My name is Kayla Schmidig and I am Miss Delta Valley. I decided to include some fun facts about what makes me who I am and some interesting things that I think you all will enjoy. From Israel, to strawberry festivals, Harry Potter, world peace on the big stage and how to survive New Years Eve in Times Square, these are fun facts and inside the life of what makes me Kayla Schmidig– your quirky girl-next-door.
I’m Katie Wayland, Miss Orange Coast, and I work in Audio Production! My interest for this field began non-traditionally as a child who simply loved scary movies. Sound design is truly an art form, as evidenced by one of my favorite tools: “The Apprehension Machine”, or “The Nightmare Machine”. This was a custom-built instrument by composer Mark Korven for the purposes of creating those haunting noises in all of your favorite scary movies. Instruments like this (homemade machines creating indecipherable noises) are what make this such an accessible craft.
I began fiddling (pun intended) with unique instruments at a young age, including my recorder, accordion, miniature harpsichord, xylophone, vibraphone, marimba and glockenspiel. I would set up microphones facing stereo speakers to amplify and manipulate sound, mostly waging psychological warfare on my parents and siblings with my now worn down “Elvis: The Greatest Hits” CD.
I am currently an audio editor at Wayland Productions, employed by my extremely talented (and patient) brother, Kc Wayland! (It’s not nepotism if you complete the internship program.) Kc got his start in animation, working his way to being a well-respected writer, producer, engineer, and educator. We began working together when I wrote the opening score to his audio drama (We’re Alive: A “Zombie” Story of Survival) at the age of 15 using the most rudimentary of tools to create a haunting vaudeville/post-apocalyptic melody using my out-of-tune piano, and a broken guitar.
I am so grateful for the scholarships I have earned at the local and state levels of the Miss America Organization, which have funded my entire education; from community college all the way to studying Independent Music Production in the extension program at the University of California, Los Angeles!
With my background in music, and love of technology, this career is a natural fit. It is at the intersection of STEM and the arts, giving me the perfect niche to utilize two skill sets, and create unique sounds every single day.
Seven years ago, I never expected the life altering announcement my parents presented to me and my siblings: they were adding another foster child to our family of seven. Although there is an element of excitement with a new addition, this was not the case when thinking about the extra responsibilities that would be asked of me once this six-week-old arrived in our home.
Upon picking her up from the Department of Human Services, she did not reflect a child coming out of a middle-class environment; rather, she looked more like a baby from a third world country. She was swollen, had open sores, was unkempt, and most of all, displayed absolutely no emotion. Although my family tried to welcome her with unconditional love, she cried all day and night, many times to the point that her eyes could no longer produce tears. My older brother, Jordan, and I didn’t want to be home because the screaming was too much for us to handle. My mom juggled a sixth month old, a two-year-old and a kindergartener all while trying to calm this new baby. Honestly, I am not sure how my parents managed to have my brother and I in traveling sports teams, three young children, and a baby who couldn’t seem to find contentment.
One day, something finally clicked. My mom remembers that it was a Tuesday to a Wednesday. She just stopped crying and her eyes began to light up. The curling screams were replaced with fits of laughter; and where the seemingly burden of life once dominated her eyes, joy now fills her every move. This defining moment forever changed the climate of our home as her newly discovered joy pushed back the dark cloud of uncertainty that once shrouded her heart and ours. When it came time to legally adopt my little sister, my parents reflected on that transformational day and appropriately gave her the name Kiana “JOY” Reed, for now joy fills her heart where it was once being filled with sorrow.
Our story reminds me of another often told of a little girl seen throwing starfish back into the sea after they had washed onto the shore due to a large storm. There were thousands of starfish, and each time she walked up to one, she would pick it up and throw it back into the sea. After doing this for some time, an older man came and asked her, “Why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!” Upon hearing this, the little girl stooped down, picked up another starfish and threw it back into the sea saying, “I made a difference to that one.”
