You will represent Minnesota in the Miss United States Pageant, how will you prepare the contest? What unique characteristics would you say you bring to the competition?
I am blessed to have support from not only my friends, family, and state directors but also from around the country. I will continue to use the support I have received to fuel my purpose. I believe that bringing my true and best self is the most unique characteristic about me in and outside of pageantry. I am proud to be so passionate about my platform in a personal and professional realm. I am also a national print and promotional model who managed to graduate not only with honors but also two years ahead of schedule. My drive, passion, and compassion are what will continue to set me apart.
What do you expect to gain by competing in pageantry?
In my opinion the best thing a girl can gain by competing in pageants is a stronger understanding of one’s self. Competing in pageants allows you to physically and socially put your best foot forward to the world. Win or loose I believe you gain so much knowledge about the woman you are and who you want to become.
Tell me something about yourself and your work. What do you actually do, and have done in the past?
I was a hair dresser for ten years both in my home state and in Chicago, Illinois for a total of almost ten years. After learning a lot about myself I switched careers. I am currently finishing my bachelor’s degree in psychology and will begin my graduate program this fall in Mental Health Counseling where I plan to work with adolescents. I currently work in a day treatment facility in which I aid in therapy for pre-adolescent children who suffer from severe emotional/ behavioral disorders.
Social media seem to play a major role in pageantry nowadays. Do you think this is advantageous to you? Why or why not?
I see both sides of this question, but I have to say that for me I only see the positives of social media. It has allowed me to further my voice surrounding my platform and connect with people all over the world. To use a forum where thousands of people are watching and listening to you can be scary, but it has made my voice that much stronger to raise awareness for mental illness and depression.
Did you face any moment of disappointment with yourself during the pageant journey, and how did you overcome it?
Absolutely. This year (2018) was my third year to compete for the Miss Minnesota United States title. After placing runner up last year (2017) I was crushed. I took some time to regroup and brought myself back to the same stage the next year. I knew in my heart I could make such an impact on my community, my state and hopefully the country with the support of the United States organization. Instead of focusing on the disappointment I had felt, I chose to take what I had learned and moved forward. I never once looked back at the previous years of competition and focused on the bigger purpose I have. Walking away this year with the title still has me on cloud nine. Hard work and dedication do pay off if you continue to stay true to yourself and trust the process.
What would you advise any young girl out there who has a dream of being a queen one day?
I would say go for it! Pageantry is such unique experience in which young women learn incredible skills they will use the entirety of their life. First, the ability to utilize interview skills at a young age will greatly benefit these young ladies professionally. I also believe that allowing young girls to hold a platform will allow them not only to express themselves but also promote what it is important to them. Lastly, the connections they will make not only in their communities but with their peers is such a rewarding opportunity that pageantry provides.
Who is your ideal beauty queen and why?
If I look at this question and think of an actual individual I would say Michelle Obama. She is certainly a woman I look up too in many respects. First, the support of her husband and family during Barack Obama’s candidacy did not go unnoticed. She stood by his side and ensured her children were well taken care of. Second, she was a woman who used her title as first lady to do good in the world. She was passionate about spreading her message surrounding poverty and education. She also was a woman who was always impeccably dressed! Her dedication to family, her passion and relatability in addition to her style makes her my ideal beauty queen.
Thanks to the beautiful Mandy for the interview. Pageants News wishes you all the very best for Miss United States pageant.