Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Featuring Miss Florida Jr. Pre-Teen Britney Florexil



My year as your Miss Florida Jr. Pre-Teen 2015 has been so incredible. After capturing the title I was so honored to go represent the great state of Florida for my age division. NAM has given me so much confidence and taught me so many life skills. During my year of service I had the privilege to speak to young girls in my community about the importance of self-confidence. I also had the opportunity to give back to my community through volunteer service. I had the chance to volunteer for Ronald Mc Donald, the Food Bank hunger relief program and Heart 2 Heart nonprofit organization where I was able to raise $2500 for the children Orlando soccer team. 
Next I was off to national in sunny California. National was a dream come true, it was an experience I will never forget. I was excited to reunite with my sister queens and also met some amazing young girls from across the nation. Disneyland and the Hollywood Tour was so much fun. I also got to spend Thanksgiving Day with my NAMily as well as my family, which was an awesome experience. Being part of the NAMily has been a highlight in my life. The experience of Miss Florida Jr. Pre-Teen has been remarkable!! After nationals I couldn't wait to come meet girls from all over the state of Florida at open calls and training sessions. I had so much fun taking pictures with the girls and getting to know them. 
Thank you to Mr. & Mrs. Mayes for creating an organization where girls can stretch themselves and grow into confident. I also want to thank you for all the amazing staff who work so hard and dedicate themselves to help girls from across the nation. A special thanks to my awesome state director Mrs. LaKishia for always there for us whenever we need her, she show us love and treat us like true royalty. I couldn't ask for a better state director. You are truly a role model to me, as well as the rest of my sister queens.
To my mom & dad, I love you!! And I want to thank God for blessing me with such amazing parents who loves me unconditionally and always there to support me in my dreams. To my sister queens I want to thank you for sharing this amazing year with me. I love you all from the bottom of my heart.
For all the contestants I want to welcome all of you to a fun-filled exciting weekend, remember to always smile, have fun, and take lots of pictures. And to my successor, live your dream by going out and using your platform to make a difference in the world.
Best Wishes, 
Miss Florida Jr. Pre-Teen 
Britney Florexil











Monday, May 9, 2016

Meet The 2015 -2016 National All-American Miss Pre-Teen Demi Remolador!

NAM: Tell us about yourself:
Demi: My name is Demi Remolador and I am from Henderson, Nevada.
I love to sing, dance, act, model, swim, play with my dog & brothers, volunteer, and love to make people laugh! One of my goals this year is to have every single person I meet, spread a smile across their face. :)




NAM: What activities are you involved in?
 Demi: Ever since I was a little girl, I was always involved in acting, singing, dancing, and modeling. These activities ended up becoming my ultimate passion and I can’t see myself doing anything else in life! At school, I’m also the President of the National Junior Honor Society.

NAM: What are your plans for the future?
Demi:When I grow up, I would like to attend Juilliard and live my life as a famous performing artist. I would also like to start my own charity dedicated to Animal Rights and giving a home to as many furry friends as possible.

NAM: How would your friends describe you?
Demi: My friends would describe me as smart, kind, and funny because I make them laugh constantly!



NAM: What motto or quote best describes you?
Demi: “It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation” -Herman Melville. Since, I’ve been performing as an actress ever since I was the age of 4, I have definitely experienced not getting a part for an audition multiple times. This quote just reminds me that it is better to fail knowing that you tried your best and were true to yourself than to succeed and copy another person’s performance. :)

NAM: What is the best advice you have ever received?
Demi: “Just go out there, try your best, and have fun.” These words of advice from my parents were my key to anything I ever did. It always kept me confident, yet relaxed knowing that as long as I did the best I could do in that moment, as well as had fun, everything was perfectly fine!


NAM: How did you prepare for the NAM National pageant?
Demi: I had a coach who helped me with my walking, personal introduction, and interview. My coach would help me for an hour over Skype (my coach lives in a different state) and then assign me “homework” to practice that category until the next session. I would move the couches in my living room and make a mental note of where each judge would be if it was the stage. I would then practice my formal wear walk for about 15 minutes a day. As for intro, I’d look into the mirror and practice it while moving my head as though I was looking at the judges. I did this each day up until Nationals. For interview, I’d print out questions from the internet, ask myself the questions, and look into the mirror as though I was speaking to a judge. Sometimes, I would even record myself speaking it and then correct myself afterwards. I would ask myself a couple questions a day. 


NAM: Where is your favorite place to shop?
Demi: I love to shop at Forever 21 and Aeropostale! Their clothes are super stylish and comfortable. What could a girl look for more in clothing? ;)

NAM: How have pageants shaped your life?
Demi: My first pageant started with NAM back in 2013. I was very shy & quite a “newbie” to pageants. As I went through each competition, I could sense myself gaining confidence and developing a passion for pageantry (particularly for NAM). I ended up winning the state title as a Jr. Pre-Teen my first time competing! It was an absolute blessing and a special memory that I’ll cherish forever! Because of pageants, I am now able to get up in front of a crowd and be confident in who I am as a person.

