Mattos looking to represent South Dakota, Lockhart and native girls at pageant
By Kyle Mooty
Lockhart native Kirstie Suerte Mattos is looking to make an even more positive impact on her South Dakota community than she already has.
Mattos, a 2011 graduate of Lockhart High School, moved with her husband, Alan Martinez, and their two-year-old son, Astraios, last year to Chamberlain, South Dakota. She left engineering to become a House Parent at St. Joseph’s Indian School. Mattos, of Taino descent, has bigger aspirations.
Mattos, the daughter of Angel Mattos and Daisy Mireles, and granddaughter of Jimmy and Toni Mireles (Guadalupanos of Lockhart’s St. Mary’s Catholic Church), is competing in the USA Mrs. Ambassador Pageant for South Dakota. She hopes to bring awareness to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (M.M.I.W.).
Mattos has even produced a song called M.M.I.W. – Bloody handprints through Wicked Music Productions. The song is available through Spotify, YouTube, and iTunes. She has also designed and developed a clothing line called AstroSanti (named after her son).
“Everything in life comes full circle and the universe does not give you what you want, but who you are,” said Mattos, who hopes to inspire other young indigenous women to not only compete but do anything they set their minds on doing. “Everything kind of fell into my hands and I am doing whatever I can to help bring awareness and inspire my girls.”
As house parents, Mattos and her husband are entrusted with Native American students from nearby reservations and cities (Chamberlain is about two hours west of Sioux Falls, South Dakota) who are attending St. Joseph’s Indian School. Their homes is filled with 7th and 8th grade girls – nine in all. The girls live at the house for six days at a time.
“(It is) simply to show other kids, who are growing up similar to how we did, that it doesn’t matter where you come from, only where you want to go,” Mattos said.
Established in 1927, St. Joseph’s works to provide a home away from home for students to grow and learn.
Mattos will only wear clothes in the pageant from a local thrift store as she competes. Her goal is to show others that with determination and community support you too can compete in a pageant on a budget.
Mattos is hoping her Lockhart connections will support her by voting in the People’s Choice competition for $1 each that will help pay for her fees at the National competition in July in Florida. Half of the money will go toward her fees, while the other half will be donated to charity.
People can vote for Mattos by visiting Pageantplanet.com and searching for South Dakota USA Ambassador Pageant 2023. Her goal is $500 and as of April 11, she had raised just over $300. The voting ends soon.
St. Mary’s Catholic Church has donated fabric for Mattos’ outfits.
“Hahom (thank you) for believing in me and helping me help others to make their dreams come true,” said Mattos, whose middle name, Suerte, means “luck.”
Good luck Kirstie!