The door opens today for my opportunity to be Miss America 2.0 for 2019. Beginning the competition with my interview; my chance to tell the judges why it is necessary they elect me to the office of a social change agent championing my social impact initiative, women’s issues, and the Children’s Miracle Network, my competition begins to be North Carolina’s first Miss America since the crowning Maria Beale Fletcher in 1961. Should I be successful in my quest, I would be North Carolina’s second Miss America and the 14th Miss North Carolina to make the initial elimination into the final night of competition since the competition began being televised in the 1950s. I refer to this as my quest because it is in my hands and my competition lies within me and me only.

When I entered into the organization three years ago, I learned steadfastly that competition is a personal mindset, not a series of comparison to others. In order to win I had to focus solely on myself and ensure I presented what I wanted the judges and organization to see. That knowledge has served me well throughout my involvement in the organization. I believe in myself and believe it will serve me well as I begin the competition that only a select few young women ever have the chance to do. I am here a product of my best efforts and what I will present in the interview room and in the fairytale moment when my heeled foot hits the Convention Hall stage for the first time is exactly what I want our nation to see. I am a strong young woman. I am capable of understanding and executing businesses. My taste is defined by my sense of self rather than labels and price tags. I am relevant to my peers.

I get one chance to do this; one and only one. I am proud of myself for earning the opportunity and even more proud that I am representative of our nation’s young women. Like all young women, I have battled and will continue to battle insecurities. I have faced self-doubt and I have overcome it. I have victimized myself in a comparison to others before realizing the value of self above all other things. Most importantly, I look in the mirror today and love the woman I see because in spite of all those internal struggles, struggles we all face at times, men and women alike, I am happy with me. Today the conclusion of my competition commences and I claim a personal victory here and now for reaching a level of self-actualization as a competitor in the Miss America Organization.

I want to represent Miss America 2.0 for 2019 and I will enter the interview room and step on the stage tonight ready to give each split second my personal best. I will give you all every ounce of talent God gave me and put the outcome in His hands. I begin the ceremonial part of this fairytale adventure today knowing my glass slipper fits me quite well as I molded the slipper to my foot, not wore it to please others. From this moment forward I fight passionately for the fairytale ending.