Often we are faced with extremely large problems, such as the more than 400,000 children in America’s foster care system, and focus on the seemingly insurmountable odds that stack against us when it comes to finding a solution. Because we feel inadequate to being part of the solution, it is easy to abdicate responsibility to others who we feel have the capacity to find an answer to the problem. We may even question why someone doesn’t do something about it without stopping for a moment to realize that we are “someone” who can absolutely make a difference. Adopting my little sister may not seem like we made much of a difference when it comes to solving the overwhelming issues within the foster care system, but I am confident that it made a profound difference in the future of a child who may not have been born into our family, but was born for our family and discovered eternal joy as a result.
Miss Orange County
When I was a little girl, I dreamed of being the next Kennedy in The White House.
As a child, I looked up to my mom and grandmother, who modeled charity and compassion through their commitment to serving others. Service quickly became ingrained in my life. Saturday mornings meant serving breakfast at Loaves and Fishes, summer afternoons were spent tutoring with Super Stars Literacy in Oakland, and August meant stuffing backpacks for Foster a Dream. Nothing gave me more joy than using my own two hands to serve others in my community. I was constantly seeking out bigger and better ways to make a greater impact.
In eighth grade, our class began to learn about the federal government and how leaders in Washington, DC had the ability to appropriate funding and direct efforts to support their constituencies. It was then that I became determined to work in The White House, where serving others could be a full-time job.
Through high school and college, I chased opportunities to lead, grow, and serve. During my junior year at UC Santa Barbara, I decided to apply for the UCDC program, which allows University of California students to live and work in Washington, DC while receiving units and taking classes at night. I remember going in to meet with the program advisor and listing the internships I was applying for. When I brought up The White House Internship Program, he laughed.
I shared the dream that I’d had for over ten years, and the response was laughter. The advisor told me that my chances were “slim” and that I should “explore other options.” Leaving the office, I refused to feel defeated – instead, I shook off his doubt. I resolutely decided that I would rather try and fail than not apply at all.
Two months later, I received a call from a blocked number while walking home from class. The voice on the other end of the phone said that it was “Jessica, calling from The White House.” I just about fell over.
With little time to think, I pulled it together and ran off the busy walkway into a grove of trees. Jessica asked if I had ten minutes to interview, and I exuberantly responded “Of course!” For the next ten minutes, I interviewed like my life depended on it. I told Jessica about my leadership on campus, my passion for working with young women, and my involvement with the Miss California Organization. After just 10 minutes and seven seconds, we ended the call. I stood in that wooded area off the path for a few moments, thinking that those ten minutes may have been the best ten minutes of my life. I had interviewed for The White House! Little did I know, it was only the beginning.
Three months later, I walked up the steps of The White House for the first day of my internship. I spent those months working harder than I ever knew possible, leading speaker series events with senior staff, writing memos, organizing community service events, mentoring high school students, and so much more. A highlight was getting to present President Obama with a birthday card on behalf of my intern class!
After my internship, I was extended the opportunity to stay through the fall as an Associate. Those next four months afforded me the chance to work with the Presidential speechwriting team, assisting with five speeches for the President and First Lady. I also worked on major events, including Halloween, the Italian State Arrival, and South by South Lawn. After eight months, I came home to California a changed woman – still determined to live a life of service, but far more empowered and confident in my ability to do so.
The detail that my interview for The White House was ten minutes is not lost on me. I had just completed my year as Miss Ventura County 2015, and had spent countless hours training to rock a ten-minute interview. Without this experience, there’s no way to know if I could have closed the deal and secured my dream job. The Miss America Organization has given me the tools to succeed and the strength to believe that I am capable of anything I can imagine. This program empowers us to step out of our comfort zones, to embrace challenges, and to do it all for the sake of service.
Each of us is called to serve, and I’m endlessly grateful for the opportunities afforded to me through the Miss California Organization. As Miss Yosemite Valley this year, I am determined to make every moment count and to use this platform to encourage others to do the same.
Thank you for reading – go out and chase those “crazy” dreams because you never know what might happen!
