What inspired you to walk on the course of beauty pageants?
To be a southern girl, I was definitely a late bloomer in the pageant arena. While other girls have been wearing glitzy dresses since the age of three, I started pageants when I was about thirteen. I was struggling to find out how to fit in and to find what made me beautiful, like most adolescent girls do. During that time, I'd received a letter in the mail that said someone had recommended me to compete in a pageant and I just decided to go for it. However, I had no idea that I would fall in love with something that's so much more than what ordinary people just see as crowns and spray tans.
What do you expect to gain by competing in pageantry?
I've already gained so much from pageantry and that's one of the reasons why I never stopped. I've realized that I have such a passion for serving my community and pageantry actually gave me an even bigger platform to do so; that love for service pageants embedded in me actually was what made me want to join my sorority, Zeta Tau Alpha. Beyond service, I have met so many girls from all over the world with so many different backgrounds and I've made some of my absolute best friends. It's not the cattiness that everybody thinks it is. Pageantry isn't about being judged. It's about building social skills, finding and loving what makes you you, and shaping you into a strong woman who doesn't know what the word quit means.
What would you advise any young girl out there who has a dream of being a queen one day?
I encourage every girl, no matter what age to a pageant at least once. However, the biggest thing that I've told the little girls in my tiny town who want to grow up and wear makeup and walk on a stage to get the big, shiny crown, is that it's not about being queen. It's about wanting to share your heart and soul with others and wanting to encourage other women to understand that they are beautiful regardless of whatever disbelief they have in themselves or whatever struggle they've been through. Before a girl ever does a pageant, she should understand that she's already a queen just by being herself.
Thanks to the beautiful Emilee for the interview. Pageants News wishes you all the very best for Miss South Carolina USA pageant.