Growing up, all I wanted to be was Miss America and for the last 12 years I’ve pointed my life in the trajectory to reach that goal. I’ve been stretched, challenged, squeezed, molded in ways I never thought I could be but I’m forever grateful for this organization for providing a space for me to grow. I’m still baffled that I actually got the chance to walk on that stage and live this dream.
Miss America has been an infrastructure for me to serve, do good in this world, make a difference and dream. It’s taught me to work hard, care about people and expect more out of life.
It’s a weird feeling to know that something you’ve been dreaming about since you were 6 is over and gone in a matter of moments. The accumulation of years of training, studying, and practicing ultimately lies in the hands of 7 celebrities and results in a 2 hour event and is then gone forever.
It broke my heart to not hear my name called in the top 15 because I deeply wanted to dance for America and share with them why I’m so passionate about people and this amazing organization, but it was not meant to be for me and I am more committed to the future than I am to the past.
I am humbled and so blessed to be able to serve as Miss Washington for the remainder of this year and continue to reap the blessings this wonderful program offers. I’m reminded again and again that I don’t need recognition or an earthly prize to validate my worth and I don’t need to seek other people’s affirmations to prove my value. Value and worth are independent of success and the results of this one event do not negate the rest of God’s purpose for my life.
When I prayed over my dreams and journaled about my goals, the phrasing I used was “I’m believing to become Miss America 2018” and looking back, I really think I did. I just don’t have the crown. Never in my life have I felt more like Miss America than I did on that stage and than I do right now. I’ve said this since I was 16 and still believe it’s true today: you don’t need a crown to be Miss America and you don’t need a crown to make a difference.
I believe the qualities I possess, my actions and heart are reflective of what a Miss America is and I will strive to live my life in a way that sets a good example to those around me because I remember what an impact the women that competed and former Miss America’s had on me.
There is a giant Miss America crown that hangs over the entire stage in Atlantic City and we all were under that crown. We all have what it takes (even if you’re not a state queen) to be Miss America and I believe we are called to a higher way of life!!
Cara, I am SO excited for you and to watch how you change our country with your big heart this year. You can’t do it alone, so be comforted knowing you have 50 sisters behind you and to the side of you holding you up and supporting you on this journey. You are going to be exceptional so dare greatly and give it all you have. Love you so much sister.
Thank you times a million Jesus for giving me this opportunity and teaching me so many valuable things about life and your love through Miss America. I am liberated and refreshed to close this massive, amazing chapter of my life and begin to set new goals, believe in new dreams and take the next step.