Miss Yosemite Valley 2018
Hey ya’ll! My name is Blaire Bostwick and I am so excited to be your Miss Sierra Nevada 2018. I was born and raised in the Central Valley and love my community more than anything. So much so that my community inspired my platform, “A Heart for Service” in which I hope to inspire volunteerism in communities throughout California. I have been blessed enough to complete over 175 community service projects since starting my platform but one ongoing project sticks out above the rest.
I heard about my local Miracle League Association in Visalia three years ago and had no idea what it was all about. I volunteered on a whim and I am beyond thankful that I did. Due to a shortage of coaches my first year, I was asked to be a coach and I couldn’t say yes fast enough. I have been a coach ever since and it has been an incredible journey.
For those who don’t know about The Miracle League, it is a baseball association for children and adults with mental and physical disabilities. These amazing individuals don’t always have the same opportunities to be involved with their local sports teams, so Miracle League makes sure that they don’t only feel included, but that they feel celebrated. Miracle League provides an environment where players get to try every position, hit home runs, and have fun with their peers all while playing on a special rubberized turf field that allows for wheelchairs and walkers to move around with ease. We use a buddy system within Miracle League, where every player has a buddy that helps them play the game and they build relationships with the players, allowing them to feel supported. This association makes sure they have the physical and mental support necessary to have a ball while enjoying America’s favorite pastime!
Through Miracle League I have been able to meet some of the most incredible kids ever. All of my players have the biggest hearts in the world and they enjoy the game on a level I have never seen before. They have learned and entirely understand the value of teamwork. One of my favorite moments of every game is when my team is up to bat and they stand on the third base line to high-five their teammate rounding third and headed to Home! As if that doesn’t put the biggest smile on their faces and mine, most games they line themselves up around the field to high-five and cheer on the teammates of the other team! Even my kiddos who can’t communicate verbally, show through their actions how much they enjoy the game and love their teammates!
Through my volunteerism with The Miracle League, I’ve had the opportunity to volunteer with various organizations who serve children and adults with disabilities. My passion for these kids and adults have inspired me to start my own dance program for students with special needs, volunteer in special education classrooms, and be an annual volunteer for The Special Olympics. These experiences have fueled my education as well as I completed my Undergraduate Thesis on the subject of special needs in the work force, and am now in a School Counselor Graduate program in which I hope to be an advocate for students with special needs in the educational system. Who knew that volunteering on whim would transform my life!
Special needs advocacy is such an important issue, and I’m thankful to be a voice for all the kids and adults who have changed my life through these Organizations. Children and adults with mental and physical disabilities should feel as much a part of society as everyone else, and I am so blessed for organizations such as Miracle League who work hard everyday to make that happen.
YOU can get involved too! Go online to www.themiracleleague.net to find your closest Miracle League or find your local Special Olympics event and sign up to volunteer. And remember, we need to be the change we with to see in the world!
In the last 3 weeks since I became Miss San Jose, there’s a couple questions and comments I’ve gotten over and over again. They sound something like this:
- But it’s your senior year, don’t you want to relax?
- Oh, so that’s the thing where you walk around in a bikini right?
- I like the crown. Your instagram pictures are so cute!
When people think of the Miss America program, they tend to remember only the surface level things they see on TV. To be honest, just a couple months ago, I may have asked the same questions of another titleholder.
I’ve been privileged to know quite a few titleholders throughout my life, some who started in the Outstanding Teen Program and some who have been on the Miss America stage. I always saw the beautiful social media posts – sleeping with the crown the night after you win a title, having hair and makeup done by a glamorous sponsor, getting to cut ribbons here and there for a community event. But, if that were all there was to it, I would also find myself asking the infamous question – How is Miss America still relevant in today’s society?
I have found that in just less than three weeks, my role as a titleholder has helped me truly reevaluate my values and align my goals with them. I believe that preparing for every single competition stage of Miss California is not about chasing a crown – it is about reflecting on what the best version of yourself looks like, and then setting goals over the next few months to become that you.
