Miss Arizona for a 2nd time loves to give back - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Miss Arizona for a 2nd time loves to give back

October 11th, 2022 SanTan Sun News

By Ken Sain
Managing Editor

Isabel Ticlo first volunteered to help blind Arizonans while attending Hamilton High School.

Now, during her second stint as Miss Arizona, that chance volunteering opportunity has given the Chandler resident’s life direction.

Ticlo competed in the Miss USA Pageant in Reno, Nevada,  last week and had high hopes of capturing the crown. 

But while that crown went to Miss Texas, Ticlo remains focused on a bigger future  – helping the blind and visually impaired.

She used the scholarships from her first reign as Miss Arizona in 2018 to earn a master’s degree in business administration. Now, she’s pursuing a doctorate in physical therapy that she expects to earn in December 2023.

“Having volunteered with the blind and visually impaired community for 11-plus years, I often met and worked with people who had vision loss coupled with other neurological or physical challenges,” Ticlo said. 

“While vision loss is something they had to adapt to, many were able to live more independently thanks to the help of physical therapy interventions. So, I started taking night classes after work to explore some prerequisites in preparation for applications.”

She said the plan is to eventually open her own practice. 

Working with the blind while at Hamilton made a huge impact on her.

“It’s easy to forget that our sight is a gift and to realize how challenging it can be to live in a sight-first world when that sense is suddenly reduced, diminished,” she said. “I’ve met and worked with people who lost their vision due to autoimmune disorders, trauma, diabetes, and even car accidents. It can happen to anyone.”

This will not be her first Miss USA pageant as a contestant, since she was Miss Arizona in 2018. She said that experience should help her this year.

“Some of my favorite things that I’ve learned as a titleholder is how to hold crucial conversations, build meaningful connections, and tell other people’s stories,” Ticlo said.

 “I love interacting with people from all walks of life as it makes me a more compassionate community servant with a greater appreciation for all of the diverse, amazing people I have the honor of representing at the national level. 

“When I think of Miss USA, I think of someone who knows the greatest gift she can give is her time,” she added.

So, she’s hands-on making sure she’s using her platform for good. 

She also wants to make sure the judges know “that I will be the type of Miss USA they can count on to hit the ground running, to attend a news conference in the morning, visit the children’s hospital in the evening, and then host a fundraising gala that night – representing the brand with grace and kindness.”

Ticlo’s parents are from India and Thailand. She loves to dance, especially Bollywood numbers. At college one day, she got a phone call that someone she loved had been mugged.

“Getting that phone call was heartbreaking and I couldn’t help but wonder if self-defense knowledge could have been helpful,” she recalled. “So, I signed up for Taekwondo in 2020 at MX Martial Arts in Chandler and am now a proud brown belt. My studio even helped me teach a self defense class earlier this year to help others feel empowered and safe.”

She said she will test for the black belt soon.

Helping blind Arizonans is not her only charity work. 

“I’ve also had the chance to work with several other organizations such as Feed My Starving Children, the Children’s Miracle Network, HopeKids, the Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona, and more,” she said. 

“One of my favorite events was hosting a virtual Bollywood dance class with Hope Kids for terminally ill children around the country during the pandemic. Another passion project I started last year was writing and illustrating my children’s book ‘One Nice Thing a Day’ now on Amazon with proceeds benefiting shelters.”