American Heart Month takes place every February to raise awareness for cardiovascular health. Heart disease is responsible for one in every four deaths and is the worldwide leading cause of death. Every year, it kills more people than all forms of cancer combined.

Rebekah Newton, who'll be competing for the crown of Miss Alabama USA, hopes to make a difference by being a role model to the younger generation, especially our younger girls, who have so few role models to look up to. Rebekah's goal is to raise awareness about her project Mend My Broken Heart - " I would love to sponsor those who cannot afford heart checks to get them. One of the reasons I love pageantry is because it can open the door for women to make a difference in the world in so many ways. Therefore, if I have the privilege of being Miss Alabama USA 2018, any doors opened for me I would gladly walk through" - she explained.

She started the project because her father suffered a heart attack this summer - "I love turning bad things around and turning them into something good."

If she wins the crown she will have the opportunity to represent her state in Miss USA 2018. Alabama is one of the more successful and (recently) consistent states at Miss USA. Although they have had a number of runners-up, finalists, and semi-finalists, they have only had one Miss USA! The current Miss Alabama USA titleholder is Baylee Smith from Tuscaloosa.

I had the opportunity to interview Rebekah on her preparation for the Miss Alabama USA Contest. Lets know a little more about this beautiful woman through this interview!

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Words have an incredible power to move us, and as a result, effective storytelling can change the world. Things have changed a lot since then, with technology broadening journalism’s scope and nature. But no matter how much today’s media focuses on celebrities and trends, journalism is still paramount to truly understanding the world and humanity.

Taralynn Asack, who'll be competing for the crown of Miss Massachusetts USA, has had a passion for journalism and storytelling her whole life. When she was younger she would see journalists like Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric, Barbara Walters and wants to grow up to be just like them with their amazing journalism careers - "Becoming an anchor is a true goal of mine because they are responsible to educate others to the issues that continuously change and shape the world" - she explained.

She  was one of the first women to sideline report at her university amongst a broadcast team full of men - "I crafted my style of reporting during those years and knew then that I would never give up until I reached my goal of being an anchor. I am enrolled to attend go back to school in the summer to obtain my Masters in Journalism." 

If she wins the crown Taralynn will have the opportunity to represent her state in Miss USA 2018. Lets know a little more about her through this interview!

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Around 85% of young girls don’t feel very positive about themselves. And since the advent of social media, this number might just be on the rise. But how is low self-esteem and depression linked to social media?

We live in a culture where we are constantly bombarded by images and messages from the media about beauty. Models have progressively become skinnier throughout the decades. Gone are the days where Marilyn Monroe’s body is the ideal. Now teenage girls may feel pressured to look a certain way that may not be healthy.

Journee Clayton, a 18-year-old beauty queen from Michigan, is working on creating her own music program, with the goal of building confidence in children and teens through music - " My goal is to share my own experiences with peer pressure, body image, and social media to encourage today’s youth to stay true to themselves. I hope that I can make a difference with, or without a crown. Many girls believe that you need a crown to make a difference, but it all starts with you" - she explained.

Music is her passion. A few years ago she had the opportunity to volunteer at a summer camp where she was able to work with kids who had come from troubled homes or had mental disabilities - "Many of those children were bullied in school and struggled with their self-esteem. There, I was able to speak with those kids about the importance of being confident."

As a singer-songwriter, most of her music is about being true to yourself - "Kids today face so much pressure from the media and other outlets to dress a certain way and act a certain way. I too fell a victim of their trap. That is my inspiration behind my music. It is my goal for my music to reach a wider audience around the world."

Lets know a little more about the beautiful Journee through this interview!

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Self confidence, contrary to popular belief, isn’t always bestowed at birth; it can be learned. Have you ever seen a child taking their first faltering steps? Despite falling down a thousand times, within a short space of time they are walking all over the place, then running, dancing and jumping. In the same way we can build a set of skills that enable us to feel better about ourselves.

The beautiful Atalecia Anderson, who'll be competing for the crown of Miss Georgia USA 2018 in a few weeks, has learned to represent herself as a confident and strong woman, and she would like to encourage young girls to follow their dreams - "There is nothing in this world that is out of your reach. If you put your mind to it you can achieve anything, especially the crown!"

 "When I was younger I've always felt beautiful on the inside and I've carried that confidence throughout the duration of my life! My nickname is "Addy" and I've always compared myself to Addy Walker the American Girl Doll. She was brave, smart and beautiful and that's how I've always believed myself to be. I wanted to be just like her! - she explained.

