Miss University of Southern Mississippi
Hometown: Picayune, MS
Platform: Mental Health
Talent: Tap Dance
What college did you attend, or are currently attending? The University of Southern Mississippi
What is your major? Communication Studies/Spanish minor
What is your scholastic ambition? To obtain a Master’s Degree and Doctorate of Education in Higher Education/Student Affairs Administration/ Overseas missionary work in a Spanish-speaking country
List scholastic honors: I am Leadership Scholar at Southern Miss, am a part of 2 Honor Societies, and I was awarded a Tri Delta Academic Award
Greatest non-academic accomplishment: An accomplishment I hold to the highest regard is an award presented to our Tri Delta chapter during my service as Chapter President. The National Office of Tri Delta in conjunction with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital awarded our chapter with being the number one Tri Delta chapter in the nation. This accomplishment taught me that titles and awards are not just extra spots on a resume, but a lifelong reminder of the collective hard work of yourself and your peers that has paid off.
What is your favorite style of music? My mother is a music educator, and I have been in instrumental and vocal training most of my life, so this is a very difficult question for me! I would have to say it is 50/50 between some good ‘ole country music and Broadway music!
What is your favorite movie genre and why? I am a sucker for a good musical! Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music have been my favorite movies since I was a child.
What is your favorite gadget? The Amazon Echo hands down. You can tell “Alexa” to turn off your lights!
What is your favorite blog? I happened upon a blog entitled “Trusty Chucks” blog about two years ago. I have been a faithful subscriber ever since and have even had email correspondence with the writer!
What is your favorite place to visit? I have been extremely fortunate to travel abroad most of my life. My first overseas trip was to Singapore and Malaysia when I was only 1 year old! However, I had the opportunity of studying Spanish in Spain last summer, and I completely fell in love with the people, the culture, and, of course, the food!
What is your favorite food? Any and all variations of cheesecake! I try to deny it, but my love for cheesecake is strong.
If you were on a deserted island, what book would you want with you? One of my favorite books of all time is Roald Dahl’s Matilda. I have read that book over and over, and it never gets old! It would certainly provide some sort of comfort on a deserted island.
Do you twitter? Oh, yes! I have even convinced my mother to “Twitter” too!
What is your favorite?
Sports Team: Texas Rangers (and the Southern Miss Baseball Team, of course!)
Actor: Zac Efron Actress: Sandra Bullock
Television Program: Downton Abbey or Gilmore Girls
Wardrobe Accessory: I cannot go anywhere without a watch on!
Thing to do on a weekend: Gardening! I have recently begun growing my own herbs, so spending time taking care of my plants is both relaxing and tasty once I get to cook with them!
Way to spend a day off: Drinking copious amounts of coffee with a good book in one hand and the television remote in the other – all while never having to move from the couch!!
What is your hometown like? My hometown of Picayune, Mississippi is the ultimate “everybody knows everybody” small town. I was fortunate to grow up in a town full of people who invested in me and poured into me simply because they cared about me and my future.
Picayune fun fact: our City Hall was designed by one of the same designers of The Titanic!
What were you like when you were a child? I am an only child and was raised in a military home, so my childhood was extremely disciplined. However, I was an extremely ambitious child who wanted to try every sport as well as every shade of my mother’s lipstick. My parents constantly encouraged me to pursue any and all ambitions I had.
Who is the most influential person in your life? My answer to this question for as long as I can remember has always been my grandfather. He has been a steadfast supporter, an advice-deliverer, and an avid reminder of what it looks like to hold Christ as number 1 in life since I was a child.
What is the one thing about you that people you meet may not immediately realize? That I have struggles too. I remember even in junior high that my peers assumed I had an extremely smooth and easy-going life. It is just a reminder that you never know what someone is going through. Never jump to conclusions and always lend a smile.
Describe one defining moment in your own life, other than winning your local title: My first summer mission trip to Africa in the summer of 2013 has defined my life in more than ways than I imagined at the time. I have now been back to that same place four times and am looking forward to the fifth when I get to reunite with friends, old and new.
What is one important thing you have learned from being in the Miss America Program? Becoming a better version of yourself is inevitable. Not only is it inevitable with participation in this organization, but it is a process. It is a process that you have to believe and trust in that it is ongoing and not immediate.
If you are crowned Miss Mississippi, what do you want to accomplish during your Year of Service? My platform, mental health, is so important to me because it is something I personally experience on a daily basis. If I am crowned Mississippi’s 60th Miss Mississippi, I will strive to never speak “at” a group of people, but speak “with” them. I hope to convey my passion for my platform through personal stories and accounts of my experience on my journey with mental health.
What is your secret wish or dream? Out of all of the crazy and elaborate wishes and/or dreams I have ever had, the most prominent in my mind is the immense desire I have for every child I have ever encountered during my trips to Africa to experience a quality education.
I’m motivated by: Expectations. Whether this be my own expectations for myself, or others’ expectations of me, I am extremely motivated by what others or I perceive as the end goal in any situation.
Is there a personal connection that made you pick your personal platform? When I was diagnosed with a mental illness, my immediate reaction was to hide it. I was far too embarrassed to share with anyone, even my family, that I was struggling with a mental illness. When I learned that I was one of the 41% of Americans living with a mental illness who weren’t seeking help for the same reasons, I knew I had to accept vulnerability, and address the stigma and perception of mental illness in any way that I could.
What do you think has been the most significant event in your lifetime? Very plainly, I have to say college. Looking back on my undergraduate career, I realize that the personal growth I experienced was not influenced or encouraged by anyone other than myself. College is a time when we are not only finding out who we are, but we are doing it all on our own. The significance that college has had on my future is innumerable.
The one thing I can’t live without: Requiring no thought whatsoever……coffee.
My best friend would describe me as: Ambitious, determined, motivated, disciplined yet easy going, and loyal.
Something interesting about my family: I have to say, my family at Christmas time has the best 8-part harmonies Christmas carols have ever seen. Auditions only.
Funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to me: Have you ever let your ambition get the best of you? Me too. I decided that I was the perfect person to run the hurdles at our track meet one week in high school, when I was suddenly informed by every single hurdle I attempted to hop that I was not in fact going to be the hurdle superstar that year. Nor would I be the MVP….
One thing I’d like to try that is out of character for me: I have always wanted to do something outlandish with my hair color! Maybe a pink or blue or grey…. I have always wanted do it, but have always been too scared I wouldn’t pull it off! Okay okay, and of course scared of my mother’s and grandmother’s reactions too.
Do you have any pets? If so, what kind and tell us their names: I have had my dog Sadie since the 5th grade. We got her when she was just two weeks old and had to bottle feed her for the longest time! I also used to think that a pet dolphin would be acceptable, but then I graduated high school and became far too mature for that silly mindset…