Many people don’t know that an interview is a part of the scoring, because it happens before the onstage part of the show. Each contestant interviews with a panel of 5 judges. Here’s a sample of questions I got in my interview:
Why did you decide to compete?
Your platform is SheEO’s – Women in Leadership, what would you say to the argument that women are just not as suited to leadership roles because of certain biological factors?
What do you think about all the recent news stories regarding sexual assault?
What should the US do about the Opioid Crisis?
What have you done in your community for your platform already?
As you can see, the questions really span the gamut – from why you would be the best titleholder, platform-related questions, to random current events questions.
I love that this is a huge chunk of our score, because every young adult will have to interview for something – whether for jobs or college. Having worked on Wall Street for the last 2 summers, I’ve personally been through my share of what some people would consider the most rigorous and selective interview processes for fresh graduates. But, I will be the first to tell you that despite having interviewed with some of the top executives in finance and Silicon Valley, I find Miss America interviews much more intimidating. I think it’s much easier to memorize technical terms and practice walking someone through your resume or answering how you would work in a team. Professional job interviews tend to be predictable.
In a pageant interview, your judges are looking to find someone who a community can both relate to and look up to, and ultimately the best ambassador for the program. This is why it is so important for a contestant to be up to date with current events, to have opinions but convey them respectfully, and at the same time be someone that could be best friends with an 8 year old girl. Preparing for these interviews requires me to think very carefully about my personal qualities and how I best want to market them. I truly think that this is a skill that many job interviews do not teach you.
Talent is my chance to share something I love with a full house. Contestants are judged on technical ability and performance, among other qualities. I’ve definitely heard people ask why Talent is a part of the scoring, stating that you don’t need an onstage talent to be a good representative.
However, I think it is so important for every individual to have something that they do just because they love it, unrelated to academics or their career. I absolutely love classical music – I’ve found that playing piano makes me happier, relieves stress, and increases my focus throughout my day. Unfortunately, when I got busy in college, it was one of the first activities I cut out of my life. My freshman year, I was lucky enough to be a part of an a cappella group, but I eventually gave that up when classes ramped up my sophomore year.
Thanks to my involvement in the Miss America organization, I’ve rediscovered my love for playing the piano, and am also motivated to schedule it into my calendar just as I would a class.
Lifestyle and Fitness
At the mention of the swimsuit category, many people in the audience – and even contestants – might squirm a bit. It’s the category that motivates comments that the program is misogynistic and objectifies women. We could spend a ton of time debating these points, but today I’d like to focus on the positive impact this category has had on my life.
Like playing the piano, health and fitness often suffers at the expense of other activities in my daily college life. There was a point in time where I wasn’t getting enough sleep and would eat mozzarella sticks at Stanford’s late night dining at least three times a week. To counterbalance this, I would sometimes skip meals. I naturally have a more petite physique, so on the outside, most people would still say I looked healthy. However, I found myself unable to focus in class and more stressed than ever.
The Lifestyle and Fitness category has given me steady motivation to work toward until June. Because I am representing a community, I want to look healthy and confident at Miss California, and to do that, I will make time for workouts every week, regardless of how busy I am. Whether or not I have a six pack by that time, I want to be proud of my progress and look confident and healthy, not sleep deprived or malnourished.
And let me tell you, from just being more cognizant of what I’m eating and fitting in a few workouts a week, I feel so much better and refreshed already.
In this stage, contestants are given a random question that they do not know in advance, and have about 30 seconds to answer it in front of the judges and the audience. I think that a lot of people don’t know that we really have no idea what we will be asked, and do not have answers prepared in advance.
I’m not alone in thinking that this is the scariest part of the competition. After all, think about all the YouTube videos referencing “Maps” that go viral for all the wrong reasons. If you’ve seen these types of videos, I urge you to try to understand the pressure contestants are under before you make any judgments.
