Hailey Pushis

Miss All-America City

Hometown:   Columbus

Scholastic Ambition:  Pediatric Neurologist

Scholastic Honors:  I am a member of the National Junior Honor Society, National Junior Beta Club, National Junior MAIS, National Classical League; Straight A student; participant in the 2018 Bagley College of Engineering @ Mississippi State University’s, “I am Girl” Program.

Talent:  Dance

Platform:  Keep Calm & Be Visible:  Raising Chronic Migraine Awareness

What makes you special and unique? I always practice my Three R’s:  Be Respectful, Be Responsible and Be Real

What is the one thing about you that people you meet may not immediately realize?  I am relatable.  I listen to people, I am humble, and I do not judge others.

Best advice you have ever received? My mother once told me, “Always wear your invisible crown”.  It reminds me to act in a respectful way no matter where I am or what I am doing.

What can’t you live without? I would have to say it’s a tie between my art supplies and music.  Both help me to relax and let my creativity flow.

What is your biggest guilty pleasure? Chick Fil-A!  Remember to, “EAT MOR CHIKIN”!

What is your favorite movie genre and why? I enjoy action and science fiction movies!  In my opinion, they are always very entertaining!  The artistic element of my personality loves to see the special effects.

Where do you see yourself in ten years? I will have my undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering and will be in medical school.

Most valuable lesson learned? Always use discretion. Think before you act, whether it is something you say or do.

Most valued role model (other than your mother) and why? Without a doubt, that is my big brother, Robert David.  He suffers from chronic migraine disorder and I admire him because he always pushes through the pain and never gives up.

What motivates you? When people believe in me and encourage me.  I feel inspired and willing to take on any challenge that comes my way because I know that people are counting on me.  That makes me want to do and be my best.

Greatest non-academic accomplishment other than winning your local title? I started the very first Association of Migraine Disorders (AMD) student chapter in the whole United States at my school, Heritage Academy.  I have over 25 members that either suffer from migraine or have a family member in their home that does.

Best compliment you have ever received? That I am very smart, but very relatable. Both adults and teens tell me all the time that I am so real and a, “breath of fresh air”.

Secret wish or dream? Becoming Miss Mississippi’s Outstanding Teen and representing the Magnolia State at Miss America’s Outstanding Teen. After that I want to become a pediatric neurologist.

What is the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you? One time at a dance competition when I was 8 years old, I forgot part of my solo onstage! My teacher was backstage encouraging me to keep going.  So instead of running off the stage, I did an improv of my choreography until I was able to remember!

What is one thing you’d like to try that is out of character for you? Several of my friends at school play softball and I think I would like to try that. I played T-Ball when I was in Kindergarten, but only for one season.

What is your super power? Being positive! I am always looking for the bright side in every situation that seems negative.  I will always be a, “glass half full” type of person.

What is one important thing you have learned from being in the Miss Mississippi’s Outstanding Teen Program? Definitely how to properly speak in front of people I do not know personally and how to think on my feet.

Describe yourself in one word. Real

A Fun Family Fact? When my family and I moved to Mississippi, my grandparents moved with us. They love living here and really enjoy the southern hospitality and amazing food! One of my grandpa’s favorite things to eat has always been catfish, so he certainly moved to the right state to retire in!

 

I am a teenage girl with a very full life.  I am an honors student at my school, I love everything purple, I love Pusheen the Cat and my bedroom is always a mess.  I have two English Labradors.  My black lab is named Coal and my brown lab is Mousse.  My mom took my brother and I on a tour at a chocolate factory when we were ages 7 & 5 so that we could come up with Mousse’s name.  He is very lazy but when it is summer, he is always with Robert and I in our pool.  Coal is much bigger, and he is for sure the spoiled baby.  He is younger than Mousse and always wants everyone’s attention!

I’m in formal dance training at least 25 hours a week and enjoy all genres of dance.  My favorite is ballet en pointe because I have an amazing ballet master.  My other dance classes let me express my fun and sassy side of my personality, so I have a great balance in the art of dance.   Each week, I assist my ballet master with our studio’s younger students.  They are so much fun, and I really enjoy being their mentor inside and outside of class.

I love to read about science and the latest medical technology.  I am very interested and knowledgeable when it comes to news in the biomedical industry.  I want to become a pediatric neurologist so developments in science and medicine have always piqued my interest.  My brother and I are constantly performing science experiments at home and seeing what we can come up with next.  This is something our parents have always done with us since we were very young.  You could certainly say that I am a science nerd!

My platform is Keep Calm & Be Visible:  Raising Chronic Migraine Awareness.  Many contestants choose their platform, but my platform chose me.  My older brother Robert David has suffered from chronic migraine disease for over 9 years.  This disorder has affected every member of my immediate family.   How, you ask?  Imagine a Christmas morning when you are so excited to have your family gather around the Christmas tree, only to find out that your brother is so sick he cannot even get out of bed.

I remember how much I cried because he was not able to jump out of bed just like me and run downstairs to see what had been put under the Christmas tree for me.  I was so upset and told my parents that we needed to wait until he was feeling better because I did not want Robert to miss anything!  I also did not want him to feel guilty that we were going to wait for him.  People that suffer from a chronic illness tend to blame themselves for their pain and perceive that it could inconvenience someone else.

Barometric pressure and climate changes are Robert’s largest trigger.  My family is originally from the Midwest, where the weather changes every ten minutes!  Robert was always sick, missing school and not able to enjoy life at all.  The sad part was, none of us were able to.  Seeing Robert suffer constantly was very traumatic for me as a young child.  He is my big brother, my hero, my rockstar!  When he would have days of constant pain, it was very depressing.

Did you know that Mississippi is one of the top five states to live in if barometric pressure and cold climate changes are your migraine trigger?  It is a fact and while we were on vacation down on the Gulf Coast, Robert was never sick!  My dad works for a company that has divisions all over the country.  He was able to transfer to their facility in Columbus and our prayers of being able to move to Mississippi were answered.

The Association of Migraine Disorders (AMD) is the organization that helps me promote my platform.  Their purpose as a nonprofit organization is to raise awareness about chronic migraine disease.  I shared earlier in my lifestyle questionnaire that I started the very first AMD migraine student chapter at my school.  AMD supported me throughout that campaign and is always telling other chronic pain organizations across the country about my family’s story.   Robert and I were on, “The Today Show” on World Migraine Solidarity Day in Rockefeller Center with AMD, promoting chronic migraine awareness.  We got to meet Hoda Kotb, Al Roker, Savannah Guthrie, Craig Melvin, Carson Daly and Jenna Bush Hager!  It was a once in a lifetime opportunity!

I want everyone to know that just because you cannot see someone’s pain doesn’t mean it is not there.  Migraine affects over 37 million Americans every single day and one in four families have a family member that suffers from this disease.  My family is the one in four.  I will always advocate for others that cannot speak up for themselves.  This is my passion and my life long commitment.