You won the title of Teen Universe United States 2018, what does it entail?
Teen Universe United States is a fairly new pageant system here in the USA. Its mission statement is “Beautiful Teenagers Making a Difference.” This system is looking for teenagers that are active in their communities and that are also key role models to the youth. This is the official preliminary national pageant in the United States to the international pageant, Teen Universe, which will be held in Managua, Nicaragua this February!
I have the pleasure of traveling to this beautiful country to compete for the Teen Universe crown! Alongside me is my sister queen Kristian De Leon, Teen Universe U.S.A Latina, who will also be competing for the crown.
What inspired you to walk on the course of beauty pageants?
I have always wanted to participate in beauty pageants since I was a little girl. However, being the middle child of five, I realized even then how expensive it would be to pursue it. I didn’t want there to be an uneven or unfair amount of money, or time, spent solely on me and my new budding interest in beauty pageants.
So, I left it alone for a few more years until I received a brochure in the mail one summer for the Miss Tennessee Teen USA 2017 pageant. I just graduated from high school and was preparing to go to my college, the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee.
I considered the possibility of competing and went ahead and applied online. Next thing I knew, I received a call back for a phone interview! I was then told that I would be a contestant for the pageant! All that I had to do is submit some paperwork and also submit my sponsorship fee. I had such an overwhelming amount of support from my friends, family, and teachers that I raised my sponsorship fee amount in no time! When I finally competed in the pageant, with no formal training whatsoever, I placed Top 15! I was so amped for placing that I didn’t mind that I didn’t win. I was just happy to be there. Being on that stage and meeting the girls from around my state was such an amazing experience that I cherish to this day. From there, I knew that continuing to pursue pageants was what I wanted to do.
What do you expect to gain by competing in pageantry?
By competing in pageantry, I expect to not only gain more experience but to also gain friendships with ladies from all over. In addition, I am expecting to learn from the people I meet, the places I go, and from my own ups and downs. I love to learn. I want to ensure that I can be the best that I can be so that I can be the best role model for children and teens everywhere.
Tell me something about yourself and your work. What do you actually do, and have done in the past?
My name is Taylor Jamison and I am from Nashville, Tennessee. I graduated from my alma mater, Antioch High School, in 2016 with honors. I was involved in AP courses, the AVID program, a program designed for college and post-secondary preparation, student government, Dance Ensemble, the yearbook committee, National Honor Society, NSHSS (National Society for High School Scholars), and the 21 and Up Club, a club designed to commend ACT scores that were 21 and above.
I was also chosen to represent my senior class on the Homecoming Court. Outside of school, I worked at Jet’s Pizza for three years to pay for college application fees and other hobbies I pursued.I am a 19-year-old second-year student at the University of Tennessee. I was on track to study Studio Art with a minor in Art Education, but I have been contemplating whether or not to change my major to Interior Architecture or to something else entirely. College has definitely been a whirlwind and is constantly pushing me to explore even more of myself and my interests. At the university, I was thoroughly interested in my astronomy courses and signed up to be a part of the astronomy club. Additionally, I am a member of the Italian Club, the Yoga Club, and I AM THAT GIRL which focuses on supporting and inspiring ladies to love oneself, to express oneself, and to be oneself.
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 this your case? And if so, why?
This is somewhat the case for me as well. Primarily, before I actually knew what pageantry was, I was focused on the idea of becoming a model. I have always wanted to model wonderful clothing from famous designers and to be on television. When I was actually cognitive of pageant like Miss USA and Miss Universe, my interest began to develop. I was so fascinated by the beautiful gowns, national costumes, and beautiful women. However, I was just as equally petrified of having to answer on-stage questions like the beauties on TV had to. I never would have thought that I would be doing the same thing one day!
Social media seems to play a major role in pageantry nowadays. Do you think this is advantageous to you? Why or why not?
I do believe that social media is advantageous to me because it allows me to communicate and network with not only individuals around my nation but also around the world. It has also been able to provide me with a net of supporters that I may have otherwise not connected with. It has also brought me into contact with you, Miss Louise, so that I could do this interview with you!
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?
I think that I will make a difference by inspiring young girls that it is possible to follow your dreams and succeed through hard work and perseverance. This may also be seen as stereotypical, but I honestly believe that this needs to be addressed. Not everything will come easy. I think it is very easy to succumb to one’s insecurities and decide to not pursue something that one’s heart is set on if it seems impossible to do. It’s also very easy to downplay one’s strengths by comparing oneself to someone who is seen as stronger. I believe that anything is possible if you put your mind and heart to it. Even if the odds are not in your favor, be the one to break the mold.
What would you advise any young girl out there who has a dream of being a queen one day?
I advise all of the young girls out there with the dream of being a queen to try hard, be kind, and own those insecurities. As I stated in my previous response, it is super easy to be deterred from something because of feeling insecure or from comparing oneself to someone else. Something that you may feel insecure about, someone else may love. You are perfect how you are. The more comfortable you are with yourself, the more you can conquer. I also advise everyone to just try. Put in as much effort as you possibly can into something. If you fail, that’s okay! Failing is what makes you stronger. Don’t be afraid of failure. Don’t be afraid of bettering yourself. To all of my aspiring queens, you are limitless. You are strong. You are beautiful.
Who is your ideal beauty queen and why?
Although I feel that all beauty queens are ideal and inspirational, I would have to choose Pia Wurtzbach as my ideal beauty queen. Similarly to me, she was fairly new to pageantry when she won the Miss Universe title! She tried three times to win her Miss Philippines title. That amount of perseverance is so inspiring to me. She is also very beautiful and is so effortless on stage! She is definitely a Queen that I will always look up to.
Thanks to the beautiful Taylor for the interview. Pageants News wishes you all the very best for Teen Universe pageant.