I think this stage prepares you very well for unpredictable situations you might face as a titleholder. Whether it’s a 4 year old or a news reporter that comes up to you, you never really know what someone might ask you. It’s great practice to know how to react calmly and give an articulate opinion on any subject under the sun.
As a senior soon to graduate, I’ve thought more and more about what the future might hold, but I’m thankful that I have some practice dealing with uncertainty.
This is a contestant’s chance to feel the most beautiful she has ever felt in her life – walking down the stage in an evening gown of her choice. It’s not the dress however, that gets judged – it’s the overall impression of the girl wearing it. As a college student in the Bay Area, I often don’t dedicate enough time to self care. After all, Stanford is known for its chill culture – chill meaning rolling out of bed at 9:20 am for a 9:30 am class, sometimes in the same clothes you wore to sleep. Fun as this is, as a Christian, I truly believe that the bodies God created us with are meant to be honored and respected, to reflect our inner beauty.
Whenever you meet someone new in any setting, the first judgment they will make about you will be based on how you look. As objective as we try to be, we are all only human, and our first impressions will inevitably be affected by the first things our eyes see. People see you before you even open your mouth to speak.
I don’t mean to say that appearance is everything, or that it is more important than your internal qualities – but I do think it’s worth taking some extra time to dress and groom for an occasion – whether it is an interview or a cocktail party. Your personal style is a reflection of your personality, and I have found that taking some extra time to get ready in the morning gives me more confidence to take on the day. So, I do think it’s important for every woman to take some time to think about how she wants to create her first impression – whether that is by how she dresses or how she carries herself.
There you have it – the 5 stages of competition and why they’ve motivated me to give everything I have to improving myself in the next few months. Not to mention, I won about $2,000 at my local competition in scholarships and am guaranteed more scholarships by competing in Miss California. I am so excited for the rest of my year.
If you aren’t already, follow my journey on instagram @misssanjose_ca and my Facebook page – Miss San Jose Jacqueline Wibowo.
I remember watching my hometown’s local pageant since I was a little girl and when I was 17, I entered and learned that I actually knew very little about what these pageants actually entailed. If there’s one thing I’ve realized over the past few years that I’ve been involved in the Miss America Organization, it’s that you will begin to undergo a transformation into the very best version of yourself. Just by entering a local competition for the Miss America Organization (you don’t even have to win!), you will gain the following:
Scholarship– As one of the largest scholarship providers to young women in the world, the Miss America Organization has paid for over half of my college education to date. I finished my undergraduate studies in 2.5 years, and this would not have been possible, nor affordable, had I not gained the scholarships from this organization. Many local preliminaries will guarantee every contestant a scholarship just for participating. If you do happen to win the title, there are even further opportunities to gain scholarships through awards, advertisement sales, placement, and more.
Sisters– You will meet the most incredible like-minded women who are passionate about their communities, their education, and their careers. You will meet your closest friends, find a second family. The Miss America Organization defies the stigma of a stereotypical “pageant girl” because the women I’ve met are some of the most intelligent, talented, and kind people I have known.
Professional Skills– Before entering a local competition, contestants must complete paperwork including a Resume and a Platform Statement, providing the opportunity to work on resume and writing skills. In addition to this, the interview and onstage question portions of competition teach us how to communicate effectively and think on the spot. As titleholders, we are required to attend public events, speaking engagements, interviews, and the like, which tests these skills even more. We are taught to communicate effectively to voice our thoughts and opinions in a professional way while still remaining personable. Participating in pageants has taught me confidence in speaking to and with people from all different walks of life. After graduating college, I was never nervous to attend job interviews, conference calls, presentations, and networking events in my professional life because of the experiences the Miss America Organization had offered.
