Tiffany: How did you get involved in National American Miss?
Courtney: My first ever experience with pageantry was at the Miss America Pageant in 2004. My family and I traveled to Atlantic City to support Miss Virginia 2003, Nancy Redd. I was inspired by the intelligent, talented, and beautiful contestants. When I also saw many young girls walking around with crowns and banners, I thought I could “buy one” at the souvenir stand. I soon found out that they had earned their titles in pageants. A few months later, I received an invitation to take part in the National American Miss program and asked my parents if I could participate. Their answer was yes and the rest is history!
Tiffany: How did you prepare for the National Pageant?
Courtney: I always thoroughly read and review the rules and requirements, then I prepare and practice. I set aside at least 2 hours a week to rehearse introduction, talent, and spokesmodel, or some other aspect of the competition. I also know the importance of having a healthy body and mind. During the months leading up to the competition, I eat healthy, go to the gym, take vitamins, and get plenty of rest!
Tiffany:What is the best advice you have ever received?
Courtney: My grandfather told me to always do my best and have fun, then “You either win or your learn.” Every time I compete I see it as a way to grow as a person. Whether that growth includes making new friends, performing a new song in talent, gaining the confidence to speak in front of a room full of people or working on interview skills. I know that these are all valuable life skills that will benefit me in the long run.
Tiffany:What quote, motto, or scripture best describes you?
Courtney: “When you dream the impossible, you will do the incredible.” I am someone who has dreams of making it big in the entertainment industry. I know it will take a lot of self discipline, hardwork, practice, and time; however, I will continue to hold on to these dreams because I want to change people’s lives through performance.
Tiffany:What are your plans for the future?
Courtney: I plan to graduate from JMU with honors and to pursue a career in the performing arts. I also plan to establish the “Jamison International Arts Academy” with my brother. I have seen the benefits of the performing and visual arts on the lives of youth. I dream of being able to foster this love of the arts and encourage children to explore their creativity.
Having a blast in Florence, Italy!
Tiffany:What activities are you involved in?
Courtney: I am involved in the JMU Overtones A Cappella Group, the National Society for Leadership and Success, the JMU Honors Program, and various shows with the JMU School of Theatre and Dance. Be sure to check out the JMU Overtones on Youtube and Facebook! We also have a few CDs out!
Tiffany: What do you like to do for fun?
Courtney: I also love to watch movies with family and friends, read, sing, dance, and travel for fun!
Tiffany: Who is your rolemodel?
Courtney: I actually have two role models. My first is Audra McDonald. She is probably known best for her role on Private Practice. However, she is also a 5 time Tony Award winner, and a fantastic singer and actress. My second is Jennifer Lawrence. Although she’s only three years older than me, she’s already an Oscar Award winning actress. What I love most about Jennifer is her ability to stay humble and stay true to herself. She’s not afraid to say what she’s thinking and she’s confident in who she is as a person. I would love to model my career after both of these ladies.
Tiffany: What is your favorite TV show?
Courtney: I watch a lot of different TV shows mostly due to the fact that my brother and friends recommend so many. My favorite show at the moment is Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. I’ve always been fascinated with shows about solving mysteries (ie my first ever favorite show was Scooby Doo). Sherlock is a contemporary imagining of the stories of Sherlock Holmes. It’s really well made.
Tiffany: What is the biggest misconception about your generation?
Courtney: The biggest misconception about my generation is that we are not compassionate. Everyone thinks that we are obsessed with our social media, our Iphones, and ourselves. Many of my friends would go above and beyond for each other. I have also had the opportunity to meet girls through National American Miss and other organizations who truly care about making a positive difference in the world.
Starring in "Spring Awakening"at JMU
Tiffany: If you had three wishes what would you wish for?
Courtney: My first wish would be to end all violence, racism, bullying, and overall hatred. I feel that we’ve made strides to eliminating these things; however, we’ve got a long way to go. It saddens me when I see countless acts of violence in news reports. My second wish would be to find a cure for cancer. My family has been devastated by the loss of loved ones. I’ve also seen many children through the Children’s Miracle Network suffering. If I could take that pain away from them and their families, I would be eternally happy. Lastly, I wish to be a successful film and television actress so I can be best friends with Jennifer Lawrence and Beyonce, take care of my parents, family, and friends, and spend the rest of my life doing what I love.
Tiffany: If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go?
Courtney: I spend a month in Florence, Italy this past summer and would love to go back there. I’d also love to travel the Great Wall of China, Egypt, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, and Sydney, Australia. I love traveling, so of course I want to go everywhere!