NAM: What is your most prized possession?
Demi: My most prized possession is my teddy bear, Jasmine. I got Jasmine when I was very little on my first ever “Daddy-Daughter Day”. My dad got me that bear and the fact he was willing to spend his only day off hanging out with a 6 year old girl, meant the world to me.



NAM: What is your favorite movie?
Demi: I love “Big Hero 6”! “Big Hero 6” provides action, comedy, and an overall inspiring message that I love. Plus, Baymax is probably my all-time favorite Disney character! (I was actually Baymax for Halloween!)

NAM: What is your favorite TV show?
Demi: My favorite TV show is “Young & Hungry”. I not only love its hilarious and dramatic commentary, but as well as its overall message that you should follow your dreams.

NAM: What is your favorite book?
Demi: My favorite book is “Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban”. I am a Harry Potter fan all around, but this book is my favorite because of how it introduces my favorite character, Serious Black. I love the crisp details in this book as well.





NAM: What advice do you have for future NAM girls?
Demi: Have fun, try your best, and embrace yourself to the fullest! As long as you leave knowing you had fun, did the best you could do, and showed everyone there the great person you are, you’ll be happy & proud, regardless of the results.

NAM: If you could be famous for anything what would it be?
Demi: I would be famous for singing, acting, dancing, and modeling! I have been doing this since I was 4 and it’s my passion in life!

NAM: What is your dream job?
Demi: My dream job is to be a famous performing artist. This way, I can live out my passion of dancing, singing, acting, and modeling as a career!



NAM: How do you plan to use your title?
Demi: I plan to use my title as a voice for charities and causes, so that I can help bring attention to issues that need to be solved. I also plan to use my title as a way to encourage volunteerism and be a role model for young girls everywhere!

NAM: How do you volunteer in your community?
Demi: I volunteer with The Just One Project where each month, this non-profit organization holds an event meant to raising awareness to a charity or cause. Each month, they help a different cause instead of always focusing on one idea and encourage children to volunteer! They call these volunteers, just like myself, The Just One Juniors.

NAM: What is your most embarrassing moment?
Demi: I once got a huge, red zit on my nose the night before a school day. I went to school hoping no one would point it out, but sure enough, a couple people laughed and called me Rudolph. All I did was laugh along with them because I admittedly did look like Rudolph! Luckily, it was gone within a couple days, but it was still pretty embarrassing, haha!



NAM: What is your favorite subject in school?
Demi: I love English, Choir, and Science! I love how I can put my imagination into words through writing, how I can express my passion for music & singing through Choir, and how I can learn all about the world we live in through Science. I find it all very fascinating!

NAM:  If you had three wishes what would you wish for?
Demi: I would wish for a mansion that my entire family could live in, a corgi puppy because Corgis are adorable and I’ve never had one, and a 6 month long vacation that goes all around the world because I love to travel! I actually traveled to the Philippines for the first time ever this past summer and it was amazing!

NAM: What is your biggest fear?
Demi: I am terrified of paranormal activity! If I get a sense of a ghost, I get really scared! I know it’s silly, but that’s the truth!



NAM: What is the biggest misconception about your generation?
Demi: I feel the biggest misconception of my generation is that all pre-teens are ignorant and irresponsible. Of course, some pre-teens will make bad decisions, but not all of them will. There are many pre-teens who are very intelligent, respectful, kind, and responsible! There are a lot of misbehaving pre-teens, but there are a lot of well-behaved ones as well.

NAM: Who is your role model?
Demi: My role model is my oldest brother’s girlfriend, DeAnn. I’ve known DeAnn since I was four years old and we’re like sisters (she’s actually the current Miss for Nevada)! She’s always compassionate, loyal, honest, and is tons of fun to be around! I hope to be as good of person as she is when I’m older.

NAM: If you could go back in time to any historical event what would it be?
Demi: I’d want to go back in time to when the Declaration of Independence was signed. Because of this document, America was able to become its own country and did not have to be ruled by the British anymore. I feel it would be awesome to see the moment that our great nation was officially established as one.



NAM: Who is the most influential person in the world?
Demi: I’d say that the Pope is the most influential person in the world. The Pope is a public figure that millions of people look up to and seek advice from because he is representing the word of God as well as the Vatican. The Pope is a great person who definitely is a positive influence on tons of people.

NAM: If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be?
Demi: I would want to have dinner with Michael Jackson! The King of Pop made music that could range from upbeat to inspirational to thrilling. Not only was Michael a musical genius, but he had a heart of gold. As a child, he would donate food to the homeless and donated money to many charities throughout his career.

