Lenhart can now add one more personal achievement to her ever-expanding list — winning the title of Ms. Senior San Diego 2012.
Contestants at the three-hour Feb. 18 pageant were judged on four categories: personal interview, evening gown, philosophy of life and talent.
Lenhart, a third-generation San Diegan and a Pacific Beach resident, wowed judges with her jazz dance performance to an Ella Fitzgerald tune, earning her first place in the talent portion of the competition and ultimately entitling her to the much-treasured crown of Ms. Senior San Diego.
“I was really surprised. I’ve never been in a pageant in my life,” Lenhart said. “The most moving part for me was there were about 30 people in the audience that were my friends who were holding pompoms and posters. Not being a pageant girl, it’s hard to smile all the time. But looking out, I couldn’t help but beam when I saw my friends out there in the audience.”
Lenhart first heard about the pageant when a friend, Kim Cook, urged her to enter last year.
“I went to the show last year. I just wanted to see it once before entering,” Lenhart said. “I was so impressed with the organizers and the people in the crowd, and by the enthusiasm for people like myself over 60 just celebrating.”
She said her experience left her in awe.
“What amazes me was that we had some past California winners, and they make sure that everything runs smoothly,” Lenhart said. “There was a lot of talent and those women that run the pageant are very dedicated to it.”
Lenhart will compete next alongside first-runner-up Lea London in the upcoming Ms. Senior California pageant in August, a preliminary event to Ms. Senior America.
Lenhart, a self-proclaimed “physical fitness nut” and San Diego “beach girl,” said she is constantly on the go around the community doing the things she loves — whether that be working with her La Jolla and Del Mar clients from her home-based interior design company Mission Design, working with fellow volunteers at the Mission Beach Woman’s Club, or volunteering her time teaching dance class to adults or volleyball to children and teens.
When she is not working or volunteering, Lenhart can often be found at the beach volleyball courts playing a little two-on-two co-ed volleyball.
She also recently joined the Cameo Club, a group of former Senior America pageant participants who perform dance routines at nursing homes, hospitals and other community and charitable organizations around the country.
She hopes her win will encourage her students and friends to stay fit.
“Stay active in any way you can,” Lenhart said. For older generations, “Start walking. Or if you like music, sign up for a beginner dance group in your age group.”
Her win and overall enjoyment of the life she leads is testament that some things really do get better with age.