behind the crown
Ariana Almonte is Ms. Mompreneur 2016
By Elyssa Schwartz | Photography by Evelyn Robles
When you’re a mother of two children under the age of 5 and running two businesses, it may feel as if you’re sprinting a mommy marathon at all times. But Ariana Almonte, this year’s Ms. Corporate America Mompreneur, has discovered a pace that works for her.
“Before I found out about this, I was calling myself a ‘mompreneur,’” Almonte says. “Now, there’s an actual title that exists, and the fact that I get to wear it proudly for a year, is everything.”
The Coral Springs resident is no stranger to competing in pageants, having won four national titles and numerous titles on a local level. However, Almonte admits that being recognized as Ms. Mompreneur is the most significant. She credits her children, Aizayah, 4, and Aria, 1, for keeping her inspired.
“I’ve never wanted to work for myself so badly until I had kids,” she says. “They encourage me and motivate me every day to get up and do something.”
Currently, Almonte is the owner and wedding officiant of Royal Butler Weddings, which specializes in South Florida beach weddings, destination weddings and honeymoon travel planning. She also runs a mobile body image spa called BeYOUtiful Bodies by Ari. The spa offers wellness products, fitness gear, makeup and one-on-one consultation services for mothers, brides, pageant queens and fitness competitors.
“Because I am a pageant queen and a mom, I needed an outlet to help me love my new body. It’s not the same as it was before I had kids,” says Almonte, admitting that she never planned on using her beauty regimens to pursue a business venture. “Since I use the products myself, I thought, ‘Why not help the new moms love their bodies and pageant queens with pageant preparation?’”
“[My children] encourage me and motivate me every day to get up and do something.” – Ariana Almonte
Almonte’s drive to work for herself dates back to her childhood when her parents worked opposite schedules and weren’t able to attend her various performances and sporting events. “I don’t want to miss out on my children growing up. I want to be there every step of the way for as long as I can,” she says.
Her fiancé, James Butler, feels the same way and avoids scheduling appointments with clients to be there for his children’s various events.
“What makes me most proud of Ariana is that she found something she loves and has taken that passion and turned it into a career,” says Butler, who is a business owner himself. “She is a hustler at heart, a go-getter and very determined to succeed for both herself and our family.”
Beyond the pageant industry, her professional life and caring for her children, Almonte devotes every ounce of what’s left of her time giving back to the community. She’s a regular volunteer for Make-A-Wish Southern Florida and Glam-A-THON, and is the Luminaria chair for Relay For Life of Coral Springs. She’s also involved with Best Buddies, Kids In Distress and the Suits, Stilettos and Lipstick West Broward chapter.
Almonte plans on getting involved with Dress for Success Greater Orlando, Ms./Mrs. Corporate America’s charity affiliate, to collect and donate business clothing and help women land jobs in the corporate world.
She is also excited to initiate a few social events of her own, coinciding with her pageant platform: “Bridging the gap between mommy life and social life.” This includes hosting workshops for young and new mothers to help lessen the risk of postpartum depression.
“I want moms to be able to take a time out for themselves and become selfish for just a little bit,” Almonte says. “The purpose of the events will be to encourage moms to continue to push forward with creating their dream life.”
Almonte’s supermom lifestyle does allow for some downtime, during which she enjoys spending with her family and even indulging in the occasional date night. “My fiancé and I are big movie buffs, so we like to get to the movies as much as we can,” she says.
As for Mother’s Day, Almonte doesn’t have anything planned, though she wouldn’t be surprised if her fiancé had something up his sleeve.
“On Valentine’s Day, I had three weddings back to back. He surprised me by coming to watch me perform a wedding for the first time,” Almonte says. “I love what I do. If I end up spending the day on the beach performing weddings, I’ll love it.”