If she wins the crown Atalecia will have the opportunity to represent her state in Miss USA 2018. The current titleholder is DeAnna Johnson of Hazlehurst who was previously a contestant on Season 8 of The Voice. The pageant is directed by Miss Tennessee USA 1989, Kim Greenwood. The state of Georgia has never won the Miss USA Pageant, however they almost won the crown when Emanii Davis and Tiana Griggs made the Top 3 in 2016 and 2014.

I had the opportunity to interview Atalecia on her preparation for the Miss Georgia USA Contest. Lets know a little more about this beautiful woman through this interview!

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Whether it was making a pinch pot, performing in a play or dance recital, or singing in the choir, most of us can remember participating in the arts during our school years. But arts education doesn’t just teach skills to future practitioners of the arts. It teaches children the creativity, collaboration, and criti- cal thinking skills needed to succeed in the 21st century.

Amani Jaramoga, who'll be competing for the crown of Miss New York USA, plans to open her own performance art based school in NY. She's currently in the process of developing a curriculum that will be taught within her school and it will be an alternative to STEM education one that caters to education in the arts. The curriculum is called, "MAPS" which stands for Music, Art, Performance and Screen -  "It will serve as the "map" for young creatives to explore their potential and perform at the highest level possible in their discipline. Ursula K. Le Guin once said, "The creative adult is the child who has survived". I will not only make sure that the child survives, I will make sure that the child thrives" - she explained.

If she wins the crown of Miss New York USA Amani will have the opportunity to represent her state in Miss USA 2018. If Shanna Moakler is counted, New York has the third (equal) highest number of Miss USA victories. They also have the third highest number of semi-finalist (or better) placings (33).

I had the opportunity to interview Amani on her preparation for the Miss NY USA Contest. Lets know a little more about this beautiful and inspiring woman through this interview!

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Her parents come from Trinidad & Tobago a dual-island nation in the southern Caribbean, located a mere 7 miles off the coast of Venezuela. The gorgeous Ariana Gibbons, who'll be competing in the 2018 Miss Massachusetts USA Contest, is proud to be able to call herself a Multicultural American Girl - "What makes me unique is my background and culture. My parents are from Trinidad & Tobago and I have ancestry from India. I’ve lived in Boston my whole life (Jamaica Plain to be exact), and have grown up always making the best of every opportunity given to me, even if the circumstances weren’t the greatest" - she explained.

Ariana has never let life’s “road blocks” get in her way of success and that’s something she would love to instill in all young women, especially those who grew up similar to her - "I’ve learned a lot of skills through my successes and mistakes, and I’d love nothing more than to teach these skills and empower the young women in my city and beyond."

I had the opportunity to interview her a few weeks before the Miss Massachusetts USA Pageant. If she wins the crown she'll have the opportunity to represent her state in Miss USA 2018.

Whilst Massachusetts is not one of the more successful states in terms of number of placements or semi-finalists, their fortunes were improved in recent years when Shawnae Jebbia was crowned Miss USA in 1998 and Susie Castillo won the crown in 2003. Both Miss USA winners from Massachusetts were asked the same final question during the live telecasts.

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If you’ve been working hard to lose weight and adopt a healthy lifestyle, you probably know how difficult that can be, and how important it is to have the support and help of others who are doing the same thing. You’ve probably been inspired by someone else’s success, gotten some important advice, or found a sympathetic listener just at the precise moment when, otherwise, you might have given up.

The gorgeous Bre L'Estrange, who'll be competing for the crown of Miss Colorado USA, wants to encourage people to lead a healthier lifestyle and stay inspired in all aspects of their life. She has recently become a certified Barre Instructor which focuses on teaching pilates, ballet, and yoga - "Living a healthy lifestyle is what I love to do but for the past month all the way up until Miss Colorado I will be what is called counting my macros. I eat 5 times a day and it all consist of a proportional balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fats. I have teamed up with an amazing trainer 4-5 times a week to do fast-paced low cardio workouts that really challenge me and get my body into shape. Now, of course, drinking lots of water, good nights rest, and practice makes perfect is a huge factor in preparation" - she explained.

In her personal preparation for Miss Colorado USA she prepares for all aspects of mind, body, and soul - "To feel completely confident going into pageant weekend you have to feel confident in all parts of yourself."

If she wins the crown Bre will have the opportunity to represent her state in Miss USA 2018. Colorado has been one of the less successful states at Miss USA, having not had a finalist since 1963 until Jessica Hartman finished third runner-up in 2010. They have, however been successful with other awards, being one of only four states to have been awarded Miss Photogenic twice.

I had the opportunity to interview Bre on her preparation for the Miss Colorado USA Contest. Lets know a little more about this beautiful and inspiring woman through this interview!

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