Monica Pechous is the daughter of Vera and the late Roy Pechous and represented Missouri at the 2022 Miss Czech-Slovak US Pageant. Her Czech heritage comes from her father’s side of the family, with her great-great grandparents immigrating to the United States from the town of České Budějovice in Southern Bohemia in the late 19th century. The 25-year-old currently resides in St. Louis, Missouri.
Monica attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Marketing and a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies, both with University Honors. After graduating from UNLV in 2018, Monica moved to Chicago, Illinois to attend law school at Chicago-Kent College of Law. In law school, she won several legal writing competitions, allowing her to publish her articles in various legal journals. Monica graduated from her three-year law school program in two years and moved to St. Louis, Missouri shortly thereafter. She studied for the bar exam while pursuing her Master of Business Administration at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, and ultimately passed the bar and earned her MBA in 2021. Monica now works as an investment funds attorney at a large law firm.
Although growing up in Nevada provided limited opportunities to engage with her Czech culture, Monica took it upon herself to seek out Czech heritage organizations when she moved to Chicago for law school. She joined the Bohemian Lawyers Association of Chicago in 2018 and earned the Judy Baar Topinka Scholarship from the organization two years in a row. The Bohemian Lawyers Association served as an opportunity for Monica to learn about her heritage and build community within the context of her profession. When she moved to St. Louis, Monica joined Sokol St. Louis, where she was able to engage with the Czech community through dinners and educational events at the American Czech Educational Center. A lifelong learner, Monica has been taking Czech language courses for the past year and a half, recognizing the importance of language to the Czech identity.
Monica modeled an authentic replica of a traditional kroj from the village of České Budějovice from Southern Bohemia. Various materials used to construct the kroj came from the Czech Republic, including fabrics, ribbons, and trims. The kroj was constructed in West, Texas by seamstress Maggie Grmela and assistant Madison Murphy, who both aided in the research and design of the kroj. The kroj reflects Monica’s Bohemian heritage through its rich fabrics and colors juxtaposed against functional pieces reminiscent of kroje in the region in the late 19th century.
For her talent, Monica presented a demonstrative speech on the legal systems of the Czech and Slovak Republics with a specific focus on constitutional law. As a lawyer, Monica chose to share her unique knowledge on the subject, which served to educate the audience on little-known aspects of Czech and Slovak government and honor the sacrifices that occurred during the Velvet Revolution and the progress that occurred after the Velvet Divorce.
In additional to being selected as the national queen, Monica also earned the Oratory Award in this year’s pageant. Monica is truly honored to be selected as Miss Czech-Slovak US 2022-2023 and views this title as an opportunity to educate, serve, and connect our communities across the United States and abroad. She looks forward to traveling the country, learning from others, hearing stories from older generations and inspiring younger generations to engage with their Czech and Slovak heritage. She is incredibly grateful for all pageant sponsors, including her primary sponsor, the Miss Czech-Slovak Missouri organization. She is thrilled for the year ahead and excited to experience all that this year has to offer!