Personal Skills– All contestants in the Miss America Organization choose a personal “platform,” a good cause for which they volunteer their time and promote in their communities. My platform is “Music Therapy for the Elderly”, a cause I choose to promote because of my passions and life experiences. In a way, this has been a “platform” throughout my entire life that this organization has allowed to come to fruition. Having a platform encourages contestants to get involved in the causes we are passionate about on a greater scale, bringing personal action and passion to community change. Your platform will allow you to increase your voice, establish yourself as active member in your community, and fuel your passion to follow your dreams. The work I have done with my platform has brought me the happiest experiences, the most creative ideas, and the hope to create my own nonprofit in the future.
There are so many reasons other why I advocate for the Miss America Organization, but these are some of the major ones that have truly transformed my life. Sure, I can stick on false lashes and walk in 5 inch heels now, but more than that, I attribute so much of my educational success, professional success, and life skills to this organization. Others who are or have been involved in the Miss America a Organization will share similar positive experiences. For those who are unfamiliar with this organization, I hope I have opened your mind, or at least offered a different perspective, to pageantry. I hope you consider getting yourself, your sister, or your friend involved in the Miss America Organization. You will gain the scholarship, sisterhood, professional skills, and personal skills I described, and so much more. The crown is just icing on the cake.
I am an undergraduate, full-time student at San Diego State University studying Journalism and Media Studies with an emphasis in Public Relations, and a minor in Dance. I would not have had the means or courage to pursue my dream of higher education had I not taken the leap to compete in my first Miss America’s Outstanding Teen local pageant in 2010. I’m proud of who I am and who I am becoming, and the Miss America Organization is an integral part of that.
One of the most invigorating parts of being a local titleholder is attempting to live each day in embodiment of the Four Points of the crown: Scholarship, Style, Service and Success. College is one of the most challenging yet exciting goals I have ever set for myself. I take pride in my status as a student, remain eager to learn and be successful in my academic career. Nothing feels better than giving your school the scholarship dollars this organization provides. My personal style has evolved fluidly throughout my journey. It has become representative of where I’ve been, where I am at currently, and where I am pointing my arrow next. I am firm believer in the influence of everyday surroundings on the way you style yourself. My style projects an image of me that is representative of my adolescence in the Bay Area and my early adulthood in San Diego. My platform is called Perfect Imperfection: Body Positivity and Respect. I created this movement to inspire a culture of respect and positivity when we talk about our bodies and their differences, particularly among children and teenagers. Serving my community in this way has allowed me to contribute to the Body Positive movement. Success is something I strive for in every part of my life with each day I pursue my dreams.
If I could add a fifth point to the crown, it would be Sisterhood. Beyond the scholarship and the opportunity for personal development, the Miss America Organization provides a place for people to connect and create long lasting relationships with some of the world’s best people. I have found some of the most wonderful friends in the contestants, volunteers and sponsors I’ve had the opportunity to work with and get to know. I have found so many people who inspire me to push myself, be kind and to remain grounded in my purpose. I am an advocate of empowering others due, in large part, to the people I have met through the Miss America Organization. The sisterhood is strong, influential and so very real.
Being a Miss America local titleholder affords women endless, incredible opportunities that are extraordinarily unmatched. There are obvious perks, like the scholarship money each contestant is awarded, the chance to make a difference in our communities, and the ability to train professional, social and emotional skills in the field on a regular basis. “Adulting” is my favorite way to put it. This organization gives women scholarship money in exchange for the chance of a lifetime. I have spent the last seven years competing in this organization because my involvement in is directly tied to the accomplishments from all facets of my life.
I am honored to be Miss North Bay 2018. Being a Children’s Miracle Network Ambassador, and an advocate for body positivity and respect is an absolute dream come true that I am fully engaged in. I am diving into this year of service with gusto, courage and so many ideas I can’t wait to manifest. Follow me at @MissNorthBay on Instagram and Facebook to keep up with my journey!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 14, 2018
Contact: Jessa Carmack
(FRESNO, CA) Hollins University, a four-year private institution of higher education located in Roanoke, Virginia, will be joining the team of scholarship donors for the Miss California Organization.
For all ‘Teen’ or ‘Miss’ contestants that have not attended college; Hollins University will provide up to a $20,000 in renewable scholarship to any contestant in the 2018 Miss California competition who applies, is admitted and decides to attend Hollins as a first-year student.
