Putting the Sparkle in Senior Pageant
Denise Rindsberg, a former party planner, loves to volunteer. She is the runner-up of Ms. Senior Georgia Pageant.
For 27 years, Denise Rindsberg ran a bar mitzvah decorating business called Let’s Celebrate. As a runner-up in the recent Ms. Senior Georgia Pageant, she’s the one celebrating.
The 66-year-old Sandy Springs resident originally from South Africa, had just retired and sold her business when she met the 2017 Ms. Senior Georgia, Sandra Komiskey. Rindsberg and her husband of 47 years, Frank, were having dinner when she met Komiskey, wearing a crown, who told them how she travels the state visiting and entertaining the elderly. Rindsberg decided that she wanted too, wanted to become a senior ambassador, in addition to her once-a-week visits as a “baby buddy,” rocking sick babies at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
So she entered the contest.
“Coming from South Africa, I was not involved in pageants. It was something I thought I would love to try to do,” said Rindsberg.
The contest, for women over 60, included three days of interviews, discussions, formal dress, talent and questions by a panel of five judges in front of a live audience. Most of the other contestants sang or danced, and one was a baton twirler, Rindsberg said.
At first, Rindsberg thought she’d brush up on tap dancing for her talent, but when she asked a friend for help, he suggested she focus on her more recent skills – decorating. Drawing inspiration from the pageant advice to “sparkle” when presenting herself, she designed a centerpiece spelling out the seven-letter word “sparkle” using various materials: wood, cardboard, glitter and foam. With Broadway music in the background, Rindsberg spoke about how the letters of the word pertained to the business she started.
She ended with a statement about how the babies at Children’s, her family and friends give her “sparkle.”
Martha Dudley, director of the pageant, explained how Rindsberg won second runner-up. “She was so poised and spoke well and presented her talent well.” She also mentioned how she wanted to serve her community and had more time to do that now that she was retired, Dudley said.
She said the mission of the pageant is “to serve and perform and go out amongst other seniors who are shut-ins and bring happiness and joy to their lives.”
Of the other 10 contestants and members of the Classic Club that sponsors it, Rindsberg said, they are dynamic and amazing. Some are in their 70s, 80s and 90s and most volunteer in the senior community.
“It was the most incredible experience, life-changing for me because it made you look into your life, think about your family and accomplishments and where you want to go from here. I have a lot of life in me yet.”
She said she feels proud to have immigrated to the U.S. with three young children in 1983 and start a business from scratch. “I don’t take it for granted. My husband and I worked very hard and accomplished all this.”
So will she run again? Rindsberg isn’t sure. “I’d love to take a year off … and entertain.”
For now, she’s joined the Classic Club’s “Dazzlin’ Dames,” with performances for seniors starting this month.