“Jaclyn Stapp is an actress, beauty queen, philanthropist, model, and now children’s book author. Married to Grammy winner Scott Stapp, the pair has three children together. Recently, Jaclyn penned a children’s book titled, Wacky Jacky: The True Story of an Unlikely Beauty Queen, based on her own experiences in childhood of growing up and feeling different. With an inspiring message for children, Jaclyn hopes the book teaches children to take pride in who they are and where they come from.
TheCelebrityCafe.com: Wacky Jacky is based off your own childhood experiences. Why did you choose to translate these experiences into a children’s book and not a memoir?
Jaclyn Stapp:I have three wonderful children of my own and I now have a different perspective on life. I value their life and dreams. I recalled my own experiences growing up and felt it was important to send a message about what is truly important in life and the rewards of helping others. Society places so much emphasis on outward things and I wanted to send a different message. I want everyone to take pride in who they are and where they come from. The easiest way to teach that was from the perspective of a children’s book. It was so important for me to leave a legacy to my children and the books I write will give them that.
TheCelebrityCafe.com: Pageants often get a bad rap, but your experience with pageantry proved life changing. How did your involvement in pageants shape your life and ultimately, your book?
Jaclyn Stapp: You know when I was a little girl I was very, very shy and I didn’t fit in and my family was from a far away land called Jordan. As a small girl with bushy hair, my mother encouraged me to do pageants as a way to break my silence and see how I evolved. Surprisingly, I enjoyed it and ended up taking things to the next level. It helped in a lot of areas in life, with my confidence and self-esteem, being a strong, independent woman, and being able to speak in large crowds and audiences. I was also able to speak out on relevant issues in the world today and helped in job interviews.
The experience allows me to be a mentor and spokeswoman for other women, telling other wives and moms you can have it all. I give a lot of credit to pageants because it requires so much discipline to be able to keep everything together. Ultimately, it helps prove that I’m proud of who I am. It was truly a great experience.
TheCelebrityCafe.com: What message do you hope your book sends to children who pick up a copy?
Jaclyn Stapp: Bullying today is a very important issue to address, with so many forms of bullying, both on the Internet and in schools. It all started with the inspiration to make a difference in the lives of my three children, teaching them that it’s OK to be different and proud of who they are, regardless of what anyone else says.
TheCelebrityCafe.com: Your book can really help children value who they are and where they come from. While your book is written for children, what advice can you offer to parents of children who may be bullied or suffering from low self-esteem?
I had a very, very supportive mother who was very involved in every aspect of my life. My father passed away very early in my life. My mother went to everything–PTA meetings and pageants. She helped me be very confident and we had open communication. Her involvement was very important and I think parents need to get involved in their children’s life, despite that being difficult sometimes. They need to know who their kids are hanging out with at school, what they’re doing, and what they like and dislike. It’s important for kids to have that support and parents to reach out to their children’s teachers if necessary. Children should be able to speak up and look to their parents and teachers for support.
TheCelebrityCafe.com: You have four siblings. Were they teased as well and what was your own family’s reaction to other children singling you out?
Jaclyn Stapp: We have five of us in our family, four girls and one boy, but it was mostly me. I was the one who looked like a boy. People used to go up to my mother and say, “What a cute son you have.” They went through it a little bit, but I got teased the most. We just made each other feel confident, praising each other and remaining positive. Nobody would think 25 years later I’d be a former Miss NY and Miss USA runner-up.
TheCelebrityCafe.com:You’re now married to musician Scott Stapp and have three children together. As a full-time mother and now author, how did your own children respond to the book?
Jaclyn Stapp:My son loves the book and he actually travels with me to events. My family is so important to me and I love talking about them. My mother emphasized the importance of giving back and that’s something I’m teaching now to my own children. This is something I learned when I was young and that it helps to feel good inside and just feed your soul.
Jagger is so proud and he’s involved in student government and The Builders Club, always asking, “Mom can I help be involved in sales and count the money?” He’s a wiz in math. My husband is supportive when he’s not on tour, and my daughter loves to interact as well with readings and all the other little girls. The youngest one is a bit too small to get involved just yet.
TheCelebrityCafe.com: Although your children’s book is geared towards young girls, do you think boys can benefit from reading it too?
Jaclyn Stapp: Oh yeah! It’s a true story about my experiences. I really was the most unlikely beauty queen in every sense of the word. My book is not just for girls, the message speaks to everyone. There’s a scene in my book where Jacky volunteers at a hospital and her friends don’t have any hair because of cancer. She remembered not to complain about her own bushy hair, when some people aren’t as fortunate to have any at all. The overall message shows life should never be taken for granted.
TheCelebrityCafe.com: You do a ton of philanthropic work, including CHARM and The Scott Stapp With Arms Wide Open Foundation. Both of these organizations focus on children and their families, as does your children’s book. What inspires you to work so closely with children?
Jaclyn Stapp: At a young age I volunteered at a Florida hospital and I’ve always loved children. From that experience, it inspired me to develop my foundation CHARM (Children are Magical), which aims to heighten awareness for children’s issues and enrich the lives of underprivileged youth. Because of my experience at a young age and learning the importance in giving back, I found inspiration in working with children. Children are so special and you need to instill this in them at a young age. They need love and support, and it’s so important not to forget them.”
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