2018 brought some of my life’s greatest successes; graduation from Clemson University, earning the job of Miss North Carolina, competing on the Miss America stage, paying off educational debt, serving as an ambassador of the Miss America 2.0 rebranding, visiting every Children’s Miracle Network Hospital in the state and shaping my own legacy in an organization that shaped me. I have watched proudly as the next group of local titleholders have begun to form their own sisterhood, I have enjoyed the season of holiday parades and I anticipate the excitement that goes along with buzz of the outstanding teen competition on the horizon. The turn of a new year brings reflection and aspiration.

For years I have fallen victim to the pressures of the classic “new years resolution”. As life experiences begin to collect in my brain, I realize making a resolution to change myself is not a wise decision at all. My new outlook means moving with intention throughout 2019 with a set goal, not of change, but of creation. Asking myself to grow as a consistent person, role model, and representative of North Carolina allows me to lessen the pressure of perfection and instead, encourage personal development. With that being said, my word of intention for 2019 is “create”.

Create art.

It is not easy to admit that I have been neglecting one of my biggest passions, tap dancing. I am willing myself to carve time out of 2019 for creating art, choreography, and rhythm. There is no better release than walking into an empty dance studio, feeling wood underneath my taps, and creating a percussive masterpiece with my feet. My tap mentor, Gene Medler, professes the importance of “dancing to express, not to impress”. In 2019, I promise to create art and expression.

Create conversation.

The job of Miss North Carolina requires many soft skills (personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people) but the most prominent one is conversational skills. It brings me great joy to converse with as many people of North Carolina as I can. I have realized that no two conversations are the same. It is with conversation and genuine connection that I can share a message of inspiration and encouragement to the citizens of North Carolina. In 2019, I promise to create conversation.

Create opportunity.

Rarely do opportunities appear out of thin air. A large part of the legacy I wish to leave involves creating opportunities for our next Miss North Carolina and the sisterhood that follows in the way of scholarships and networking. I am also equally excited to continue to create opportunity for children across North Carolina to learn money management techniques by sharing my social impact initiative. A strong understanding of money creates its own set of opportunity within our society. In 2019, I promise to create opportunity.

Create unity.

Any well oiled machine is only as strong as its weakest link. As an organization that thrives on bonds, relationships and supporting one another, unity is paramount. The Miss North Carolina Organization will stand strongly united in the coming year with the unwavering efforts of our state leadership, local directors, countless volunteers and everlasting sisterhood. Miss North Carolina will always embody the characteristics of service, scholarship, style, and success with those standing beside her and those in support of her, to promote this organization of unity. In 2019, I promise to create unity within our organization.