Pop / Jazz Vocal
I am a woman who struggles with generalized anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder, and borderline personality disorder. As a product of Georgia’s public school system, I can attest to the lack of support and resources provided to students who struggle with their mental health. Prior to college, I was often tormented for my spinal health as Scoliosis, a fractured vertebrae, and a birth defect affected my body’s shape. These obstacles also caused my clothes to fit improperly, instigating harassment from my peers. However, in 2015, I underwent spinal fusion back surgery through Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, which ultimately helped me realize that my spinal problems were never my main issue. I spent too long denigrating myself for arbitrary flaws that I now realize help define who I am. Beauty is never dependent upon the approval of others: it is self-defined and entirely self-created. • • • The point of my story is to spread the message across the nation that you can ‘be your own beautiful’. You do not have to be perfect. You do not have to have all the answers (or even half of the answers). And you certainly do not have to have your life on track all the time. Through Be Your Own Beautiful, I focus on advocating for the destigmatization of mental illness and resource implementation for adolescents to receive the help they deserve. • • • Most public schools utilize a "counseling" department, yet the majority of counselors are unequipped to effectively aid students with anything other than their academic endeavors. As a result of my personal mental health challenges, I fully empathize with every student in the Georgia public school system who feels unsupported, overlooked, or cast aside by the system they are engulfed in. Nearly 25% of students across the nation struggle with mental illness, and if more resources were available to them at a younger age, I am confident there would be a decrease in that statistic. • • • A key component to helping people care about mental health destigmatization and resource implementation is to share real stories. I share my experiences face to face, at events, and through my many technological outlets such as Instagram, Facebook, my website, and email marketing campaigns. My personal mental health journey connects me to the core of my campaign, which helps me better market and broadcast Be Your Own Beautiful on a national scale. • • • A few of my most significant milestones amid the rest include: 1) Spoke on behalf of Be Your Own Beautiful at the Georgia State Capitol, and helped pass legislation; 2) Created and distributed a mental health podcast series to iTunes networks across the globe; 3) Raised over $4,500 for psychiatric and orthopedic departments at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta; 4) Became the published author of a mental health guidance book entitled The Self-Care Journal; 5) Lobbied for the institution of The Self-Care Journal into Georgia public schools; 6) Wrote and directed a short documentary on the stigma surrounding mental illness; 7) Met with First Lady Marty Kemp to design a mental health week to be implemented by 2020; 8) Created a Be Your Own Beautiful development program to introduce to Girl Scouts, Girls Inc., and Boys & Girls Clubs of America. • • • My willingness to share my story perfectly positions me to advocate for adolescents across the country. As Miss Georgia and ultimately Miss America, I will advance the work I have already done to destigmatize mental illness and implement resources enabling students to receive the help they deserve.
"Be Your Own Beautiful" Founder • Published Author • Advocate • Philanthropist
1,500+ hours of community service since 2014; Wrote & directed an original play; Performed in Carnegie Hall; Published podcast creator on iTunes; Spoke and successfully supported legislation at the Georgia State Capitol on Mental Health Awareness Day; Coded a video game for the blind; Was pepper sprayed; Drove over 2,500 miles as Miss Rome; Donald Duck impersonator; Editor for a feature film on the refugee crisis in West Africa.