NAM: What is your favorite part about National American Miss?
Demi: My favorite part about National American Miss is how it teaches girl to embrace simply you. NAM doesn’t change you or make you feel as though you need to have a lot of makeup and the perfect body to succeed in life. Instead, it encourages you to embrace your natural beauty and personality! NAM shows girls that you can be a future American leader just by being yourself!



NAM: How did you get started with NAM? How long have you been involved?
Demi: I got started with NAM in 2013 when I received a letter in the mail from them. I was skeptical at first, but then decided to try it after it talked about self confidence. I had an “over the phone” open-call interview and was accepted to compete! I went on to compete at the state pageant and took home the title as the 2013 Miss Nevada Jr.Pre-Teen Queen. I fell in love with NAM in an instant and have been involved for almost 3 years now!

NAM: What is your definition of a NAM girl?
Demi: My definition of a NAM girl is a girl who is confident, happy, proud, caring, faithful, and inspiring. NAM teaches a girl these aspects in every single way and I’d say just about every NAM girl I’ve ever met has had these characteristics!



NAM: What do you like to do for fun?
Demi: I love to spend time with my family for fun! Whether we go watch a movie, play a board game, or even just sit and laugh with each other, I love to spend time with the people who mean the world to me.






NAM: What makes your state unique?
Demi: My state is the only place in America where you can come living a normal life as an average person and then within a few hours, be married to a stranger and have a pet monkey! Las Vegas is located in Nevada, and ANYTHING can happen in that city! What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!

NAM: What is your favorite food?
Demi: My favorite food is a Filipino dish known as Giniling. It’s a delicious meal that consists of chopped up beef, tomato sauce, vegetables, spices, and soy sauce! I could eat that every day for the rest of my life!

NAM: What makes you laugh?
Demi: My dog, Piper and my brothers, Jake & Eric make me laugh all the time. Piper is always playful and can cheer me up in an instant if I’m ever sad, and my brothers are always there to look out for me as well as keep me company!



NAM: What was your first thought you had when you captured your national title?
Demi: Honestly, in that moment so many thoughts are buzzing through your mind! I remember going down to the floor and thinking to myself, “Oh my gosh! You did it! You did it! You did it! Is this real?!? I can’t believe it! I’ve always dreamed of this happening!”. I was so speechless and happy, I burst out into tears! My face didn’t look too pretty then, but it was all worth that unforgettable moment!

NAM: People would be surprised to know what about you?
Demi: People would be surprised to find out that I have a huge family! I am half filipino so most of my relatives live in the Philippines. I have 2 full- blood related siblings and 4 half-blood related siblings; I also have nieces and nephews who are actually older than me! I even have 6 uncles and 3 aunts. As for my cousins, there’s too many to count!




Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Meet The 2015-2016 National All-American Miss Courtlyn Burris!





NAM: Tell us about yourself:
Courtlyn Burris: I’m really do think that when they describe the all American Woman that they are describing me. I am the kind of young women that other's can really can relate to from the littles that look up to me to the older women I meet when I visit my grandfather, who always impart some wisdom. I am very driven and goal oriented, I have a strong faith in God which guides my every footstep, I believe in giving back to the community and being a role model to other young women. I am also a fun loving person who’s made it my mission to learn how to longboard, windsurf and sail this year just so that I can meet a new group of people in college.


NAM: What activities are you involved in?
Courtlyn Burris: I've always been drawn to community service that serves the entire need of a person not just one aspect of their lives. Habitat For Humanity and Metropolitan Ministries both have a vision to helping families get on their feet during tough times. When our family dynamic changed when I was 12 or 13 years old I became aware very quickly that if God hadn't stepped in and opened doors for my mother to re-enter the workforce we could have been in need of housing and a helping hand. So I've organized food drives, backpack drives during back to school and donated funds to support those causes that keep families off of the streets. I also love children so I seek out opportunities to speak into the lives of young children.


NAM: What are your plans for the future?
Courtlyn Burris:  I'll be graduating soon  from the University of South Florida and embarking on a whole new set of adventures which is so exciting to me. My plan for the future is to become a psychologist, specializing in trauma counseling for children whose parents are deployed in the military. In addition to a career in psychology, I'd like to dabble in interior design and real estate. This way my creative side is being stimulated and I'll always have an alternate stream of income to fall
back on.




NAM: How would your friends describe you?
Courtlyn Burris: God fearing- my relationship with God is the most important relationship I'll ever have. Loyal- I've seen what can happen when someone isn't loyal. It hurts and builds up walls in people that are hard to break down. So I make sure I'm the person my friends and family can count on. Creative- as a kid I used to invent things all the time like contraptions to make my dolls walk and I truly believe that I invented the snuggie first but I was too young to carry it further. Finally, I'm Goofy- I love to laugh and to have fun. I like to try new things and I'm not too proud to look stupid trying them.


