What was your first thought when your name was called?
I remember first I looked at my mom and found her in the crowd. Then I immediately started crying. This is something we all have wanted forever. There was so much emotion in the room that night. It was so exciting to be chosen.
What was your family’s reaction?
They were overwhelmed. My brother, he was who I was surprised was so emotional. He and I are super close. To see him tear up, that struck me. That’s when this all started to sink in. Then my mother was emotional too. I’m so close to her and she watched me go through all the hard work and coaching to get here. She’s definitely been the backbone of our family. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without her.
How would you describe your personality in one word?
Free. Through all of high school I’ve really come to love who I am and what I stand for. I feel more confident and comfortable with myself and with meeting new people.
What’s something interesting about you?
I do people’s makeup, I freelance with it. It’s not just a hobby, it’s something I take very seriously. I’ve done professional jobs for proms and I recently just did my first wedding. It’s not my career choice, but it’s something I love a lot and I hope to keep doing for a long time.
What are you most excited to eat at the festival?
The Island Noodle Stand. It’s so good. I cannot wait to stop by. I really, really love it.
What are you most looking forward to about the festival?
I’m most looking forward to all of the musical stuff. Not just the 24 big acts at the grandstands, but also the free entertainment in the tent. This year is also the beginning of the Battle of the Bands, which is going to be really cool.
What is your most used emoji?
That emoji that is winking and kissing at the same time with a heart.
Who is someone you admire? Who is a woman you admire?
My grandma. She was a pastor’s wife for almost 40 years and I’ve never met someone more accepting or hospitable. She loves everyone where they are and has truly taught me what it means to genuinely care for others.
What is a book or story from childhood that had an impact on your life?
A lot of the American Girl Doll books really made an impact on me. I learned so much without even realizing it about not just history, but how culturally the times were in all of their lives. Sometimes whenever someone talks about a certain decade I instantly think back to a story I read from one of those books.