You competed at the Miss Michigan Teen USA Contest. What inspired you to walk on the course of beauty pageants?
Having the opportunity to compete for Miss Michigan Teen USA is a dream come true! I entered my first pageant when I was 13 years old, (I am now 18) and it has given me the opportunity to make friends and connections with so many great people in the industry. Best of all, it has given me a voice. Growing up, I was extremely shy, and pageantry has given me the confidence to share my story with so many amazing women across the country. As a preteen and even into my teen years, I struggled with my self-esteem and body confidence. Pageantry has helped me to overcome my adversity by encouraging me to be confident in my own skin and to be the best version of myself. That is exactly the message I want to get across as Miss Michigan Teen USA.
By Georgina Vaughan Photography
What would you advise any young girl out there who has a dream of being a queen one day?
Go after your dreams and never give up! Work hard, and then work even harder! There have been so many times I have felt extremely discouraged after a pageant, despite going into it feeling 110% prepared. It has helped me learn that sometimes it’s just not your weekend. You can do everything right, and still not bring home the crown, and that’s ok. Because even if you don’t win, you learn. If this is truly your dream, then keep going. I’ve been that girl multiple times, year after year, standing on the sidelines watching another girls’ dream come true. But don’t worry, because your time will come. Trust that there is a greater plan in the works. And for those who are new to pageantry, know yourself! It is so easy to get caught up in being who you think the judges want or trying to imitate a former titleholder. Stand strong, and stay true to you, because at the end of the day, what wins is confidence. Not a copycat version of someone else. You’ll stand out being the very best version of YOU!
Many misses have said that their dream since a child was to participate in a pageant as prestigious as Miss World (or Miss Universe). Is it your case? And if so, why?
Pageants weren’t something I thought about a lot until a few years ago, and even then I was not seriously interested in the Miss Universe Organization until about 2 years ago. Being Miss Universe is definitely one of my wildest dreams. I have been fortunate enough to have been able to compete for Miss Michigan Teen USA for the past 3 years. It is a stepping stone to Miss Teen USA, and essentially a stepping stone to Miss Universe if you continue to compete past your teen years, which I plan to do. Besides the glitz and glamour and getting to travel all over the world, being Miss Universe would give me the opportunity to speak about my platform to children and teens all over the world. In the coming years, I plan to continue competing for my states’ USA pageant in the hopes of becoming Miss USA, and one day Miss Universe.
Your favorite beauty queen?
My favorite beauty queen would have to be Miss Teen USA 2012, Logan West. Not only is she not your typical “beauty queen,” but she is a huge inspiration to me not only in pageantry but in life. Her nonprofit, Empower U Inc., was created to build confidence in girls in a world that is constantly tearing them down. During her workshops, which are held all over the country, she talks about important issues like bullying and teaches girls the importance of being confident and appreciating their own inner beauty. As a victim of social media pressure myself, I believe this a very important message to spread, and it is the one that I want to raise awareness for through my music and as a titleholder.