Hometown: Meridian, MS
Platform: Hidden Hunger
Talent: Vocal Performance
What college did you attend, or are currently attending? University of Southern Mississippi
What is your major? Music (Vocal Performance)
What is your scholastic ambition? Obtain a masters in music performance
List scholastic honors: Honors College member at the University of Southern Mississippi; Lucky Day Scholar at the University of Southern Mississippi;Mississippi Scholar;Honors graduate at Meridian High School, Girls state/ Girls Nation, Vice President of Junior Civitan
Greatest non-academic accomplishment: I spent 5 months living in Washington DC interning for Congressman Steven Palazzo of Mississippi’s fourth district. I spent one year auditioning on Broadway and getting to experience the entertainment industry in a very up close and personal way which really reinforced my dream to perform on the big stage someday!
What is your favorite style of music? Musical Theatre and classical
What is your favorite movie genre and why? I actually enjoy old classic movies because the musical scores for them are the best in my opinion!
What is your favorite gadget? I don’t go anywhere without a curling iron!
What is your favorite blog? “Words from a Dancing Fool” is a blog my english teacher from high school writes and I love her wise perspective on even the smallest of things.
What is your favorite place to visit? My favorite place to visit is definitely Disney World. My sister actually works there and we are very close so when I visit her we go to all of the parks which is a really great time.
What is your favorite food? My guilty pleasure food is chicken hibachi but lately I have grown fond of grilled chicken and vegetables in its place!
If you were on a deserted island, what book would you want with you? A how to book on escaping deserted islands or novels by Anne Rice.
What is your favorite?
Sports Team: Golden Eagles: Southern Miss To The Top
Actor: Zachary Quinto Actress: Jessica Lange
Television Program: Friends
Wardrobe Accessory: Chinese Laundry shoes are always a must!
Thing to do on a weekend: I always enjoy trying new things on weekends. Living in DC I once took a 3 am train to New York City. I have also taken culinary classes and painting classes.
Way to spend a day off: I don’t mind spending a random snow day reading a book or watching a good movie.
What is your hometown like? Meridian has a lot of rich history. It is so interesting to me that you find out something new or a new place to explore almost every day. For example, the abandoned theme park in the woods near the interstate or that a former Miss America actually graduated from the same high school as me!
What were you like when you were a child? I had a big afro and even bigger dreams! Even though my afro loosened up, I still sing in the shower as if I’m performing at the Met!
Who is the most influential person in your life? My voice teacher, Dr. Yarrington, is one of the more influential people in my life. Not only has he helped me to become a better vocalist and performer, but he has also helped me realize my full potential as well.
What is the one thing about you that people you meet may not immediately realize? Not a lot of people who meet would guess that I am very much into classical music. It is a rare career choice especially in Mississippi which is something that I think is changing with the Mississippi Opera Company being as involved as they are in the youth of our community.
Describe one defining moment in your own life, other than winning your local title: One of the biggest defining moments in my life was seeing my first Broadway musical. I saw “The Lion King”on my eighth birthday and I knew from the moment they sang that first line of “The Circle of Life”that this is what I wanted to be when I grew up. My dreams haven’t changed 12 years later!
What is one important thing you have learned from being in the Miss America Program? I take many valuable lessons from being in the Miss America Program. The program has helped me cultivate my communication skills. It helps me strive to be and stay physically fit. It helps me hone in on my vocal ability and practice putting on a memorable show for an audience member whether it is a 90 second talent or a three hour show. I have also been able to make an impact on the community with my platform Hidden Hunger as being in the Miss America Program opens doors because people are more willing to listen to what I have to say about hunger in our community!
If you are crowned Miss Mississippi, what do you want to accomplish during your Year of Service? I would like to eliminate childhood hunger in the state of Mississippi. Though it seems a large task, by raising awareness and increasing corporate support for programs such as the backpack buddies, I believe we can eradicate childhood hunger or at the very least reduce the alarming numbers by a large percentage.
What is your secret wish or dream? My secret wish was squashed when I didn’t win the 1.5 billion dollar lottery that just passed. Then again, I didn’t buy a ticket but it really would have been nice!
I’m motivated by: Making my family proud. Anyone can agree that having parents that are proud of you is one of the greatest feelings you can have.
Is there a personal connection that made you pick your personal platform? Yes, my uncle passed away 2 years ago from COPD. He was an elementary school principal and the last conversation we ever had was about a child he found at school who seemed sad to go home one Friday afternoon. When my uncle questioned the young student, he admitted to him that he wasn’t going to eat from the time he left until the time he got back to school Monday morning. This is unacceptable for America. My uncle worked to eliminate this issue through weekend feeding programs and after he passed away, I committed myself to the project as well.
What do you think has been the most significant event in your lifetime? My first Broadway audition was a big moment for me. I auditioned for many Broadway shows making call backs for most things. It familiarized me with the business and helped me make very important contacts for the future.
The one thing I can’t live without: As a college student, there is nothing more handy and filling than a protein shake!
My best friend would describe me as: My best friend says i’m the most spontaneous person in the world. I am never afraid to be a mover and a shaker.
Funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to me: When I was 7 I was dancing my solo once for an audience. My dance was called Disco Hippie and I wore a headband across my forehead. My mom accidentally put lip gloss instead of liquid eye shadow on my eyelids so during the dance my side pony tail stuck to my eyelids and blinded me. My headband slid down over my eyes and secured in place. Not only did I forget my routine, but I blindly stood in the middle of the stage trying and failing to make something up and falling down multiple times in the process.
One thing I’d like to try that is out of character for me: It is very healthy for singers to go on vocal rest sometimes. I have always wanted to try not speaking for an entire day but that would be INCREDIBLY out of character for me.
Do you have any pets? If so, what kind and tell us their names: I have so many pets but my favorites are my cats. I have a little red cat I rescued from a Mexican restaurant named Un PocoParasitoRojo. I have another white cat named Katarina Petrova. Lastly, my best friend and I decided to adopt a cat from the shelter the other day. We felt bad that everyone adopts a kitten and no one adopts old cats so they end up getting put down. We actually went and adopted the oldest ugliest cat we could find. He is a black cat with an angry face named Hannibal and we absolutely love him!