Miss Pine Belt
Hometown: Ocean Springs, MS
Platform: People Advocating Language Skills (P.A.L.S.)
What college did you attend, or are currently attending? The University of Mississippi
What is your major? International Studies and French, Minor in Chemistry
What is your scholastic ambition? To become a physician and global health advocate
List scholastic honors: The University of Mississippi Hall of Fame 2015-2016, Phi Beta Kappa, Taylor Medalist, Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges, Phi Kappa Phi, Bancroft Award for Outstanding Public Service and Academic Achievement, Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College graduate, Croft Institute for International Studies graduate, Pi Delta Phi French Honors Society, 2015 University of Mississippi Excellence in French Award, Chancellor’s List, B.A. Rudolph Foundation STEM Scholar, Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine 2014 Summer Scholar, Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College Honors Fellowship Award for Study Abroad at The University of Fribourg, Switzerland, Honors Societies of Alpha Epsilon Delta, Alpha Lambda Delta, Phi Eta Sigma, and Gamma Beta Phi, Organic Chemistry Recitation Leader
Greatest non-academic accomplishment: Greek Woman of the Year, 2016
What is your favorite style of music? As a music lover, it is difficult to pick one specific style of music that I would deem my favorite. I have an eclectic music taste, ranging from classical to pop to jazz.
What is your favorite movie genre and why? I love movie musicals, especially those from the 1950s. Their lighthearted air and infectious tunes bring a smile to my face regardless of my mood.
What is your favorite gadget? Aside from my major electronics, my favorite daily gadget is my coffee pot. There’s nothing like the smell of a fresh-brewed cup of Joe to start off the daily grind.
What is your favorite blog? I love reading travel blogs, filled with wanderlust and adventure. They engage my curiosity and make me want to see more of the world.
What is your favorite place to visit? My grandparents’ home in the mountains of North Carolina is one of my favorite places to go. Not only is it full of waterfalls and forests, but it also represents some of my most cherished childhood memories filled with family, making it even more special to me.
What is your favorite food? Since childhood, I could never resist a warm bowl of minestrone soup!
If you were on a deserted island, what book would you want with you? The book that gives me strength, guidance, and hope is the Holy Bible. Through desolate times in life, the Word of our Lord gives me the courage to keep living for the greater good.
Do you twitter? #yes
What is your favorite?
Sport: I love to dance! Ballet, Zumba, swing dancing – you name it, I’ll try it!
Sports Team: Ole Miss Rebels, of course!
Actor: Jimmy Stewart Actress: Audrey Hepburn
Television Program: Sherlock
Wardrobe Accessory: Earrings – they add a little bedazzle to any wardrobe
Thing to do on a weekend: Start the morning off at Big Bad Breakfast in Oxford, MS, take a casual stroll or a pensive run along Whirlpool Trails, and sing hymns at church on Sunday
Way to spend a day off: Enjoy nature, take a long walk or hike, spend time with family and friends, and have a rejuvenating, engaging, and laughter-filled conversation over dinner.
What is your hometown like? Ocean Springs is a beautiful, artsy city filled with creative and caring people. Whether watching the sunset over the front beach or sipping a tall glass of sweet tea while strolling along Main Street, you’ll feel blessed in OS!
What were you like when you were a child? I was a very friendly child who loved everything about the outdoors – from petting animals, to planting flowers, to humming tunes as if I were a songbird. As the youngest of three children, I always tried to act more grown up than I actually was and prided myself in holding my own in conversations.
Who is the most influential person in your life? With so many influential individuals in my life who have served to shape who I am today, it is difficult to single out one person who has had the most impact on me. However, I would have to say that my grandmother, Marie B. Eustice is one of those people; the most devout individual I have ever met, with a heart so full of love for everyone she meets and an artist’s eye who sees the beauty in every situation, my grandmother has taught me to be thankful for my blessings daily and to look for the good in any situation, no matter how difficult it may seem.
What is the one thing about you that people you meet may not immediately realize? Because I don’t have a very strong southern accent, many people are surprised when I tell them I was born and raised in Mississippi. Though my accent may not be strong, my roots remain steadfast and anchored to my home state.
Describe one defining moment in your own life, other than winning your local title: The moment I was named in the University of Mississippi 2015-2016 Hall of Fame was an honor that truly left me humbled and speechless. With so many outstanding students named in the Who’s Who Among American Colleges and Universities for the 2015-2016 year, I was completely taken aback when I found out I was chosen to be one of the ten students inducted into the Hall of Fame.
What is one important thing you have learned from being in the Miss America Program? I have learned how to be fully engaged – mind, body, and spirit – with the world around me. The key components of the Miss America program—style, success, service, and scholarship—empower women to live their daily lives focusing on bettering themselves so that they may impact others and shine as role-models.
If you are crowned Miss Mississippi, what do you want to accomplish during your Year of Service? As Miss Mississippi, I want to focus on promoting my platform, People Advocating Language Skills (P.A.L.S), and the Children’s Miracle Network. With a focus on service to our state and as a representative on the national scale, I would serve as a positive role model and show Americans the many benefits of the Miss America Scholarship Program.
What is your secret wish or dream? Well, if I told you it wouldn’t be a secret, now would it?
I’m motivated by: My faith, my unyielding sense of optimism, and my knowledge that I have the ability to change the world.
Is there a personal connection that made you pick your personal platform? Through my experience learning foreign languages throughout my childhood and into college, I have come to realize the plethora of benefits that come as a result of foreign language education. I have observed the tremendous assets of learning a second language in day-to-day experiences—from shadowing a doctor whose patient spoke only Spanish to living in Switzerland and having to embrace my French language skills for basic survival. With an ever-more connected global world, I feel it necessary to advocate for further support for learning foreign languages.
What do you think has been the most significant event in your lifetime? The most significant event in my lifetime has been the advent of new scientific discoveries and medical technologies. From 3-D printing organs using a patient’s cells as ink, to using immunotherapy to combat incurable diseases, to proving the existence of gravitational waves according to Einstein’s theory of relativity, the scientific advancements in my lifetime have been, and continue to be, tremendous leaps for mankind.
The one thing I can’t live without: The one thing I cannot live without is love. Even though we have faith and hope, the greatest of all is love.
My best friend would describe me as: A good listener, a cheerful giver, a culinary queen, and a stylish savant. With an artist’s eye and an explorer’s heart, I live by the phrase “carpe diem” or “seize the day.”
Something interesting about my family: My family is very close. So much so that my mother’s sister and her family and my mother’s brother and his family both live on the same street as my own family. Even further, my grandmother lives only about 5 minutes away! Growing up surrounded by loved ones has given me the chance to grow in grace and follow my dreams with my support group always by my side!
Funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to me: My journey back home after studying abroad in Switzerland would have to take the cake for embarrassing moments in my life. After I discovered that my luggage was about 5 kg overweight, I ended up having to stuff my pillowcase with mugs and clothing. I then proceeded to the security line which must have been a mile long and with only five minutes left to spare, had to run to my gate, while wearing 5 layers of clothing, to be one of the last people to board the flight. Let me tell you, it was a true Christmas miracle!
One thing I’d like to try that is out of character for me: When I went to visit Lauterbrunnen, a small town in the Bernese Oberland region of Switzerland, I noticed multiple people paragliding over the Swiss Alps. Though I wouldn’t describe myself as daring, to see the Swiss Alps from a birds’ eye perspective is something that I would definitely try!
Do you have any pets? If so, what kind and tell us their names: My cousin has a cat named Mia—She’s not technically our own, but her visits over to our house every day, her beauty, and her quirky character make her a family favorite!