NAM: What motto or quote best describes you?
Courtlyn Burris: “My philosophy is that not only are you responsible for your life, but doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.” ~ Oprah Winfrey, Media Mogul and Entrepreneur

NAM: What is the best advice you have ever received?
Courtlyn Burris: This advice wasn't given to me but it was advice that I heard my sister give someone when I was about 15 years old. She told a young lady who was headed down the wrong path that “all of her life experiences didn't have to take place in her teen years.” I took that advice to heart and I cherish each stage of life that I'm in. I'm in no hurry to get to the next phase of life, I try to make the most of where I am today. I'm saving some of the best things for my later years. God forbid it all happens now, then I would peak at 20 years old and it would be alll downhill from there.




NAM: How did you prepare for the NAM National pageant?
Courtlyn Burris: The greatest thing about NAM is that they are looking for today's girl. So to prepare you really only have to know who you are and keep doing the things that make you you. While yes, there is preparation when it comes to walking on stage, delivering your introduction and getting the dress of your dreams, I hate to see girls stress out about how to present themselves to the judges in interview.  The best thing that I can say is to trust that you are already an intriguing young woman and that your story is a fascinating one that the judges will want to hear.

NAM: Where is your favorite place to shop?
Courtlyn Burris: Other than my sister’s closet,  my favorite pace to shop is a store that I discovered in St. Pete, Florida called Cotton On. It has hip clothes similar to H&M but at a more affordable price. I learned early from my mom and sister about how to have beauty on a budget. So I also love vintage and thrift stores for timeless pieces at an affordable price.

NAM: How have pageants shaped your life?
Courtlyn Burris: pageants have allowed me to meet young women that I'd never have crossed paths with. These women are accomplished, giving, funny on top of being poised and beautiful. We push each other to be the best that we can be. I've always been outgoing but pageants have allowed me to channel that energy. Finally, for me pageantry has been about goal setting and trying things I think are beyond my grasp. So I'd have to say that pageants have made me more brave in some areas.



NAM: What is your most prized possession?
Courtlyn Burris: I hate to say it but my phone. Today most people can get away with losing a lot of things but our phones have become a lifeline. My phone has a Bible, all of my pictures, all of my memories and with my phone nearby know that the people I hold nearest to me are just a keystroke away.

NAM: What is your favorite movie?
Courtlyn Burris: I am a movie fanatic, so it’s nearly impossible for me to pick a favorite movie, but my favorite genre would have to be action thriller because I love those parts of a movie that make me lean forward in my seat. I recently saw Star Wars with my mom. I loved it but the best part was watching her squealing and fangirling in her seat. I guess I know where I get it from now.

NAM: What is your favorite TV show?
Courtlyn Burris: my favorite tv show is Pretty Little Liars. The show came out when I was still in high school. It's a fictional drama about a group of five girls, and someone is watching their every move and exploiting them,  destroying their lives in the process. This person is “A”. It took us five years to figure out who A was, so I guess you can say I am dedicated when it comes to this show!




NAM: What is your favorite book?
Courtlyn Burris: My favorite books will always be the Twilight Saga. The love connection between the two main characters really captured me, and no matter how many times I read that book it makes me feel like I’m a part of this alternate reality in some way or another.

NAM: What advice do you have for future NAM girls?
Courtlyn Burris: I hate to sound “Oprahesque” but my advice is for you to be your authentic self and live your authentic life. If you waste time trying to be what you think the world is looking for in a “winner” we all lose. You lose because you can't maintain the charade forever and we lose out because we never got to know the “real” you.

NAM: If you could be famous for anything what would it be?
Courtlyn Burris:  I have hope that one day I will wake up and just have the singing voice of an angel! Aside from dancing, I think singing is the most beautiful thing we can do with our bodies. Every voice is so different, and so unique. If I were blessed with a beautiful singing voice, I would love to share that with the world. For now I’ll just stick to singing in my shower!



NAM: What is your dream job?
Courtlyn Burris: My dream job would be having a show on HGTV with my best friend as a famous Interior Designer. We watch that tv channel all the time and it gives me so many great tips on how to style my room at home, or even my dorm in college. Whenever I visit home I always find myself rearranging my mom’s furniture, or fixing the throw pillows a new way! I like to think I have a good eye for design.

NAM: How do you plan to use your title?
Courtlyn Burris: One of the reasons I began doing pageants was because I watched how my sister went from being really shy to being more outgoing. While I was never shy I know that there are girls who suffer from self-esteem issues and would benefit from having a visible role model who is comfortable with who she is, who is goal oriented, fun-loving, dedicated to her education and future. Being the All-American queen will continue to give me a broader platform to continue being a role model for other girls.


