One Chapter Ends as Several Begin
Miss North Carolina Week was a SLAM DUNK!
At the Show Me Your Shoes Parade I choose to dress in basketball attire since the ACC Basketball Championship was held in Greensboro for many years and is coming back in 2020!
This choice could not have been more appropriate!
This was my last year competing due to my professional life moving forward, whether I am ready or not! What began as an outlandish dream at seventeen years old finally came to fruition at twenty-four. I would not be where I am or WHO I am without the Miss America Program.
Through the years the game has changed, the ball was hidden, and new obstacles continued to pop up.
But one thing remained the same: my LOVE and commitment to what the Miss America Organization stands for.
I believe in the simple goal: Women Empowerment.
I prepared to the best of my ability and was READY for anything the judges threw at me.
They asked me a triple-part question about gun control and mental health onstage in front of hundreds of live audience members and hundreds more online!
In my private interview I was asked about legalization of marijuana, my stance on abortion, my take on dating, whether we should still appreciate the artwork of artists accused of sexual harassment, and much more.
But what people do not always realize is that answering the tough questions is simply a piece of the puzzle. It ensures that the candidate can compete at Miss America.
But the whether a candidate is qualified for the "job" of Miss North Carolina requires more than an informed and intelligent answer to hot topic issues.
It requires HEART.
It requires vulnerability.
I had the time of my life getting to speak about important topics on stage and in the interview room, strutting in my fantasy evening gown, and being sassy in my dance routine.
An experience unlike any other. FORTY-FIVE pageants... Now that my MAO career has concluded I will call them "pageants."
Forty-three local preliminaries and two state pageants later, I got to live my moment out and compete in every phase of the competition on television.
I was able to live the Top 10 moment I only dreamed about for SEVEN long years.
A moment I never thought would be a reality. When you lose forty-one local preliminaries IN A ROW, the feeling that there is something missing lingers. The feeling of not being good enough stays in the back of your mind.
Last year, in my private interview at Miss North Carolina I was asked "what was WRONG with me" because it took so long to finally win a LOCAL preliminary.
God wasn't done with me yet. THAT was what was "wrong."
Thankfully, unlike many, I believe that was what was exactly RIGHT about me.
I NEEDED to lose forty-one times to learn perseverance. I needed to know how hard it can be to GET BACK UP. I needed it to truly appreciate the success when it came June 22, 2019.
I needed to lose and get the experience that came along with "failing" to find my passion. I wouldn't trade a single hard moment for anything. It made me the BEST Carlie I could possibly be.
I could not be more humbled or filled with joy after this week. While the crown would have been a blessing, the individual hugs and words of congratulations from the other candidates, from the Carolina Princesses, from the Outstanding Teens, from strangers I won over from the stage, and from the MANY people who have poured into me over the many years of competing and in life.
Because I was able to FINALLY show vulnerability and reveal my heart, I was the true winner.
It took seven years to be able to open my heart to the judges and this process. It took seven years to find what SETS MY HEART ON FIRE. It took all this time to show me that my path is pursuing an entrepreneurial role in society. My purpose is guiding others to their personal and professional best.
I don't have all the answers. But what I do know is that the moments last week when candidates came to me for advice and counsel were the most rewarding. In between the intense focus I had in pursuing my dream of becoming Miss North Carolina, I was reminded it is not about me at the end of the day.
Taking time to ask potential interview questions and then critique the answers of my fellow candidates and friends was the MOST exhilarating and fulfilling part of the week.
I now have the opportunity to follow my passion and pursue my purpose on a whole new level.
This is the beginning of a whole new chapter.
In my private interview with the judges last week, I told them I intended to run for Raleigh City Council and be the first ever state title-holder to grace the Miss America stage as an elected official in the state she represents. The second part is impossible, but I am pretty sure there has also never been a local title-holder to accomplish such a feat! Let's do this!
This is the beginning of a whole new chapter.
Finally, I am about to embark on my third and FINAL year of law school! Meaning in just over one year I will be a licensed attorney... As long as that pesky bar exam does not get in the way!
This is the continuation of an important chapter in my life.
I am the culmination of every single person who has invested their love and support into me.
This IS not the end.
This is simply the conclusion of ONE chapter.
I’m already hard at work writing the next couple chapters.
Once in a life time experience doesn’t even begin to cover it.
I’m the luckiest girl in all of North Carolina if you ask me, but Alexandra Badgett might disagree! Congratulations on a fabulous week and good luck on the incredible journey in front of you!
Thank you to every person who has poured into my life and believed in my success.
Let's continue accomplishing new great things!