Tiffany: How did you get involved in National American Miss?
Jena: I got involved with National American Miss when I was 9 years old. My sister actually got involved two years before I did because she received a letter in the mail. At first, my parents were skeptical to let her compete; however, they decided to let her try it out just for one year. Much to our surprise, however, we all fell in love with NAM from the moment we arrived at the hotel and have been hooked ever since.
Tiffany:How did you prepare for the National Pageant?
Jena:While preparing for Nationals, obviously there was A LOT of practice involved. This was my third time out at Nationals as a state queen so I sort of knew what to expect, however, that didn’t stop me from practicing my heart out. I practiced my introduction to and from school while also making sure I did not “over-rehearse” so I still sounded as natural and sincere as possible. Lastly, and most importantly, I made sure I could vision myself standing and walking on the National stage with poise and confidence.
Tiffany: What is the best advice you have ever received?
Jena: The best advice I ever received was simply to never give up. I competed in National American Miss for 5 years before I ever won my first state title. The determination and perseverance I learned those first five years was what kept pushing me to not only win my first state NAM title in 2005, but become the NAM Ohio Jr. Teen in 2007, NAM Ohio Teen in 2011 and now the National American Miss Teen!
Tiffany: What quote , motto or scripture best describes you?
Jena: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford. This quote describes my attitude towards life and almost every situation that I’m faced with. You can do anything you put your mind to, as long as you have the right attitude and motivation.
Tiffany: What are your plans for the future?
Jena: Well, the first step in fulfilling my future goals is to graduate from Bluffton University with a degree in Marketing with a focus in Public Relations while also obtaining a double minor in Communications and Business Administration. After graduation, however, I plan to become a Marketing and Public Relations director of a major corporation. I hope to inspire others and make a positive impact on everyone I meet while I’m on my journey to accomplishing my many goals.
Tiffany:What activities are you involved in?
Jena: I am currently the Marketing and Public Relations assistant at Bluffton University and stay busy working, volunteering in my community, coaching gymnastics, going to my brothers sporting events and spending time with my family and friends.
Tiffany: What is one item you can’t live without?
Jena: As most teenagers would probably say, I also could not live without my cell phone. I can access the Internet to stay updated on my social media sites, receive emails, all while staying in contact with my friends and family.
Tiffany: Who is your rolemodel?
Jena: I have many people who have positively impacted my life, but the one person that I consider my role model is my older sister, Courtney. She is not only my big sister, but my inspiration, biggest supporter, and best friend. She has always taught me right from wrong and has given me a great example to follow. I am fortunate to be able to share this year with her because she is also the NAM Miss Ohio and placed 3rd runner up at Nationals. She has always been the biggest supporter of my dreams and I couldn’t have done this without her. If I become half the person she is I’ll be truly grateful.
Tiffany:What is your favorite TV show?
Jena: My favorite TV show is definitely Pretty Little Liars. It’s a show that I can watch with my family and friends, keeps my full attention, and never gets boring to watch.
Tiffany:What is the biggest misconception about your generation?
Jena:I think our generation has a lot of misconceptions but I think the biggest one is that we get too many things handed to us without truly working for them. I personally believe our generation works just as hard as any because of the tough competition we are faced with. Getting into college, making the Dean’s List or Honor Roll, the many sporting events and extracurricular activities we do and so much more. We are constantly facing competition so we can accomplish our goals and stay ahead of the game.
Tiffany: If you had three wishes what would you wish for?
Jena: My first wish would be to find a Cure for Diabetes because my family has been greatly affected by this disease. My sister, brother, uncle, grandmother and grandfather are all diabetic. Second, I would absolutely LOVE to travel to Africa to work with kids in third-world countries. My last wish is to win the lottery, not for a new car or house, but so I can pay off my student loans from college .
Tiffany: If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go?
Jena: One of my lifetime goals is to go to Africa to work with the kids living in poverty. I have wanted to travel to Africa since I was a little girl, so to finally fulfill that dream would be amazing! I have had the great privilege of meeting a beautiful little girl by the name of Alima Thiobiono that lives in Burkina Faso, Africa. She has been in the United States undergoing major surgeries that could not be performed in Africa. Being around this amazing girl has made my desire to travel to Africa even stronger so I can make an impact on other kid’s lives like she has made on mine.
Tiffany:What is your definition of a NAM girl?
Jena:My definition of a NAM girl would be a girl that has BIG dreams, a positive attitude towards life, and someone who is relatable and helpful. A NAM girl is confident with who she is, willing to work hard to accomplish her goals and wants to make a difference in the world.
Tiffany:If you could be on the cover of any Magazine what would it be?
Jena: Since I was 9 years old, the only Magazine cover I ever wanted to be on was National American Miss. And now at the age of 19, I can proudly say I will accomplish that goal this year and couldn’t be more excited to represent the pageant system that has changed my life forever.
Tiffany: If you were stranded on a deserted island what three things could you not live with out?
