Traveling has always been special to me but being able to see the world representing the Miss District of Columbia International 2016 title has been the greatest year of my life. The opportunities I have had to meet people from different walks of life, learn about the world, and expand my platform Letters of Love have impacted my heart so deeply.
In this era of my life all that matters to me is repaying the love God has given me back to the world and make every second of my second chance count. When I survived my car accident as a teenager I was given a gift of life, forgiveness, unbreakable faith and hope that has left me forever in debt to God. Managing my schedule to fit everything I am passionate about is a part time job with a return of investment worth more than currency. To my family, friends, directors, coaches, sponsors, teammates, colleagues and mentors who have walked alongside this journey with me, thank you. You live in a corner of my heart that time and distance will never have power to fade. I love you more than life!
Throughout the year as Miss DC and with the help of many of you, I have reached beyond my goals I set when I first started competing in pageantry. I am grateful to pass down my crown this year and smile back on my memories talking to students, visiting hospital patients, welcoming home soldiers, advocating for the Trauma Survivors Network on Capitol Hill, promoting seat belt safety, modeling in The Fashion Hero television show in Mexico, sending letters to the earthquake victims in Italy, swimming with sharks in Africa, sharing my story on news and radio shows, riding in parades, working with hair/ makeup/photographers who made a small town girl like me into a beauty queen, and making pageant sisters lifetime friends.
Beyond the scenes for years I have kept a journal of my stories, miracles and travel adventures for personal archives. Although I may never share it, I will appreciate looking back on the days I felt lost without a purpose and the pageant journey that made it all worth it. I can only hope my future continues to peel open layers of my heart to people, places, and opportunities that inspire me to have faith in this world. In the end, I won’t remember the jet lag from traveling or how my feet hurt from wearing heels for hours but I will remember the way I felt as a spokesperson for Miss International when my story inspired someone to remember that the present is a gift and to live their life to the fullest.
The world is wide yet small and there are so many ways we can all get involved, how much we can learn, and how many people we can inspire in little ways. To the next Miss District of Columbia International 2017, the possibilities to show love to your hometown and make a difference around the world are limitless. As long as you stay focused on pursuing your passion, promote your platform from the heart, and believe in your wildest dreams; He will direct your flight path. Get ready to prepare your heart for departure…