Hailey Desai

Belle of the Bayou

Hometown:   Madison, MS

Scholastic Ambition:   My goal is to seek college admission and part time internship in the areas of Bio-Medical Engineering/Science/and/or Health Science Field for further studies and career goals.

Scholastic Honors:   Honor roll student for four years with a perfect attendance record, inducted and a member of BETA Club, selected in the mayor’s youth leadership council, am a junior ambassador for the city of Madison, first place state finalist for destination imagination team, third place finalist at the Mississippi Science and Engineering Fair, Inducted in National academy of future physicians and medical students.

Talent:    Bollywood fusion dance blended with classical Indian dance

Platform:   This PROM – MAKE GOOD CHOICES (PROM stands for Please Return On Monday)

 What makes you special and unique? I am honored to be the first Asian Indian- American girl in my generation to be in this pageant.  Being Asian Indian-American is something that is unique and special to me because I can speak two different languages, celebrate different holidays/traditions, have twice as many outfits to wear, and most importantly eat double the amounts of food!

What is the one thing about you that people you meet may not immediately realize? When I first meet people they think I am quiet, but when I really connect and get to know others, my true personality starts to show.  On the outside it may seem like I am just one of those quiet girls who doesn’t really talk much, but instead I am very talkative and vibrant and love to meet new people and try new things.

Best advice you have ever received? It would be that everything happens for a reason.  Whether it be a good reason or a bad reason, God always has a plan and you must keep moving forward.

What can’t you live without?    The two things I cannot live without are my family and friends.  My best friends are the people that shape who I am and are always there for me when I need them the most.  I go to get advice from my family who I can share some of the most important things which is why they are the people I cannot live without.

What is your biggest guilty pleasure?  I have a sweet tooth.  My biggest guilty pleasure would be eating my favorite chocolates.  My favorite chocolates are Cadburys from England.

What is your favorite movie genre and why? My favorite movies are thriller, action, adventurous and romance.  I love to watch movies where I could be on my feet solving mysteries and crimes, but at the same time I also love watching movies where I could just sit back and watch how two people’s lives cross paths in a beautiful way, like Bollywood films.

Where do you see yourself in ten years? I see myself working at a hospital in the cancer research department, finding a cure for cancer.  I can picture myself working hard towards find a cure, so this terrible disease could be banished forever.

Most valuable lesson learned? Good things do not come easy. With that being said, if you want to live a successful life, you must work hard for it.  Luck can only take you so far and the rest is entirely up to you.  For example, the amount of effort and work you put in every day no matter what you do, and the ability to learn from your mistakes will pay off in the end.

Most valued role model (other than your mother) and why?   My most valued role model would be my grandfather.  My grandfather was diagnosed with cancer, but through his times of pain and suffering, he always kept a brave front and fought until the very end.  He has taught me to be true to who I am and to never give up on anything no matter what the circumstance of the situation is.  I have always looked up to him and will continue to do so every day.

What motivates you?   Setting and reaching deadlines motivate me and always give me a sense of pride and accomplishment.  I really love to create schedules for completing tasks and achieving my goals on time because it makes you feel like you have just done something.

Greatest non-academic accomplishment other than winning your local title? My accomplishments would be getting to be selected in the Mayor’s Youth Council for Madison, becoming an ambassador for my great city of Madison, getting the honor of being named the cross-county captain, and having the honor to play on the varsity tennis and basketball teams.

Best compliment you have ever received? The best compliment I have ever received would be that people are always learning so much from me and telling me that I am not like everyone else.  My friends come to me for advice and because they believe that I always know what to say at the right times in a situation or just when they feel they need to share something with me , which is why a lot of people have told me that they learn a lot from being around me. A lot of people also tell me that I am not like everyone else and that makes me feel special.

Secret wish or dream?   My only dream in life is to be very successful and help find the cure for cancer.  Cancer has had a huge impact on a lot of my family members and friends, which is why I want it to be gone.  I also just want to be very successful in my future and live a happy life.

What is the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you? The most embarrassing thing I have ever done is wearing my grandmothers’ pajamas.

What is one thing you’d like to try that is out of character for you? Skydiving

What is your super power? Caring nature

What is one important thing you have learned from being in the Miss Mississippi’s Outstanding Teen Program? The one important thing I have learned is how to become self-confident. Not only has it shaped me into who I am today , but I know it will help me in my future because I can now know who I truly am and the person that I was meant to be.

Describe yourself in one word. DETERMINED-I never give up on my goal or my aim in life no matter what

A Fun Family Fact? A fun fact would be visiting family in England and Germany.

My name is Hailey Desai. I am 17 years old and of Asian Indian decent.  My mother is from England and my dad was born in Zambia, Africa.  I am the first girl in three generations in our family and for that I am honored to carry the family mantle.  I have a younger brother, who I love dearly, and we always have each other’s back.

From the age of six, I have learned Kuchipudi (Classical South India mythological dance) and have performed at numerous cultural and religious events.  I have the love for sports and have at high school played varsity basketball, cross county and tennis.  Playing sports allows me to keep fit and is a good diversion from everyday school work.  My favorite comfort foods are pizza, pasta and cheese sticks.  I also love my Indian dishes of Basmati Rice and red lentils and Masala Dosa (crispy savory rice pancakes).

My educational goal is to obtain a Bio-Medical Engineering degree and then eventually go to medical school to help our great state of Mississippi.  This past semester I had the opportunity to intern at an eye doctor’s clinic.  I could also go into surgery and experience how cataracts are removed, and replacement lenses placed into patient’s eyes.  This was an amazing experience for any 17-year old to endure.

My platform is This PROM – MAKE GOOD CHOICES (Please return on Monday – in the same condition you left).  I am working in partnership with the Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services (MDRS) and Mississippi Highway Patrol (MHP) to encourage students to make safe and smart decisions this prom season and beyond: don’t text and drive, don’t drink and drive and do buckle up.

Prom is one of the most significant nights for high school students and it’s significant for parents as well.  Too often parents stay up all night after the photos, after their child leaves, to see that they return safely in the same condition that they left  I am talking at high school, churches and community events to encourage students of safe habits and education the dire consequences of poor choices made on prom night.  My aunt, when she was in high school 16 years’ ago, was waiting at the bus stop to go to a school party when a drunk student drove into her.  They had to amputate both her legs and had a life changing outcome that affected us all.  Her story is the very reason that I am passionate about the PROM campaign and strive for students to make the right smart choices during the prom season and beyond.

I encourage Teens celebrating prom night to tweet safe prom night selfies to @MSDeptofRehab with the hashtags:

#SafeProm, #PleaseReturnOnMonday, and #prom2k19