By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

Sofia Boru had to get three approvals before deciding to take the plunge and compete for the title of Miss Oregon USA: her best friend’s, her mother’s, and her boyfriend’s.

She was scrolling through Facebook and saw an advertisement for the pageant in October 2017. As she read through the requirements, she decided it was something she could do, but wanted other opinions first.

“Once I heard from all three of them, I knew I was going to do it,” Boru said.

The Miss Oregon pageant, which will be held in October, is a precursor to the Miss USA title and the overall Miss Universe title if Boru advances. It includes interviewing portions as well as swimsuit and evening gown competitions.

The timing of her decision to enter the pageant was something of a blessing and a curse.

“It was that time of year when you have the holidays and Thanksgiving and all the food that comes with it. Everything that I love food-wise was going to be around and I wanted to be in good shape for the competition,” Boru said.

Instead of indulging, Boru partnered with a trainer, Keizer’s Mah-Ann Mendoza, and began workouts to prepare for the swimsuit portion of the event.

“One of the things my phone interviewer (for the pageant) said was that physical appearance didn’t matter as much as the confidence that was behind the contestant on stage,” she said. “I watched some of the older shows and there were some larger women who were gorgeous and beautiful and took the stage so confidently. It was really reassuring to know I didn’t have to be a certain size on the scale.”

Boru, 23, works a few jobs, but her goal is to be a permanent part of a special needs classroom. She frequently substitutes at McNary High School’s Developmental Learning Center where she works with medically-fragile students. Boru graduated from McNary in 2013.

“The first time I had a special needs substitute job, I was scared because I didn’t know how I would react to it. There were kids who had medical needs and some were non-verbal and I came into this classroom and the other teachers were so warm and welcoming and they said just spend time with the kids,” Boru said.

For some who work in developmentally disabled care, that means doing the bare minimum, but Boru enjoys engaging with the students in ways that go beyond mere duty. She ended up with a long-term role in the classroom when another teacher was out on an extended leave, and that clinched the deal.

“They are such great listeners. You may not realize it, but taking the time to look at them and talk to them has a huge impact,” she said.

Working toward the pageant and fundraising has pushed Boru to expand her horizons beyond her Keizer roots, but that hasn’t been as hard as she might have expected. Boru is the daughter of Paula and Randy Moseley, two prominent and longtime Keizer business people and volunteers. Paula is the advertising representative at the Keizertimes and Randy is a jeweler at Boucher’s.

“Mom sets the bar high as far as working for what my sister and I wanted, and dad instilled the same kinds of values. Even when we were younger, mom always brought us along on volunteer jobs. Even if we were just visiting at work, when she worked for the Keizer Chamber of Commerce, she would find stuff for us to do. I remember around Christmas we would put together the songbooks for the tree lighting,” Boru said.

One of her favorite activities was the annual gift wrapping for the Keizer Chamber of Commerce’s Giving Basket program, and she’s trying to pass on that giving spirit to her goddaughter.

“We went through the Gubser lights last year and she passed three big bags of food out the window to the volunteers. She got candy canes in return, but she asked where the food was going and I told her that it would go to people that needed it. She asked if we could do it again next year,” Boru said.

Boru said that her parents were, without a doubt, the biggest influences on her outlook when it comes to volunteering.

“Mom is always smiling and go-getting and she’s always excited to get involved. There’s no hesitation. Dad doesn’t even ask, he just shows up. If more people started going into it with the positive attitude, we would have more volunteers,” she said. “You can make sacrifices and it be a good thing. It’s not really a sacrifice if it makes you feel good.”