Being a model or being crowned Ms. US World wasn’t an initial personal goal of mine as I was growing up. As a kid, I was very enthused with playing volleyball. I attended every volleyball camp that I could, and dreamed of being a volleyball champion. I played the sport very well, and truly believed I had a future in it. That all changed one day when I went to a friend’s house to hang out. I was running downhill in wet grass, slipped and fell chest-first onto the corner of cement steps. I severely injured my sternum, loosened all my ribs, and cracked my xiphoid. I spent the next year in excruciating pain, mostly curled up in the fetal position. My doctor told me to move as little as possible so I would not exacerbate my injuries, and that I would never be able to play sports again. Since I was mostly bedridden, I spent a lot of my time looking at fashion magazines and I admired the elegant models that appeared on the pages. Here I was, rather physically broken and subsequently clumsy, a rather stark contrast to the chic fashion models in the magazines I pored over.
“Being a model or being crowned Ms. US World wasn’t an initial personal goal of mine as I was growing up.”
To help bolster my confidence and to encourage a new interest, my parents enrolled me in acting and modeling classes. I met a lot of contacts through those classes and opportunities began to open up for me.I participated in my first pageant as a teenager, and although I was terrified, I found it addictive. I started to book small photo shoots to gain experience and to help build my modeling portfolio. I also booked small, locally independent acting gigs to add to my reel and acquire experience to build my resume. Through those shoots, good connections were formed, and I began booking bigger jobs, such as acting in music videos, network shows, commercials, magazine prints, lifestyle prints, and many runway shows, including New York Fashion Week. All of this really helped my confidence and were the building blocks in participating in national pageants.
My mother became quite ill in 2017. It just so happened that the 2017 Ms. US World pageant was being held in a city very close to where I live, and I so wanted my mother to see me in this pageant in case it was her last opportunity. For a time before the pageant, my mother’s health was quite tenuous. I was so focused on her, the time before the pageant slipped away without my realizing it. Suddenly, the pageant was only three weeks away, and I had no formal eveningwear dress, no other outfits and no sponsors. All in one day, I emailed people I had done previous work for and researched companies that I thought might be interested in sponsoring me. I sent an email to various gown shops, requesting a gown on loan for the pageant.
I received replies the very next day: my sponsors were in place, and a wonderfully
kind woman who was willing to loan me a gown from her dress shop, and helped me pick the gown of my choice. I managed to gather the rest of my outfits just before the day of the pageant. All of the
last minute struggling paid off. I won the title of Ms. US World and my mom was there to see it.
While modeling was my main focus while I was growing up, I still believed that a good college education was mandatory. I explored a lot of avenues in college until I discovered that I was drawn to a career in computers. I found the work not only interesting, but the studies were quite compatible to my mental processes. I earned a Bachelor degree in Information Security, and I am currently studying to earn more IT certifications.
People sometimes tend to be complex, so to add another facet to me, I spend a lot of my free time doing work for charities and am involved in various fundraising events every month. I feel like this is a huge part of who I am. Every charity I work for means a lot to me, and the other volunteers become my extended family. Another side of me likes to be expressive, and I do that through baking extravagant cakes, like the ones posted on Pinterest. Since I enjoy cooking, I became more involved in searching for recipes to fit my dietary needs. I am always tweaking recipes or conjuring up
my own dishes from scratch. I love to eat healthy and include a lot of raw vegetables and fruits in my diet. I try to stay away from greasy food, caffeine, and I watch my sugar intake (which means I get to eat only one very thin slice of any cake I make). I also make sure I drink a lot of water throughout the day.
Because of modeling and pageants, I need to stay in shape, and I like to do that by getting outdoors and being active in such things as hiking, exploring new mountain trails, or going on
walks with my boyfriend, Dane, and our dog, Poppy. I also have an at-home gym that includes weights, stair stepper, bicycle and (my favorite) the ALLN-1 machine by Train Change Fitness. I try to exercise at least four times a week for about 45 minutes.
Since I’ve had such a great experience with winning a national title, I would love to win an international pageant title because that would be the ultimate achievement in pageants. I have some other special goals in mind as well. I want to expand my brand to include a cookbook based
on the recipes I use to stay in shape for pageants and modeling. I would like to launch my jewelry line that consists of bold, eccentric pieces. Also, inspired by the hikes Dane and I have taken together, we would like to launch an innovative outdoor/ activewear for women that is currently not in the marketplace. We have collaborated on this endeavor quite a bit, and we are enthused with our ideas.
Life may not turn out the way we planned, but instead of dwelling on the negative,we
need to explore other options in order to find our opportunities. Obstacles tend to blind us. Everybody has something they can be great at – you just need to put in the time and effort to nurture it.