Tiffany:What is your definition of a NAM girl?
Courtney: A girl with National American Miss is someone who is confident in her own skin. She is someone who strives to make a positive impact on her community and thus changes the world. National American Miss encourages the best in all of us. I truly believe that NAM molds girls in to their best selves just by helping them believe in the power of themselves and what they have to offer the world.
Tiffany: If you could be on the cover of any Magazine what would it be?
Courtney: I would like to be on the cover of Seventeen Magazine. Although, I don’t read the magazine as much as I did in my teens, I know how much of an impact the cover models had on my life. Reading their stories, made them seem so down to Earth and real. I’d love to be featured in a cover issue about my work with “Desire to Inspire.”
Tiffany:If you were stranded on a deserted island what three things could you not live without?
Courtney: I couldn’t live without my family and friends, my computer, and my Ipad filled with all of my favorite books on the Nook App. Sorry family and friends but I guess you’re coming to the Island with me!
The day after winning the national title!
Tiffany: What is your most prized possession?
Courtney: My most prized possession is my baby grand piano. Although I don’t play it as often as I would like anymore, it is the reason I fell in love with music at such a young age.
Tiffany:How would your friends describe you?
Courtney: My friends would describe me as some one who is loyal, outgoing, honest, and trustworthy. I value all of the close friendships I’ve been able to make. My friends mean the world to me and I hope that my actions have made that clear!
Tiffany: How are you making a difference in your community?
Courtney: I am a mentor through the school of theatre and dance at JMU and I encourage others to become mentors through my mentorship platform: “Desire to Inspire.” I also volunteer with the Children’s Miracle Network.
Tiffany:What is your favorite childhood memory?
Courtney: For 18 straight years, my family and I would travel to the Virginia Tech Bowl Games. Those were some of the best times and fondest memories I have. Although, before the age of 9, I really had no idea what was going on during the football games!
Tiffany:If you could go back in time and be at any historical event what would it be?
Courtney: I would love to travel back to the March on Washington and meet Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The amount of courage, wisdom, and strength it took for him to lead so many people is truly remarkable. I thank him and all of the men and women who were influential during the Civil Rights Movement for the opportunities I have been afforded today.
Tiffany:What advice do you have for future NAM girls?
Courtney: I would tell future NAM girls to always put your best foot forward, be open to friendships and new experiences, have fun, and set personal goals for yourself.
With my Virginia Sister Queens!
Tiffany:What is your favorite book? and why?
Courtney: One of my favorite books is Bossypants by Tina Fey. It is a great mix of comedy and personal anecdotes. My other favorite is Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. This book is a commentary on the impact of censorship. I read it for the first time when I was in middle school and thus it taught me at a young age the importance of reading and gaining knowledge through books.
Tiffany:Where is your favorite place to shop?
Courtney: I love shopping at Express, Target, thrift stores, and Nordstrom. My closet is a mix of a little bit of everything!
Tiffany:What things do you hope to accomplish during your year of service?
Courtney: I hope to make a positive difference by speaking about the importance of mentorship. I want to encourage girls to set personal goals and work hard to achieve their dreams not matter how big or how small. I also want to visit and perform for as many Children’s Hospitals as I can.
Tiffany: Who or what inspires you most?
Courtney: My big brother, Jai, inspires me the most. He is the reason I fell in love with Film/television, movie-going, and having a good discussion about pop culture. He’s been my biggest supporter in everything I’ve done. He wants to be a writer, director, and producer of films. He’s a loving, loyal, and amazing brother, son, and friend.
Tiffany:What have you learned about yourself since competing in pageants?
Courtney: I have learned that if I put my mind to something, work hard, and grow from every experience along the way, I can accomplish it. I’ve been dreaming of winning a national title with NAM since I entered my first NAM State pageant at 11-years-old. I worked hard over the years to grow as an individual. I am thankful that NAM helped me to develop confidence in myself with or without the crown.
Tiffany:What is your definition of success?
Courtney: Success is finding what you are truly passionate about and turning it in to something that you can do for the rest of your life. It’s about working hard, staying humble, and being ready when opportunity arises to follow your dreams.
Roomates at JMU!
The Thanksgiving Banquet at The NAM National Pageant!
Singing with the JMU Overtones!
Making life long friendships is what NAM is all about!
Flashback!!! From my first NAM Pageant in 2004!
Making a difference!
Courtney Jamison The 2013-2014 National American Miss!