For any ‘Miss’ contestant or transfer student; Hollins University will provide up to a $18,000 in renewable scholarship to any contestant in the 2018 Miss California Competition who applies, is admitted and decides to attend Hollins as a first-year student.
“We are thrilled to have the support of Hollins University and hope to see our 2018 contestants take advantage of the generous scholarship donation they are providing,” Patricia Murray, CEO & Executive Director, Miss California Organization.
The 2018 Miss California & Miss California’s Outstanding Teen state finals preliminary competition will take place at the Saroyan Theatre in Downtown Fresno, June 27-29. Miss California’s Outstanding Teen 2018 will be crowned on Friday, June 29th. Miss California 2018 will be crowned on Saturday, June 30th.
About the Miss California Organization:
The Miss California Scholarship Organization is a volunteer based 501c(3) non-profit organization which was founded in 1924. As the Official State Final to Miss America, the Miss California Organization has awarded more than $6 million in cash and academic scholarships Miss California Organization | since the competition made its home in Fresno in 1990. Nurturing an ideal of beauty that includes dignity, courage, intelligence, creative talent and kindness, the successful contestants demonstrate a genuine commitment to serving others. Every year the Miss California’s Outstanding Teen and Miss California contestants make significant contributions to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals by raising funds and spreading awareness throughout the state. To learn more, visit misscalifornia.org.
About Hollins University:
Hollins is an independent liberal arts university dedicated to academic excellence and humane values. Hollins University offers undergraduate liberal arts education for women, selected graduate programs for men and women, and community outreach initiatives. The Hollins curriculum and cocurricular programs prepare students for lives of active learning, fulfilling work, personal growth, achievement, and service to society.
The Hollins community sustains talented students engaged in challenging study, and productive scholars and artists devoted to teaching and to the advancement of knowledge. Experiential learning, study abroad, and internships enhance the academic program. The hallmarks of a Hollins education are creativity and effective self-expression, problem solving and critical thinking skills, and independent inquiry and the free exchange of ideas.
Hollins nurtures civility, integrity, and concern for others, encourages and values diversity and social justice, and affirms the equal worth of women and men. Our university motto, Levavi Oculos, calls us to leadership and service in accord with the Hollins values and traditions.
Growing up I have always been looked down upon… literally. My short stature has always made me feel in some way inadequate. For example, in certain buildings, the mirrors are placed too high and all I can see is the top of my head. Also, some eye holes in doors are too high for me to look through.
In addition, when people first meet me they say you’re so “cute”, because you’re so “tiny”. When I was younger I took these comments graciously, but as I became older, I wanted to be noticed for more than just my height when people first met me. I wanted to be noticed and remembered for my confidence and how personable I was, rather than just my small stature.
Entering the Miss America Organization gave me the opportunity to do so. I was a fairly new teenager coming into this program and it was around the time I truly wanted to find out who I was as a person. After holding my first title as Miss Placentia’s Outstanding Teen 2015, I gained so many qualities that boosted my confidence and pushed me to be a better representative of not only myself, but of something greater than myself. I learned that I am not just what is on the outside, but I am so much more than that. I am a strong, independent woman who has her own opinion and can stand in a room and exude an inviting essence.
I’m so grateful for the Miss America Program for giving me the opportunity to find out who I am while representing the cities I love. Winning the titles of Miss Placentia’s Outstanding Teen 2015 and now, Miss Bay Area 2018 proved not only to myself of my capabilities, but also how unique this organization is. It is purely about who the women are on the inside, and shows it is not in search for a cookie cutter type. It promotes diversity and individuality, and I am honored to be part of this organization. I hope to grow even more as a woman this year as Miss Bay Area 2018 and I cannot wait for the experiences I will gain.
I know now, that I am not just a five foot girl who only sees the top of her head in mirrors, but I am a confident and successful woman, and I owe that all to the Miss America Program.