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Ester Sampson

Ester Sampson’s husband, Chris, sometimes lovingly tells her, “You think too much.”

“And maybe I do,” she says. “I always need to see a deep meaning in things.” That need led Sampson, a native of France with roots in Malta and Italy, to become a lyric singer, a mathematician, a new wife to an American husband, and a doctoral student in the McKay School’s Department of Educational Inquiry, Measurement, and Evaluation.

It also led her to compete as Mrs. France in the Mrs. Universe International competition in Las Vegas this past summer. At the competition, Sampson—a lifelong member of the Church whose parents met in patron housing at the Swiss temple—worked to showcase her values and celebrate both her faith and what she calls “natural” beauty: “Being happy and working out—it all makes you glow and makes you look your best.”

Ester Sampson

Sampson grew up in Belfort, an ancient city tucked in a corner of eastern France near both the German and Swiss borders. With an Italian father and French mother, she holds dual French/Italian citizenship, served a mission in Italy, and is deeply grateful for the foundation of faith that her parents, both raised Catholic, shared with her.

“I don’t know if people know how blessed they are when they are five and six and more generations into the Church,” Sampson says. “There are a lot of things I don’t have to struggle
with because my parents, in their conversion, gave me that foundation.”

In her early 30s, Sampson felt inspired to study at BYU—both to gain knowledge and,just maybe, find a spouse. She met Chris Sampson while teaching Sunday School and calls him the calm in her storms of overthinking, “Latin drama,” and existential questions. They married in September 2022 in the Provo temple, just as Sampson was gearing up to be a pageant queen for the first time in her life.

Though she did not win the highest title, Sampson received both Mrs. Congeniality Universe International 2023 and Mrs. Premier World 2024 awards at the pageant, then returned to writing her dissertation.

“When you do maths, it’s wonderful: you have a pencil and a piece of paper and you enter into that space that a lot of people call abstract,” she says. “But to me, you really go into the depths of yourself and understand better the part of you that explores truths."

Photos Courtesy of Ester Sampson