This Gonzales pageant queen is just as devoted to handbags as she is to rescuing animals

I could have sworn I was on the set of The Real Housewives when the 2023 Mrs. Louisiana American showed me her impressive designer bag collection.

Jami Hollingsworth Redmond, 48, collects designer bags and clutches as if they were rare artworks. She owns 14 high-end clutches and loves limited-edition or artist collaboration purses.

Among her designer purses are a giant, black quilted Yves Saint Laurent lambskin tote, a chic white Louis Vuitton logo-embossed bag, a mini teal velvet Gucci crossbody, and a black quilted Chanel clutch.

Some of these sought-after bags cost nearly $5,000. But Redmond says “you don’t always have to pay top dollar to look like you have.”

She uses Poshmark, Queenly, FashionPhile and The RealReal to shop and sell items.

The reigning pageant queen lives in Gonzales, has a 9-year-old son—and runs her own farm. She has 36 animals, including 11 goats, three sheep, three pigs, a mini donkey, two tortoises, a Great Pyrenees puppy, two alpacas, three turkeys, two house cats, two Bengal cats, three chihuahuas, a rabbit and a barn cat.

Redmond was 46 when she started competing in pageants. With her spunky, confident personality, she took home two titles: Mrs. Pelican State and Mrs. Louisiana American, distinctions reserved for married contestants with less restrictive age limits.

Redmond owns 14 high-end clutches and loves to seek rare or limited-edition pieces.

“I am 100% committed to women my age looking and feeling amazing—no matter what age they are,” Redmond says. “Which is one of the reasons I went into pageantry. I wanted to show my peers there is nothing to be afraid of. I can strut my stuff as much as any of the Miss candidates.”

Over the years, she has aimed to compete in pageants in an affordable and sustainable way.

She finds some pageant dresses discounted on online. Her other gowns are custom-made or sourced from local shops like Chatta Box.

Each of her favorite dresses has a story. She tries not to get too attached to the others, so she sells or donates the rest.

Redmond travels to The Galleria in Houston twice a year, filling up her Sprinter van with pieces for the season.

“The key to feeling fresh and young is changing your look,” she says.

People might think Redmond’s life is all glamour. In reality, she spends most of her days taking care of her son and animals wearing athletic wear from Shein and Fashion Nova.

But when she decides to dress up, the world is her stage—and she is the beauty queen.

This article was originally published in the April 2024 issue of 225 magazine.