Grace McAllister

Miss Pontotoc Ridge

Hometown:  Nettleton

Scholastic Ambition:   To obtain a Master’s degree in Psychology

Scholastic Honors:   Honor roll, Advanced classes

Talent:    Dance

Platform:   Breaking the Silence: Giving a Voice to Victims of Sexual Abuse

 

What makes you special and unique? My heart!! I genuinely care about each and every person I come in contact with.

What is the one thing about you that people you meet may not immediately realize? I have struggled. Most people see the bright, well rounded version of Grace, but there is so much more than what meets the eye. I’ve gone through so many trials, but what makes me different is that I have the ability to stand up and persevere through everything life has thrown at me.

Best advice you have ever received? Life is what you make of it. Sure, everyone faces certain obstacles in their lives, but it’s up to you to decide how to respond to them!

What can’t you live without? My friends! I surround myself with people who help to build me up, and motivate me to be the best possible version of myself. I definitely wouldn’t be the person I am today without them!

What is your biggest guilty pleasure?   My great great grandmother’s banana pudding! Yum!!

What is your favorite movie genre and why? Most definitely comedy! I love a good laugh!

Where do you see yourself in ten years? Hopefully opening up my own practice as a behavioral therapist and working to become a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader! Go Cowboys!

Most valuable lesson learned? Not everyone is going to like you. I have struggled with being a people pleaser. It bothers me when someone doesn’t like me. After a while, I realized that not every single person is going to like you. As long as you’re happy with who you are, that one person’s opinion doesn’t matter.

Most valued role model (other than your mother) and why?   Aly Raisman! Not only is she a six time Olympic Medalist, but she’s a survivor of sexual abuse. Aly helped obtain justice for her and the other Larry Nassar survivors, and she uses her voice to make a difference in the world. What more could you ask for in a role model?

What motivates you?  The fear of leaving this world without making it a little brighter.

Greatest non-academic accomplishment other than winning your local title? Last year, I won the Prudential Spirit of Community Award for my work with my platform.

Best compliment you have ever received? You make me smile!

Secret wish or dream? To be a backup dancer for Taylor Swift!

What is the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you? My preliminary pageant was the same day as the ACT, so I took it while my hair was in rollers!

What is one thing you’d like to try that is out of character for you? Although I am scared of them, I’d like to swim with sharks one day.

What is your super power? Making everybody feel like a somebody.

What is one important thing you have learned from being in the Miss Mississippi’s Outstanding Teen Program? I’ve competed in this organization for the past three years, and each year, I’ve learned more and more about myself and life in general. The main thing I’ve learned is that success doesn’t happen without sacrifice.

Describe yourself in one word. Genuine

A Fun Family Fact? I have over 20 first cousins.

My name is Grace McAllister, and I am a 16 year old from Nettleton, MS. I am a sophomore and I’m very active within my school. I am a part of the Junior Beta Club, Junior Civitan, the Library Club, and a member of our school’s broadcast, The Weekly Roar! I am also a competitive dancer at Art in Motion. I enjoy spending time with my friends and binge watching Netflix.

Outside of school and dance, I am a spokesperson for the Tupelo Family Resource Center and United Way which means I get the privilege of speaking about my platform. My platform. My platform is my biggest passion because I myself am a survivor and an overcomer of sexual abuse. My goal in life is to work to give a voice to those who feel silenced by abuse.

When I was younger, my father would sexually abuse me. Because of this, I’ve faced many things that no one should ever have to face. Some of which include PTSD and anxiety. At this time in my life, I’ve come to realize that i have two options. I can either sit in my sorrow and stay depressed, or I can rise despite what has happened. It has taken me awhile, but I now know that my history doesn’t define me, and that I want to help others understand that as well.

Before I started Breaking the Silence, Giving a Voice to Victims of Abuse, I didn’t realize just how many people are affected by sexual abuse. If abuse wasn’t such a taboo topic, people would be more willing to share their experiences. My goal with my platform is to get people to not only talk about it, but also be informed on how to prevent sexual abuse, who to tell if this happens, and know the statistics such as how 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be abused before they turn 18, and how 84% of victims suffer in silence. Knowledge and communication (this includes speaking AND listening) are key components in ending sexual abuse once and for all.