How long have you been competing in the Miss America Organization? Tell us a little bit about your experience!
I started competing as a Teen at the age of 15. Since then, I have participated in 13 Miss America Organization competitions. I have earned four titles, two first runner up placements, and several other runner up positions and awards. Each experience has truly contributed to the person I am today, and will continue to influence my life even after retirement.
You have a really unique platform- how did it begin?
There are a couple answers to this.
I have been the subject of sexual objectification, harassment, poor body image, and self-deprication for most of my life.
At the end of my college career, I went through what was probably the darkest time in my life. I was graduating before the rest of my friends, I didn’t get any of the professional jobs I auditioned and applied for, my main mentor/professor took a sabbatical for my final semester, I was in an emotionally devastating relationship, my grandmother passed away, I was diagnosed with skin cancer (for the first time), and was suffering from depression. At a time when my entire world was crumbling around me, and everything seemed out of my control, the one thing I COULD control was how well I took care of my body.
Between these two experiences, I started taking great interest in complete wellness: lifting, nutrition, mindfulness, spiritual health… anything that contributed to quality of life. When I decided to run for one more local pageant (that I ended up winning, which took me to Miss Iowa) I made it my platform, which is now called Ladies Who Lift.
What really excites you about lifting?
Personally, it’s just such a gratifying experience. I can’t explain the pride I feel when I look at my stats and think ‘wow – you really did that! You can squat 100 lbs over your body weight. You can do 10 strict, unbroken pull-ups. You can climb a rope like its your job!’ I love pushing my body to see what I’m capable of. God gave us these bodies to take care of while in our earthly lives; I want to make sure I serve this body to best of it’s ability, and explore everything God made it to be.
What are you most looking forward to for the rest of your reign?
Having a positive impact on people’s lives. I’ve been so blessed to hear from people who have taken the Ladies Who Lift mantra and applied it to their own lives. They think they have to thank me for everything I’ve done for them, but really, it’s my heart that is truly grateful. I’ve been given this job to serve others, and I intend to do so to the best of my ability!
What advice would you give to ladies competing for the first time?
Give more than you have, and you will have more than you give.