSIONAL ACHIEVEMENT?
In April I graduated from Columbia College with my BA in English and certification to teach middle-school and high-school. I went to my very first job interview back in March for my dream position as a high school drama teacher. I poured my heart into my interview and ended up being offered the job! I still can’t believe that I landed my dream job after my first interview. Being a teacher means everything to me. I have the opportunity to make an impact on the youth of Missouri every single day, and for that I am eternally grateful. I also get to sing and dance my way through the process, so that’s a plus!
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE LOCAL CHARITY?
There are so many to choose from! The Lamb House in Camdenton has to be one of my favorites. They are a private non-profit organization that provides food, clothing, and financial assistance to those in need. I love the Lamb House because they do not turn anyone away! That means that if a family has experienced a tragedy or hardship they can go to the Lamb House for help, regardless of their financials. I have donated food and clothing to them on multiple occasions and I remember speaking with a volunteer who told me that they don’t turn anyone away because sometimes you just need a little bit of help. Sometimes you just have a rough month and need a helping hand.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR LOCAL FAVORITE PLACES?
I come from a family of entrepreneurs, so supporting local business is incredibly important to me! My father owns A-1 Thomas Automotive, my mother owns Best Deal Pawn Shop, and my sister owns Mem’s Market (women’s boutique clothing, home decor, and gifts). They are all located in Camdenton, where I’m from. Whenever I’m not hanging around my family’s businesses you’ll find me eating the best pork tenderloin at the lake from RJ’s Family Restaurant or grabbing an ice-cream from Scoop’s. If you’re ever in Rolla, where I attended college, I highly recommend checking out Red Door Gifts & Boutique, Slice of Pie (Peanut Butter Lust is my favorite!), and Sybil’s (they’re technically in St. James, but their food and service is well-worth the ten-minute drive!).