However, when husband Dale developed 100 percent blockage in three arteries leading to his heart despite being a two-time Ironman competitor, she decided to try to bring attention to heart disease in a way with which she was familiar.
Yake, 30, won the Mrs. Georgia International pageant in April and finished in the top 10 in the national pageant in Chicago in July.
“When you have the title of Mrs. Georgia behind you, it does wonders,” said Mrs. Yake, referring to her work to raise awareness of the need for statewide education about the signs of heart disease in both men and women.
The Alabama native competed in the Miss Alabama pageant while in college. She said she entered Mrs. International to help bring attention to the work of the American Heart Association. Her platform was titled “Healthy Moms = Healthy Families.”
“I entered only because I had a platform,” she said.
Yake’s physician discovered the blockage in blood flow to his heart as he worked on his third Ironman competition — a mix of bicycling, swimming and running. Dale, who was a vegetarian but whose family had a history of heart disease, now has three stents working to keep his heart healthy.
The CEO of PT Solutions now is a spokesperson for the Georgia Department of Health, advocating cardiovascular health, Mrs. Yake said.
“He does it all from evidence-based research,” she said.
She recently has been working with Atlanta-area Girl Scouts to develop a badge for girls to raise awareness of heart health. It is associated with the Heart Association’s Circle of Red effort dedicated to fighting heart disease among women.
Yake supports such groups as Fit Momz and Fit Girlz, which works in area schools to show the need for fitness among young people. She noted studies showed 60 percent of Georgia youth were found to be overweight.
“I wanted to raise awareness,” she recalled. “I struggled with my weight as a young girl. I knew something needed to be done.”
The Mrs. International pageant showcases married women 21 to 56 years old, according to the pageant web site. However, Yake said losing the national pageant to Mrs. Minnesota International, Sarah Bazey, did not sour her on the process.
“It was absolutely wonderful,” she recalled. “The national stage was great. It’s not based purely on beauty … it’s someone who also has intelligence.”
Many of the contestants also were business owners, she noted.
“It was very strong women of character ... and faith, and women committed to marriage,” Yake said.
She also noted that, contrary to some popular misconceptions, pageants encourage academic achievement — many offer scholarships as prizes.
“It does a lot for some girls’ self-esteem,” she said.
Yake is the daughter of an Alabama preacher and coal miner. She grew up in the northwest Alabama town of Brilliant. In her youth, she traveled the South as part of a Southern Gospel music singing trio with her mother and brother.
She went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Judson College in Alabama and her Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
She has worked with a variety of causes, including being the founder of Race Because, which raises funds for the medical needs of families with special needs children, among other things. She also has organized three races that have netted about $30,000 for a variety of childhood needs.
Yake also has been an Arthritis Foundation ambassador to Capitol Hill, advocating for the passage of bills for funding of arthritis research and preventative care.
She has been married for six years to Dale Yake, who is owner and CEO of PT Solutions Physical Therapy — which operates in Hiram, Acworth, Douglasville, Cartersville and 40 locations nationwide — and PTS Sports.
They have a 2-year-old child and two children from Dale’s previous marriage.
Emily sings in the praise band at Sanctuary church in Acworth. She is also a triathlete, marathon runner and competes in destination races.