Jena: Of course, the first thing I would have to have with me is my cell phone. It would allow me to stay in contact with my family and friends. I also could not live without my pillow! It may sound crazy but I absolutely love my pillow and if I’m going to be on the island by myself, I have a feeling I’d be taking a lot of naps. Lastly, of course, I would bring a lot of food and bottled water.
Tiffany: What is your most prized possession?
Jena: My most prized possession is probably my phone. I am more of a talker than a texter, however, it has my email directly connected to it which is great for school and allows me to access the internet and stay in touch with my friends.
Tiffany:How would your friends describe you?
Jena: My close friends and they said they would describe me a loyal, honest, fun to be around and caring. I am definitely adventurous and outgoing and love to put a smile on people’s faces. I strive to be someone people can count on and go to if they ever need anything.
Tiffany:How are you making a difference in your community?
Jena: I am the founder of The Color of Christmas which is a project that included donating over 700 coloring books, crayons, markers, etc. to Children’s Hospitals over the Holidays. I am also an active volunteer for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in honor of my sister and brother who are Type 1 Diabetics. I am also a volunteer for Big Brothers Big Sisters, Relay for Life and the American Diabetes Association.
Tiffany: What is your favorite childhood memory?
Jena: All of my favorite childhood memories consist of my family and I traveling and just spending time together. I am blessed to have an older sister and two younger brothers who made almost every trip we went on extremely entertaining.
Tiffany:If you could go back in time and meet one person, who would it be and why?
Jena:There is one person that I’ve always wanted to meet and that is my Aunt Dalene. She was killed by a drunk driver when she was only 18 years old and even though I may not have had the chance to meet her, she has had a huge impact on my life. I am the only grandchild that is named after her and I am honored to carry on her name. I can only hope that I have made her proud.
Tiffany:If you could be famous for something, what would you want to be famous for?
Jena: If I was to be famous for anything, it would be simply to have made a difference in the lives of many people. Whether it would be finding a cure for Diabetes, helping children in third-world countries, or even just being the best National Representative possible, I believe fame is only valuable if you use it to inspire and help others.
Tiffany: Where is your favorite place to shop?
Jena: I shop at a wide variety of stores including Forever 21, Buckle, Wet Seal, Kohl’s, American Eagle, H&M, and New York and Company. However, I actually am not a huge shopper, but when I do shop, I love finding the best deals. So wherever the best deals are, that’s probably where you’ll find me
Tiffany: Who or what inspires you most?
Jena: My cousin Cole is someone who really inspires me. He is 17 years old and has been through so much already in his short lifetime. He has a brain tumor and has gone through multiple treatments of chemotherapy. However, his recovery is not what inspires me but his attitude towards life. He always has a smile on his face and sees the best in everything and everyone. He never complains about the treatments, his illness, or being different from the other kids at school. But instead, he serves as a daily reminder of how much we have to be thankful for and how we should view our own lives. Cole has taught me that life is a very special gift that we should always treasure, no matter what challenges we may face along the way.
Tiffany: What have you learned about yourself since competing in pageants?
Jena: Through competing in National American Miss, I have learned that staying true to who you are and what you believe in is the most important thing. I have learned to set my dreams and goals high and to never stop working towards them. I have also learned that one of the best things you can gain from pageants is friends. I have met some of my best friends through this system that have made my experiences even that much more special.
Tiffany: What is your definition of success?
Jena: Success is not only accomplishing your dreams, but having the courage and perseverance to make it there. Success cannot be accomplished without failure, and failure cannot be used unless it is learned from. In order to truly succeed, you must triumph over your failures and stay determined, have faith, and believe that your dreams, and success, are just around the next obstacle.
Tiffany:What advice do you have for future NAM girls?
Jena: The best advice I could give a future NAM girl would be to be yourself. As cliché as it may sound, NAM truly is looking for someone who is confident with who she is and what she stands for. NAM isn’t looking for perfection, but instead their looking for the perfect version of YOU.
Tiffany:What do you plan to do with your title this year?
Jena:Over the next year, I hope to touch as many people’s lives as possible. I have been working towards this goal since I was 9 years old and will do everything in my power to represent NAM and teens all across the country with poise and grace. I will use my title to volunteer, inspire, and promote National American Miss and everything it stands for.
Tiffany: Tell me about yourself.
Jena:My name is Jena Dalene Diller, I’m 19 years old and I’m currently a Sophomore at Bluffton University. I am majoring in Marketing with a focus in Public Relations. I work at my family’s restaurant, Grillers Tavern, that we just opened in September of 2011 and I’m also the Marketing and Public Relations Assistant at Bluffton University. I have an older sister Courtney, and two younger brothers Clay and Logan who are my three best friends. I have been with National American Miss since its beginning and I’m a huge supporter in everything NAM stands for. I am extremely determined, ambitious, compassionate, and faithful. I have been blessed with the opportunity of a lifetime and NAM has truly made me into the person I am today.