Miss America 2012 | Inspirational Speaker | Podcast Host | Singer/Performer | At-Risk Youth Advocate
Laura Kaeppeler Bio
Laura Marie Kaeppeler is a nationally recognized performer, advocate for at-risk youth and inspirational speaker, originally hailing from Kenosha, Wisconsin.
In 2012, Laura Kaeppeler became the 86th woman to be crowned Miss America, and the second Miss America from the state of Wisconsin. As Miss America, Laura became the Goodwill Ambassador for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, and her personal platform, Advocating for Children of Incarcerated Parents.
An acclaimed classical vocalist, Laura has been a featured soloist with orchestras across the country and has performed the national anthem at numerous sold-out venues, including Angel Stadium, Lambeau Field, Miller Park, Wrigley Field, and Yankee Stadium.
Laura has also performed for members of the United States Armed Forces and their families with the USO. Laura is passionate about advocating for children of incarcerated parents, and has been invited to speak at The White House and partner with organizations including the U.S. Dream Academy, Big Brothers & Big Sisters of America, Operation Open Arms, and others.
Laura Kaeppeler is a 2010 graduate of Carthage College in Kenosha, WI, and holds a bachelor’s degree in Music and Vocal Performance.
In 2012, Laura was a recipient of the Courage Award from The CarePlus Foundation, an organization that supports the innovative and life-changing programs and services for in-need adults, and also received the Thomas Mott Osborne Medal from The Osbourne Association, a group that creates opportunities for people affected by the criminal justice system.
Follow Laura Kaeppeler on Instagram.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q: Where is Laura Kaeppeler From?
A: Laura is originally from Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Q: What can I follow Laura Kaeppeler on social media?
A: Follow Laura Kaeppeler on Twitter here, or here on Facebook!
Q: What was your favorite thing about growing up in Kenosha?
A: Kenosha is such a wonderful place. The people are my most favorite memory of growing up in Kenosha. Kenosha is such a tight-knit community with really good people. People talk about the Midwest and the people there as “the salt of the earth”. And that’s really the truth! That is what makes Kenosha the best, and that is my best memory.
Q: What Kenosha business do you love and always try to visit when you go back home?
A: I love a restaurant called “The Spot”, which is actually the first place that I worked at. It’s a local drive-in restaurant, with hamburgers, french fries and homemade root beer. So everytime I go back home, I love to visit The Spot.
Q: What was your first job?
A: My first job was at The Spot Drive-In. I started working there when I was 15 years old, worked there all the way through college and was able to pay my way through school. I first started working inside the restaurant, at the cash register and making ice cream. Eventually I worked as a waitress. I have fond memories of working there.
Q: What are some life lessons you learned from your first job?
A: It really instilled in me a strong work ethic, because I worked outside in Wisconsin which means it was cold and sometimes snowy. And they stayed open really late, so sometimes I work until like 3 or 3:30 a.m. And then I’d get up the next morning by 11 a.m. to work again. So the weather conditions, combined with the hours instilled a really strong work ethic in me.
Q: Tell me about your feelings for Kenosha, and why you wanted to help your hometown after the recent devastating riots and the effects of the pandemic on small businesses?
A: Kenosha is such a great town ,and it’s a community that really comes together in the face of adversity. And that was no different after the devastating riots that Kenosha experienced combined with the pandemic. And to give back to a community that really gave so much to me and help support me and shape who I am today means so much.
Q: What important single piece of advice do you have for anyone considering volunteering or giving back to their community?
A: I think it’s important, no matter where you are in life, or how old you are, or even if you’ve left your hometown and moved somewhere else, that remembering where you’re from is important! Remember the people along the way that have helped shape you. So for anyone who wants to volunteer or give back, just remember where you came from and try to give back to that community. It’s a good place to start.
Q: What inspired you to co-create the “Health Interrupted” podcast?
A: The “Health Interrupted” Podcast was created in the middle of a pandemic! My co-host Gina Lombardi and I realized that we were in the middle of the most life changing interruption, as we all were in lockdown. And the more we thought about it and realized– I’m interrupted a thousand times a day as a mother with kids, and she’s interrupted with her life and family and work– it’s a pretty common theme that many people experience. We’re all interrupted in life, and it’s inevitable. But it’s how we pick ourselves up again, and how we use those interruptions to learn and grow to become the biggest, boldest, best version of ourselves.
Q: What topics does the podcast cover?
A: “Health Interrupted” covers all sorts of health topics and interruptions– mental health, spiritual health, physical health. We’ve talked to people who have faced really traumatic accidents, people who have various diseases or disabilities. We really covered the gamut of interruptions, but we tried to stick to mental, spiritual and physical health interruptions.
Q: What key thing do you know now, that you wish you knew when you were young?
A: What I wish I knew when I was younger– I think it’s the classic “Don’t worry”. I think worrying is a wasted emotion. Life does end up playing out the way that it’s supposed to. So I think I would tell the younger version of myself not to worry so much.
Q: If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
A: I really admire imperfect people. And I really think if we can talk about life in a real way, with real struggles that people face, we could all see humanity and each other a little more. And I think that parlays into being kind to one another, and being respectful of one another and our differences if we can really see each other for the hardships that we go through. There’s a lot of commonality there.
Q: What book have you found most valuable to your personal growth?
A: I’m really into psychology, and so I really love books about healing, learning and growing. “The Untethered Soul” is one of the best books I’ve ever read.
Q: How do you balance your time between family, your podcast, teaching music?
A: I think that’s a work in progress! I don’t think I’ve balanced it well. I have yet to figure that one out. And with the pandemic, you know, we’ve all just been ‘all hands on deck’ for the last year. So just adjusting, and I think you have to make 100 adjustments a day, truthfully.
Q: What’s the most important life lesson you’ve learned?
A: The most important life lesson is that we’re all going to make mistakes, but we’re human. That’s the nature of life and this existence that we have, but if we use our mistakes as an opportunity to learn and grow, that’s the biggest lesson because if you don’t, what’s the point?
Q: Who is your hero of fiction (books, movies, etc.)?
A: Wonder Woman. I mean, as a woman, naturally, it’s a pretty classic answer, but it’s true.
Q: Which public figure do you most admire?
A: I love Michelle Obama. I admire her so much, but you know, if I didn’t have to choose just one person, again, I really admire imperfect people.
Q: What three songs are you listening to?
A: Well, I love Justin Bieber. I think he’s an amazing musician truthfully. So Justin Bieber’s on repeat. I also love the Indigo Girls. They’re on repeat. And we also listen to a lot of Grateful Dead, so love them too.