At the 2023 Mrs. American pageant, Utah resident Hannah Neeleman (aka the woman behind the Ballerina Farm Instagram account) stepped up to the microphone to answer the final onstage question.
“When have you felt the most empowered?” was the question directed toward Neeleman.
“I have felt this feeling seven times now, as I bring these sacred souls to the earth. After I hold that newborn baby in my arms, the feeling of motherhood and bringing them into the earth is the most empowering feeling I have ever felt,” Neeleman said, to cheering and applause from the crowd.
Her answer has now gone viral on social media and she was crowned the winner of the 2023 Mrs. American pageant, according to the pageant’s official Instagram account.
Though Neeleman was in the pageant as Mrs. South Dakota, she and her husband, Daniel, own a farm in Kamas, Utah. She posts pictures and videos of their life to her 6.2 million followers on Instagram.
Her videos feature her making homemade bread and mozzarella cheese, decorating bright and intricate cakes, arranging flowers and tending to livestock, all while her children pop in and out of her videos helping her.
The Instagram influencer is also a veteran at pageant competitions. When she started attending Brigham Young University’s theater ballet program at age 16, she also competed for Miss Springville and won that title, per the Deseret News. She then was second runner-up for Miss Utah and for Miss National Sweetheart.
Neeleman moved to New York City when she was accepted at the Juilliard School and there she also became Miss New York City, according to the Deseret News.
After Neeleman married, she and her family were living in Brazil for her husband’s work. “While most of his co-workers in Brazil would head to the beach on the weekends, we found ourselves venturing inland, marveling at country’s productive farming community,” the couple’s farm website said.
“One day, while visiting a cattle ranch in in central Brazil, we ran into something that shocked us. As the experienced rancher talked about his impressive cattle operation, Daniel couldn’t stop looking at the man’s pigs,” the Ballerina Farm website said. “They weren’t locked up in stalls. Rather, they were out to pasture munching on grass side by side with the cows. They also enjoyed perusing fallen fruit from a smattering of mango, guava, cashew, and star fruit trees that dotted the farm.”
Then, the Neeleman family returned to Utah and opened up Ballerina Farm — a reference to Neeleman’s career as a ballerina. When the family moved back, Hannah Neeleman competed for Mrs. Utah and won that title in 2021, per Utah Valley 360.
Now the Neelemans sell meat, baked goods and other farm products through Ballerina Farm. Hannah Neeleman is also something of an Instagram influencer, posting aesthetic videos of her making food from scratch. Some of her recipes are included on the farm’s website as well.
Daniel Neeleman also is on Instagram as @HogFathering. He’s amassed 293,000 followers.