NAM: How do you volunteer in your community?
Courtlyn Burris: I've always been drawn to community service that serves the entire need of a person not just one aspect of their lives. Habitat For Humanity and Metropolitan Ministries both have a vision to helping families get on their feet during tough times. When our family dynamic changed when I was 12 or 13 years old I became aware very quickly that of God hadn't stepped in and opened doors for my mother to re-enter the workforce we could have been in need of housing and a helping hand. So I've organized food drives, backpack drives during back to school and donated funds to support those causes that keep families off of the streets.




NAM: What is your most embarrassing moment?
Courtlyn Burris:  I believe I was 14 years old when I competed for the Central Florida JR. Teen title at NAM. I remember they called my name for placing in the spokesmodel competition and as soon as I hit the middle of the stage, BAM! I fell flat on my butt. One of my good friends, Elizabeth, tried to help me up and then one of her trophies fell on my head, causing me to fall down again! I was so embarrassed because the audience was full of people and there was no way anyone could’ve missed it. I still placed 3rd runner up so that goes to show you can recover from anything!

NAM: What is your favorite subject in school?
Courtlyn Burris: I am a psychology major, most of my classes have to do with psychology. Last semester I took Spanish 2 and 3 and I absolutely loved that class. I was so proud of myself for how well i was able to pick up the language after studying every night. The class only had 10 people in it which really made it more hands on, because we were able to have more personal conversations with the teacher, also I wasn’t as nervous when it came to speaking in Spanish in front of my peers.

NAM:  If you had three wishes what would you wish for?
Courtlyn Burris: First I'd wish for unlimited wishes! Then I'd wish and pray for wisdom to make the right wishes. After that, the unlimited wishes thing would cancel out the need of the third wish. LOL!



NAM: What is your biggest fear? Courtly Burris; My biggest fear was change. Growing up there were a lot of changes in my life, good and bad. While I’ve always been able to cope with change, there are times when I loved my life the way it was and wanted it to stay that way, but then life happens. Sometimes, I’ll find myself resisting change, but it is inevitable and the outcome of any change is uncertain. That's why I'm glad I continued to do pageants. Competing helps me cope with uncertainty and being flexible. Things don't always work out the way we planned but learn to we trust God’s plan and carry on.

NAM: What is the biggest misconception about your generation?
Courtlyn Burris: The biggest misconception is that we are all self absorbed. Yes, we can be called the “selfie” generation but most of us have very interesting things going on in our lives. We are also very philanthropic, motivated toward success and creative.

NAM: Who is your rolemodel?
Courtlyn Burris: My sister, Cameron, is my role model. As a little girl I was the annoying sister that wanted to do whatever she was doing, have whatever she had and be wherever she was at any given moment. Now, I see her as a goal oriented, driven young woman. She worked hard and made her dreams come true. I watched her forge her own path, develop her own opinions and stay true to her values in everything she did. So in true Courtlyn style I constantly follow the breadcrumbs that she leaves for me. But I put my own twist in the path.



NAM: If you could go back in time to any historical event what would it be?
Courtlyn Burris: I'd go back to the time when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus. That took so much strength and determination for her to break an unfair law. I'd like to sit next to her and draw from her strength. I'd like to be a rule breaker and shakeup the world right along with her.

NAM: Who is to most influential person in the world?
Courtlyn Burris: That's tough because in the past to be an influential person in the world you had to have reach and finances. For example, Oprah had a book on her nightstand and did a tour of her house all of the sudden, the book was in such demand that the printer couldn't  keep up with the orders. Now, with high quality videos that can be made from your phone  and social media platforms, anyone can be influential in any given moment. Such as this past holiday season, there was the guy who gave the video review for Patti LaBelle’s Sweet Potato Pies. His simple video cause a nationwide pie shortage in 2 days that lasted three weeks! So I think if you have something to say, say it. Get your message out there and you never know, you can be the most influential person in the world for at least a moment.

NAM: If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be?
Courtlyn Burris: Ellen Degeneres would be the perfect person to have dinner with. I’ve watched her show on Tv and she is so personable, funny, and she is always open to giving back to the world because of how blessed she is. She's comfortable with who she is and doesn't let anyone decide how she should be portrayed. Her main goal in life is just to make people smile and laugh, and I think I can learn a lot from her. At the end of diner, I'd show her my dance moves and maybe learn a few from her.



NAM: What is your favorite part about National American Miss?
Courtlyn Burris: My absolute favorite part of NAM are the interviews! I love that one on one time with the judges where I can really be myself. My main goal in interview is to get each judge to know at least three core values about myself, and to make them laugh! I try not to gives the judges the answers that I think they want me to hear, instead I speak from the heart and everything else flows.

