It’s not every day that TCN gets to meet the stars of the beauty pageant world, like Mrs Shawna Bošković, representing Croatia at Mrs World 2021.
With no Croatian heritage of her own but a Croatian husband in tow, Shawna leaped for love, saying goodbye to the Victorian homes of San Francisco and hello to the red rooftops of Dubrovnik to pursue a new life in the Adriatic Pearl.
“I moved here in February of 2020, relocating from San Francisco, California to Dubrovnik. A decision I had made with my husband. My husband is born and raised in Croatia. We met through friends and fell in love under the Croatian sunsets, and the rest is history! He has worked hard to become an architect, and he loves where he works in Dubrovnik. With my background in hospitality management, I can pretty much work anywhere, so we decided we would live in Dubrovnik,” Shawna explained of her decision to move abroad, which happened just before the COVID-19 pandemic devastated the world.
“I was so excited to make a move but also scared as Croatia and the United States have a lot of cultural differences. Not long after I got here, the coronavirus pandemic hit the world, and we went into lockdown. Although this was crazy, unexpected, and hard, I was able to really spend time in a more empty Dubrovnik, learning all about my new home. I was also given a new job teaching English to children at the Dubrovnik School of Language. During this time, I found the Croatian people to be some of the most amazing people I had ever met. Willing to always help, non-judgmental, and very relaxed and carefree. I like to say the people here really enjoy life. They don’t LIVE to work. They work to live a full life. And that’s what Croatia is, full of life. I found my forever home here, and I can’t wait to start a family and raise my children in such an amazing wholesome place.”
Shawna’s love for Croatia thus sparked her interest in the Mrs World pageant.
“The pageant is the largest globally (as a MRS pageant), including Mrs America. It showcases married women and women with families. I love this because it shows you are not defined by a single or married status, and a woman can be so much when she is also a wife. I was also somewhat trying to find where I fit into Croatia and when the Mrs world pageant presented itself, I thought it would be an amazing opportunity for me to get involved in my community and showcase the wonderful place and people of Croatia.”
Shawna’s experience in the Mrs World pageant was a bit different this year, given the effect of COVID-19, but that didn’t deter her from showcasing her new home.
“Because of the pandemic, the competition was held online. I was interviewed and asked, of course, why me? Why would I want to represent Croatia? Why do I think I’m the best to do this? I think I had an advantage seeing Croatia from an outsider’s viewpoint than someone fully immersed in the culture. I am so eager to show the world my Croatia and the talents of its people. The judges saw this too, and I was crowned Mrs Croatia World!”
Given her new Mrs Croatia title, Shawna has been active in Dubrovnik, offering her hand to local companies, fashion designers, and animal shelters!
“I am currently working with the lovely people of the Zarkovica Dog Shelter in Dubrovnik. They work very hard to house animals and find them forever homes. It has been a tough year for them without a tourist season, people to walk the animals, and low funds. I am trying to bring awareness to their wonderful work!
With the earthquakes as well, I am doing anything I can to help the people affected. Our wonderful communities here are getting many resources to them, and I’m happy to help and donate! I like to say it might be early for “spring cleaning,” but it’s the perfect time to go through your things, and anything unwanted or not often used would be of great help to all of those people affected! As a native Californian, seeing the earthquake’s devastation hits close to home. I would love to assist them in getting whatever they need.
I am also working with Croatian companies and designers only to showcase the talents and beauty of Croatia. I am working with an amazing young designer named Tena Filicic. She is doing all my work for the upcoming pageant to represent Croatia. I look forward to showcasing her Croatian designs on a World platform.”
In Croatia for almost a year now, what else in the country has stolen Shawna’s heart?
“Dubrovnik holds a special place in my heart, and it always will. It’s where I first felt at home in Croatia. I will never be able to thank all the people I have met for the kindness they have shown me in an otherwise challenging year.
I honestly love all of Croatia, from the markets of Zagreb to the majestic Plitvice lakes. From the top to the bottom of Croatia, there is wonder and magic in every small town. I am honored to represent our wonderful country!”
So, what’s next for Shawna?
“As Mrs Croatia is a platform for engaging in the community, I would like to continue working with local charities and businesses and start a family here soon. Also, the winner of Mrs World hosts the next pageant in their country, which I think is amazing, and I would love to bring a world showcase to Croatia!”
To read more about travel in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.