When Heather and I were juniors at College of Notre Dame of Maryland, we would eat dinner most evenings in the cafeteria. Heather was unlike most of the girls at the college. She was always genuine. What I often noticed was Heather’s countenance towards the rest of her peers.
She consistently gave each person who encountered her a warm smile and accepting eyes. It’s so rare to meet someone who is non-critical or non-judmental towards anyone, really. After our junior year passed, Heather transferred to Howard University. We kept in contact off and on, but I always wondered if her nurturing spirit would ever become tainted.
Years passed and we recently re-connected at Potbelly’s in downtown Silver Spring. Her sense of style had definitely flourished over the years, she wore autumn-esque colors that accentuated her warm personality from years past.
After spending a few hours with her, I realized that she is the same amiable girl who I ate dinner with. But she is definitely more extroverted, confident and graceful than ever before.
Out of sheer curiosity, I asked her a few Q& A’s:
1.) What is your major?
My major is Health with a concentration in Physical Therapy at Howard University.
2.) What charities do you support and why?
I’m a big fan of the “Boys and Girls Club” because it allows children the opportunity to stay active and it gives them a safe environment for them to learn and to grow. I hope to continue with this charity in the immediate future. I’ve also fundraised for Children’s Miracle Network and volunteered at Central Union Mission in D.C.
3.) If you could change the world, what would you do?
I truly believe that the most effective way to change the world would be to reach out and to motivate the youth. The youth are our future and we need to protect them and inspire them to be great.
4.) What do you like to do in your spare time?
I am a self-professed foodie. I love the joyful experience that is eating! Ironically, my favorite dishes are always healthy, so it works. I am not a fan of sweets but I will try ANY cooked vegetable. Aside from food, I just enjoy being on the go. I plan on making this year my busiest yet with volunteering and simply becoming a recognizable figure in the city.
5.) What are three things most people describe you as?
Shy, sweet and caring. I always get tagged on facebook as “the innocent friend.”
6.) What has your past pageant experience been like?
My past pageant experiences have been very rewarding for me. I use every competition as an opportunity to build from. All that I ever ask of myself is that I use what I’ve learned and push myself to do better the next time.
I’ve always understood that you can’t and you won’t win them all but you do your best and come back for more. If you really want something you don’t give up on it.
Before joining the Miss DC USA system, I was top 17 for Miss Maryland USA in 2009 and received the swimsuit award in Miss Maryland USA 2010. I also competed in the Miss DC America system.
7.) What do you plan to do after the Miss U.S.A competition?
After the competition, I plan on traveling and putting my college degree to work. I also plan to continue with my volunteer work.
After our small Q& A, I was amazed over how Heather answered each and every question with unscathing eloquence and grace. It was the most natural interview I’ve had in years.
Her confidence, sense of humor and warm personality were very inviting, and her overall transformation from a shy girl to a gracefull woman made me consider entering a pageant too.
If there are any women between the ages of 14-26 years, who are interested in entering the Miss District of Columbia USA or Miss District of Columbia Teen USA 2012 pageant, they should refer to the official website for details on how to apply. They can also fan the official Facebook Page .
It’s much more than a simple contest for beauty, it’s a life experience that can transform young women and award them the tools for success. I’ve seen it done.