NAM: How did you get started with NAM? How long have you been involved?
Courtlyn Burris: Our family came to NAM for practice for another pageant not expecting my sister to win the state preteen title. My sister had so much fun she said, even before she won, that she'd come back to NAM again and again. When she came back the following year to crown, the staff was so kind to me and I wasn't even their queen. They let me help out, gave me a blanket that I still have and took an interest in not just what my sister was doing but what I was doing as well. I've competed on and off in pageants since I was 8 and competed at NAM state three times and Nationals twice. The first time I competed was at the state preteen pageant and I made top 15. The second time, I competed for state junior teen and I earned 3rd runner up. The last time I competed at the state pageant I was 1st runner up in the teen division and went to Nationals and was in the top 10 for the All-American Teen division.  This year, I decided that since I'd be graduating soon and my life would be changing I'd take this last opportunity to compete for the All-American Title as a Miss. I'm so glad that I made that choice. It's one that I know will change my life forever.

NAM: What is your definition of a All-American NAM girl?
Courtlyn Burris: I think the true definition of the All-American title is a girl with perseverance and determination. All of the AA contestants who come to nationals have competed for their state titles and though we didn’t win the state title we were still accomplished young women either placing in the queen's court or winning an optional competition. We could’ve given up then but instead we still feel like we have something to offer the National American Miss organization. Through perseverance we tried a little harder and come back to compete, but this time at the national level, and I think that says a lot about every All-American contestant.


NAM: What do you like to do for fun?
Courtlyn Burris: For as long as I can remember I love to dance hip hop. A friend of mine teaches a hip-hop cardio class on my college campus and I help him with a lot of the choreography for the class. I play piano by ear and love to learn new songs with my boyfriend. Since he's a marine stationed in another state, we have virtual dates teaching each other songs sometimes long distance. I also love riding my bike. In Florida we get so many days of beautiful beach weather, so why wouldn’t you want to spend that day outside? Lastly I am proud to say that I am a true video gamer. I love playing games like Battlefield 4 or Call of Duty, and I think it’s so funny when guys realize they got beaten by me because my screen name is “fl_sweetheart”!

NAM: What makes your state unique?
Courtlyn Burris: This is a trick question. Lol! We are all unique and created for a specific purpose. I think what makes me unique is that I embrace my uniqueness. So many young women try so hard to fit into places and situations that they were not designed for instead of being who they are and creating their own space in the world. So my uniqueness is that I don't mind standing out!

NAM: What is your favorite food?
Courtlyn Burris: Lasagna is my favorite food right now, but my go to food item would be pizza. I will never get tired of pizza!



NAM: What makes you laugh?
Courtlyn Burris:
What makes me laugh is just being surrounded by funny people. Life can be hard sometimes and some people make it harder by taking themselves too seriously. One of the reasons I fell in love with my boyfriend of over 4 years was because of his sense of humor. He says that, one of the reasons he fell in love with me is because he saw a goofy girl skipping down the hall in school, not caring what anyone else thought about her. Our ability to laugh and find the joy in just living keeps us all living an abundant life.

NAM: What was your first thought you had when you captured your national title?
Courtlyn Burris: Honestly, my first thought was “stop crying because if you get makeup on your dress your mom will kill you.”  Lol! Seriously I was in such shock I don't think I could form a coherent thought. Then when Michaela won too I was ecstatic. We have known each other since I was 13 and our families have gotten close. We even live about 15 minutes away from each other. So finding out I'd get to end my NAM career with one of my best friends was amazing.

NAM: People would be surprised to know what about you?

Courtlyn Burris:  I think people would be surprised to know that I’m not as girly as everyone thinks I am. I remember growing up, I would get teased because I “spoke too proper” or “dressed too well”. I was only seen as a girly girl who does beauty pageants, acting and modeling. In reality, the first time I was allowed to wear makeup at a natural pageant, I almost refused to wear it. Even up to a few years ago, my mom would have to beg me not to rip off the false eyelashes until I got back into the hotel room because I'd take them off as soon as I got off of the stage. I also like to do a lot of activities that you probably wouldn’t guess I’d do. I love paintball, playing video games, and basketball. I learned how to longboard just so I could meet a new group of friends when I first went to college. People always think they know me and are shocked when they realise how completely off their impression of me is.


Friday, March 25, 2016

Miss Ohio Pre-Teen Cover Girl Lily Middendorf Collects Water for Flint Michigan!



Miss Ohio Pre-Teen Cover Girl Lily Middendorf and The Mayor of The Village of St. Bernard collected and hauled 10,416 bottles of water to help those in Flint, Michigan! Way to go Lilly for making a difference and really helping those in need! 



Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Highlights from The NAM National Photo Shoot 2016!


Check out highlights from the NAM National Photo Shoot 2016! One of the amazing prizes of capturing a NAM National is the opportunity to take part in this amazing experience! Keep your eyes out for new pictures of The 2015-2016 NAM National Queens! 












Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Get To Know The 2015-2016 National American Miss Michaela Abelgas!




