Sera Anderson: putting beauty to good use

July-1-CT-CP-Sera-Anderson-C-copyBy Phyl Newbeck

Take a look at the photo to the right and admire Sera Anderson’s hair – because you may not see it this fall. Anderson, Mrs. Vermont America 2014, will be shaving her head Sept. 27 if she is able to raise $25,000 for pediatric cancer initiatives.

Anderson is no stranger to beauty pageants. She won a contest when she was 12 years old and entered the Miss Vermont pageant in 1999. She thought she had put all that behind her with a career in marketing and sales as well as ownership of the Cobblestone Deli in Burlington, but last year, the now full-time mother allowed several friends to talk her into entering the Mrs. Vermont competition.

Now that she has the title, Anderson wants to make good use of her platform and the year of service that is required of winners. “You can make as much of it as you want,” she said. “My chosen platform is to support the needs of children in Vermont. I know that’s vague, but I wanted to keep it wide open because there are a number of things that I’m passionate about.”

After her son Caden was born, Anderson became involved with Building Bright Futures. In addition, she is helping out with a new initiative called “Let’s Grow Kids,” which focuses on small children.

“Eighty percent of children’s brains develop before age three,” she said. “I want to help spread that message.”

The biggest event on Anderson’s schedule is the fundraiser for which she has teamed up with the Vermont Agency Foundation. If Anderson can raise $25,000, she will host an event this September to have her head shaved, with the money going to the Vermont Cancer Center.

Anderson noted that most people have had their lives touched by cancer; she lost her best friend from college and her mother-in-law. Although both deaths were some time ago, the wound is still raw.

“It won’t be pretty,” she said of her proposed buzz cut, “but it’s not that big a deal.” Recognizing that hair serves the purpose of warmth and vanity, Anderson said the first will be easy to deal with via hats and scarves but the latter may be more of a challenge. “It will be a spiritual journey,” she said. “It will be emotional and physical.”

Anderson and her husband moved to Charlotte a year and a half ago. “We love it here,” she said. “You’re close to where you need to go but far enough away to have some room and some privacy. I love the peacefulness.”

The new mother is getting to know the community better and is enjoying the interaction. In her spare time, she enjoys a wide range of outdoor activities from hiking and cycling to snowboarding, although the presence of a toddler makes for less free time. Since this is her service year, she’s likely to have even less time for those pleasures – but she’s happy to be able to help children throughout Vermont.