Raquel Riley Thomas is a Pageant Owner, Pageant Queen, and Military Veteran. She is the Owner of An Officer and Gentlewoman, LLC, which has eight subsidiaries: Mrs. Pennsylvania America Pageant, Mrs. District of Columbia America Pageant, Mrs. Delaware America Pageant, Little Miss PA America, Little Miss DC America, Little Miss DE America, Little Miss Maryland, and Little Miss Virginia. She is also Mrs. America 2011 (1st RU) and Mrs. Maryland America 2010.
Raquel is a decorated military veteran, having served nine years in the U.S. Army (5-years Enlisted photojournalist; 4-years Ordnance Officer). She was honorably discharged as an Captain in May 2002. She immediately started her own photography company and she became the first African-American woman to photograph Jet magazines centerfolds for nine years (2000-2009). While meeting with Elite Model management for a discussion on her photography services, Elite decided they wanted to sign the 5’9” photography as a commerical model instead. She also later signed with Ford Models (New York). She worked both as professional model and professional photography unitil 2009.
In June 2010, Raquel switched gears and entered into a beauty pageant contest. She won the title of Mrs. Maryland America 2010 and then in September 2010, she competed against 50 state delegates, winning the title of Mrs. America (1st RU) 2011.
In September 2011, Raquel started her Veteran-Owned Company, An Officer and Gentlewoman LLC, (AOAGWLLC). She bought the rights to Mrs. DC America, a preliminary pageant to Mrs. America. On Dec 17, 2015, she made history when she bought the rights to Mrs. Pennsylvania America and then later she bought Mrs. Delaware America. She is the first and only African-American to own three pageants within the Mrs. America organization. She recently bought 5 more pageants for girls 7-12 years old: Little Miss DC America, Little Miss PA America, Little Miss DE America, Little Miss Maryland and Little Miss Virginia.
Raquel is committed to her community through service and philanthropy. She is a member of: Delta Sigma Theta, Inc., Military Officers Association of America, Association of United States Army and Women in Media. Raquel recently became involved in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, in honor of her Army-veteran mother who unfortunately took her own life in March 2013. As a military Veteran, Raquel makes it a point to give a portion of pageant proceeds to military-focused charities such as Luke’s Wings and Vetsports.
Raquel’s accomplishments have been noted in both her military and civilian career. In the Army, she was awarded the Army Commendation Medal (2x) and the Army Achievement Medal (3x). For her commitment to fighting for military Veteran's rights, Raquel was selected as the “Veteran of the Year" 2011, by Women Veteran’s Rock. Raquel was also titled a “Leader of the Future,” by Ebony Magazine, Marquis “Who’s Who of America,” (5 consecutive years), and Washington Business Journal “People on the Move.” She was recently inducted into the Library of Congress under the "Veterans History Project" where her military history is now stored in video and pictures.
Raquel is married to Ron Thomas, Esq. with 4 children, a cat, a hamster and two robots in their blended family.
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