NAM: Tell us about yourself:
Michaela: I am a 20 year old college sophomore at the University of Florida majoring in Biology and minoring in Mass Communications, in the hopes of pursuing a career as a Pediatric Dentist. I wanted to strike a balance between my love for science, journalism, and being in front of the camera. With this heavy course load, you will often find me in the library with Starbucks in hand!

My family and I migrated from the Philippines when I was 10 years old leaving behind a very comfortable life, family and friends. Transitioning into a new culture and a different lifestyle was extremely hard however we were blessed to have found very supportive neighbors and friends. Now I can say that my family is a hybrid of the best of the American culture and the traditional Filipino values. I can proudly say that I speak three different languages!

NAM: What activities are you involved in?
Michaela: I am an active member of my sorority Zeta Tau Alpha – Gamma Iota Chapter where I participate in philanthropy, service, and sisterhood events weekly! This is something I am very passionate about because I have found my best friends through this sisterhood and continue to find girls who are driven, passionate, and involved.

One of the greatest things that have stemmed off from pageants, is that I have had the honor and privilege to emcee for numerous local, state, national, and international pageants and events. I love being able to travel around the country to host great productions and grow as a public speaker and as a person.

NAM: What are your plans for the future?
Michaela: I am someone who is very goal driven and one of my biggest dreams is to set up my own practice as a renowned pediatric dentist.  With the University of Florida being ranked as one of the top dental schools in the country, I spend countless hours in the library, sipping ounces upon ounces of Starbucks coffee a week, making sure I can attain the highest GPA possible in a very competitive class. I believe in my grandfather’s motto, “The seeds that you sow today are the very fruits that you will reap tomorrow.” In addition, I would love to star on my own TV show delivering the latest news, fashion, and celebrity gossip!


NAM: How would your friends describe you?
Michaela: If my friends were to be asked, they would say that I am someone who is very bubbly, quirky, and loud! I love to make the most of every moment and to remind the people around me to not take life too seriously! They would also share my obsession of Snapchatting every little exciting thing that occurs in my live as well as trying to capture the perfect Instagram picture and caption. (Perfect filters and a witty caption are a must, am I right ladies?!”

NAM: What motto or quote best describes you?
Michaela: A quote I love to share to others is “There is no such as failure, only delayed success.” I acknowledge that life is not always perfect – it has its ups and downs and we do not always get what we have hoped for. But it is very important to keep an optimistic attitude and to believe in God’s plans for us.

This quote hits home for me because I have strived to capture the NAM National title for so many years! I have come so close to the national title as a runner up in 2011 and 2014 in the Jr.  Teen and Teen division. I have been disappointed but I know that I simply had to put my faith in God and continue to prepare, learn from my mistakes, and hope that I will one day find my judges – and I did.

NAM: What is the best advice you have ever received?
Michaela: My dad has always instilled in me the importance of being optimistic. Life is not always perfect – with its many challenges and frustrations, it is easy to doubt yourself and your future, however you simply need to be positive and recognize that God has great plans for all of us in His own time.



NAM: How did you prepare for the NAM National pageant?
Michaela: Though it was very different and difficult to prepare for NAM Nationals as a college student who could not always come home to practice, preparing for NAM was still fun for me as it was a family activity! My entire family got so involved. My parents became my pageant coaches. My brother offered to do all the household chores so my sister and I would have more pageant practice time. They were very supportive as they knew that I had to strike a balance between school and my preparations. I would Facetime my Dad to practice Interview and Personal Introduction and when I came home for the weekend, that is when Formal Wear and Casual Wear were being practiced.

NAM: Where is your favorite place to shop?
Michaela: I love shopping at Agaci and Sephora! You will definitely see me shop till I drop!

NAM: What is your favorite TV show?
Michaela: Whether it’s on my Netflix account or on TV, you can always find the TV show “Forensic Files” running. I am so intrigued by the mystery of the murder and kidnapping cases as well as how the detectives use science and forensics to close the case. “Investigation Discovery ID” is my favorite TV network and though it freaks my mom out during the night, I have a deeply rooted interest in it. In fact, something people do not know about me, is that I actually tried to minor in Forensics and Criminology! This is something that I am extremely passionate and interested about.



NAM: What is your favorite book?
Michaela: I am an avid reader and a giant bookworm! I could read the large Harry Potter books in one day! Though I love my J.K. Rowling novels, my favorite book is “A Child Called It” by Dave Pelzer. It is about a young boy who is physically, mentally, and emotionally abused by his mother. This book was very touching and it made me appreciate my mom even more. I am so grateful for all the sacrifices she makes to give my family everything we want and need. Also, the book has taught me to never judge someone because we may not always have the complete story of what they are going through. It is vital for us to do even the little things to make a positive impact in someone else’s life.

NAM: How do you plan to use your title?
Michaela: Having waited years to hold the NAM National title, I plan to use the crown and banner as a microphone and a platform to touch the lives of others. Through appearances, volunteer service opportunities, and social media I hope to be a beacon of hope to never give up on your dreams no matter the obstacles and to show the world the importance of staying true to yourselves while serving others.

