Hometown: Brandon, MS
Platform: Operation SOS: Save Our Servicemen
Talent: Singing/Blue Skies- Etta James
What college did you attend, or are currently attending? The University of Mississippi
What is your major? Broadcast Journalism/ physical therapy track
What is your scholastic ambition? Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, physical therapy school
List scholastic honors: Freedom Alliance Scholarship recipient, Northwest Rankin Hall of Fame, Ole Miss Academic Scholar Recipient
Greatest non-academic accomplishment: I received the Youth Leadership Jackson award
What is your favorite style of music? R&B
What is your favorite movie genre and why? I love comedy; as cliché as it sounds, laughter will always be the best medicine for the soul.
What is your favorite gadget? My iPad = Grey’s Anatomy on the go!
What is your favorite blog? Uncopiedlife.blogspot.com
What is your favorite place to visit? Las Vegas, Nevada
What is your favorite food? Anything on pasta covered in alfredo
If you were on a deserted island, what book would you want with you? The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison is my favorite.
Do you twitter? I do twitter, @see_joy_smile; it doesn’t get much use but it’s there nonetheless.
What is your favorite?
Sport: Basketball Sports Team: Chicago Bulls
Actor: Idris Elba Actress: Lisa Bonet
Television Program: The Cosby Show
Wardrobe Accessory: A nice watch
Thing to do on a weekend: Biking trips with my bestie Zak are always my favorite
Way to spend a day off: Binge watching my favorite movies
What is your hometown like? Brandon, MS is a vastly expanding city. We moved here to only four major roads, six stoplights and a Walgreens. My town is now home to the expanding Dogwood Festival mall and one of the highest ranking 6A sports programs in the state. I remember being thankful to finally have a Walmart. Sixteen years later, the growth is mind-blowing.
What were you like when you were a child? I was talkative and inquisitive, but also quite friendly. I could hold a full conversation by 14 months. I’ve heard so many stories about myself shocking adults by being able to read, dress myself, and hold adult conversations so young. I think I was mostly known for my memorizing full song lyrics and telling jokes that I had learned from my grandpa.
Who is the most influential person in your life? My mother bounced back so quickly from the cards life served her with my father’s disability and raised me as a single mother while completing her doctoral degree and opening a business simultaneously. Dr. Addison-Ross is my hero.
What is the one thing about you that people you meet may not immediately realize? I am very easy-going. I stay quite organized but I love a good night of laughter with my friends. I think people always see the girl that is “about her business” but my closest of friends know that I love a good break from seriousness.
Describe one defining moment in your own life, other than winning your local title: Receiving my Freedom Alliance scholarship gave me a sense of notability. I felt that my hard work in high school was finally rewarded in a way that helped me to give my parents relief. Also, for once, my father’s disability was not only being recognized, but also compensated.
What is one important thing you have learned from being in the Miss America Program? Individuality and confidence are the most important tools a girl can carry with her. It is so easy in everyday life for females to feel the need to compare themselves to the next person but this program has taught me that our talents, style, and personal accomplishments distinguish us and give us a reason not to feel the need to fit in, but to stand out as much as possible. The end goal of competition is to show why our particular individuality makes us special. This, in itself, brings such confidence.
If you are crowned Miss Mississippi, what do you want to accomplish during your Year of Service? My greatest accomplishment as Miss Mississippi would be making strides in the world of veteran services. I feel that this is an area that is overlooked and from personal experience, the transition for servicemen into civilian life is most difficult. Easing this difficulty for many dependents would be one of my proudest accomplishments.
What is your secret wish or dream? I have always secretly wanted to be a celebrity reporter on E! News.
I’m motivated by: I have always been a firm believer than failure and rejection are the best motivational factors. It is important to remember that failure isn’t fatal, and the only real loss is not learning from times when success wasn’t obtained.
Is there a personal connection that made you pick your personal platform? Yes. My father fought in 3 combat terms and finally returned home 90% disabled in 2007. I was always puzzled by this as a child because I saw no physical disabilities. I later learned that my dad was “shell shocked” and had developed severe Post-traumatic stress disorder due to the events he witnessed during war. This caused many problems as I have grown through life, including separation from my father as he endured therapy and rehabilitation for his war wounds, as well as a condition that has not seen much improvement. As I reflect the severity of our situation, I understand that the most important but most absent factor was support and education about PTSD, one of the most common war injuries to date.
What do you think has been the most significant event in your lifetime? My father’s injury has been the most significant event in my lifetime. This changed my view on life drastically. I was always so hopeful for exactly what I wanted, the way that I wanted it. However, my father’s war wounds taught me that life doesn’t always give us the most beautiful circumstances, but we have to see the beauty in exactly what we are given.
The one thing I can’t live without: My bible. Any time I need an answer, it’s there.
My best friend would describe me as: I think I would be described as the responsible friend who always has advice about taking life as it comes. Also the friend who tells you the truth about situations no matter what and will always remind you just to breathe.
Something interesting about my family: Both of my grandmothers are twins. This is interesting to me because I’m so used to seeing younger twins, but seeing two people who entered this world together and have still managed not to leave each other’s side after 60+ years warms my heart.
Funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to me: On my second day of college I stumbled into a lecture hall, late for class. I knew that my parents cared about attendance so I tried to scan into the class and the scanner let out a loud “beep” of rejection. The entire class laughed because only a freshman would’ve tried to scan into a class after the grace period of five minutes. As I was walking to find a seat, I tripped going up the stairs and as the class laughed again, I just slid into the seat nearest to me and tried to act as if nothing had happened. As soon as I set my bookbag down the teacher says “I’m glad my class is special enough not to miss, but after being so late, sometimes you just gotta turn on the Netflix and chill. “I’ll see you next week. Enjoy your weekend.” I laughed it off and the following Monday he saw me heading to his class extremely early and stopped me and said “Maybe Netflix next week, huh?” Only the freshmen with less determination to be “great” can make this stuff up. (lol)
One thing I’d like to try that is out of character for me: Deep-sea scuba diving. I am very organized and run my life from my planner. Needless to say, I am always in control I have heard that with deep sea diving, once below a certain point of sea level, you aren’t even in control of the simplest things such as your breathing. This would be an interesting experience for me. For once, I would be forced to not be in control and just “let go.”
Do you have any pets? If so, what kind and tell us their names: I have one miniature dachshund named Sunny that knows all of my secrets. He’s seen the undisclosed tears and the smiles for 12 long years and always assures it’s a smile in the end.