What do you expect to gain by competing in pageantry?
When I first starts to compete in pageants I never knew the wide variety of skills and experience I would learn. Through my time I have gained more confidence in myself and what I do. I have learned how to dress appropriately to match the event I am attending, how to present myself in the public eye, how to speak in front of many as well as in an interview setting, all being skills that will help you further yourself in an everyday setting. Most importantly for me I was able to turn my passion for youth volunteerism into a reality. All of the skills I have learned enhance and grow each time I make an appearance and each time I compete for a title.
We’ve all seen the stereotypical portrayals of pageant contestants, a la Miss Congeniality, spreading peace, love and beauty throughout the world. How do you think you'll make a difference ?
With a platform based on engaging the youth into volunteerism this is where I hope and plan to make a difference. Three years ago I paired up with my local Brainerd Lions club to found the Brainerd Leo Club, a youth club focusing on volunteerism in our community. With my title as Miss Teen Brainerd I was able to further this and start a younger club, ROAR, for ages 8-12 to teach them the purpose of volunteerism.
Social media seem to play a major role in pageantry nowadays. Do you think this is advantageous to you? Why or why not?
Personally I have always found it as an advantage. I have been able to use social media as a way to promote my platform and share what I am doing in my community. It has also been used as a motivater, I am able to see what other titleholders are doing in their reign throughout the nation and seeing this motivates me to do more at a local level.
What would you advise any young girl out there who has a dream of being a queen one day?
I advise to find an organization near you or an organization you are interested in and go to a meeting or talk to a titleholder and/or director. Competing in a pageant of any organization will teach you more and is more than just the crown. In the end of the night whether you walk away with a title or not, you will learn skills and meet some unbelievable girls who will change your life. Continue to believe that each and every girl is a queen beyond the physical crown.
Who is your ideal beauty queen and why?
For the last few years Nadia Mejia, Miss California USA 2016, has been my answer to this. As she competed at Miss USA it was at the same time that I was coming to an end of my first title. For me she was a huge inspiration and as I followed her she became a role model for me. She has been able to not only show herself as a model, but also as a titleholder volunteering in her community. Along with this she was able to share her personal story and be an inspiration to many young girls.
Nadia Mejia represented California at the Miss USA 2016 pageant where she was voted Fan Favourite and made the top five. Mejia's open sharing of her body image struggle was praised as a contributing factor for winning the fan favourite vote, however her failed attempt at answering a question about economics during the interview competition was also widely reported in the media.