NAM: How do you volunteer in your community?
Michaela: My sister and I started our own non-profit organization, “Crowns and Tiaras for a Cause” five years ago that centers around the platform, “Alzheimer’s Awareness.” Living in a retirement area, we understand the importance of giving back to the elderly who have imparted knowledge and life values. We visit nursing homes around Florida and speak to the families as well as scrapbook with the patients to help jog their memories.

NAM: What is your biggest fear?
Michaela: I am afraid of the dark! Horror movies have caught up with me as I cannot sleep at night without a lamp on or go anywhere that is pitch black.



NAM: What is the biggest misconception about your generation?
Michaela: I believe that the media has shaped an image where my generation is apathetic and self-centered. However, my generation is exactly the opposite. We are a generation of growing leaders, and volunteers. I have met numerous people who have their own organizations and even companies that give back to the community and help the world move forward with their talents and intelligence. My generation is ambitious, strong, and giving.

NAM: Who is your role model?
Michaela: My mom is my biggest role model and real life Superwoman. As a nurse, she works 12 hours a day to provide for her family and she has sacrificed so much simply to watch her children reach their dreams. Her kind heart and soul is extraordinary and I hope that I can be half the wife, mother, and woman that she is.

NAM: If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be?
Michaela: I would love to sit down and have dinner with Olympic gymnast, Gabby Douglas and talk about the hardships and sacrifices she endured to chase after her life dreams. Having left her family to train, I want to get insights on how she managed to stay optimistic and goal driven – two things I strive to have in my every day endeavors.

NAM: What is your favorite part about National American Miss?
Michaela: I love how National American Miss recognizes the importance of having young women to stay true to themselves. They do not promote unrealistic image goals but rather encourages them to embrace their imperfections, love what they are blessed with, and use their qualities to impact the world. The pageant highlights what today’s modern young woman is all about – goal driven, independent, but also, family-oriented and giving; the very same qualities I strive to have each day.


NAM: How did you get started with NAM? How long have you been involved?
Michaela: I received a letter in the mail inviting me to attend the state pageant and my mom jumped to the chance of being able to finally use what I learned through modeling and transfer it to pageants! However, my dad was very apprehensive because he had doubts of what pageants would bring out in me – unrealistic body image, importance of outward appearance, and the values that it represented. With this, my mom did her research on NAM and found out how life changing and positive the organization was! She actually signed me up for the pageant without my dad knowing and told him a month before the pageant to start preparing!  Of course, my dad was the supportive and loving father that he was. Now, my dad is actually my “pageant coach” and embraces the positive influence and impact National American Miss has had on his two daughters and the entire family.

NAM: What is your definition of a NAM girl?
Michaela: To me, a NAM girl is the modern girl – someone who is ambitious, goal-driven, independent, but is also family oriented and giving. She knows the importance of making a positive impact in her community while balancing her life with faith, education, and fun!

NAM: What do you like to do for fun?
Michaela: I am a big computer nerd and enjoy video scrapbooking through numerous multimedia programs and soft wares! You can always find me with my laptop playing around with pictures and videos. Also, I love being spontaneous and going on adventures with my best friends and discovering the coolest places (with a camera ready in hand of course!).


NAM: What makes your state unique?
Michaela: Florida is the haven of paradise. However, we are much more than just our beautiful beaches and theme parks. Florida boasts several festivals and fiestas throughout the year celebrating different cultures such as the Filipino Festival, Greek Festival, and Puerto Rican Festival. Like the United States, Florida is a melting pot so it is admirable that we celebrate and accept different cultures, heritages, religions, and languages!

NAM: What is your favorite food?
Michaela: I do not mind getting messy with buffalo wings! It may not always be the best idea for a first date or dinner before Homecoming pictures (lesson learned), I can eat buffalo wings every day of the week.

NAM: What was your first thought you had when you captured your national title?
Michaela: “Finally” was the first and only thing that I could mutter when Joy Soprano announced me as the winner. After years of being so close to the national title, I was overwhelmed that my dreams finally met reality. Everything happened so fast and my emotions were at an all time high. I remember that my heart was so full when I looked at the audience and I could see my family, friends, and even strangers stand up and cheer. Hands down, greatest moment of my life thus far!

NAM: People would be surprised to know what about you?

Michaela: People would be surprised to find out that I can walk better in high heels than on sneakers! Also, many would not expect how clumsy I am! Having won the Casual Wear Modeling Competition since 2008 and capturing three National Casual Wear Modeling titles, many assume that I am as graceful offstage as I am onstage however I have broken my arm, leg, and ankle countless times simply from walking on the sidewalk! In fact, I already brought crutches to my college apartment in case of any future incidents!




Michaela Abelgas The 2015-2016 National American Miss