A decade to remember.
Those are the words that come to mind to describe my time with National American Miss.
When I began competing in 2005 at the age of 7, I would never have expected that 10 years later I would be here with 3 state titles and priceless life skills. I am so blessed to have spent so much of my life in a pageant system that teaches girls to embrace their God given beauty and helps grow their confidence. When I heard my name called as the 2014 Miss Texas Teen, I was shocked beyond belief, and little did I know that God was opening a door for one of the greatest years of my life! Before I knew it I was off to the National pageant. I was so excited to make new friends and be reunited with so many of my old pageant sisters! I was honored to walk away with my 3rd the National Spokesmodel Title speaking on my platform: Rachel's Challenge. There is no greater feeling than knowing that every time I present my speech, I am changing the world, and for that I am forever grateful. To finish off a perfect week at Nationals, to my complete surprise, I walked away with a Top 10 Semi-finalist trophy and for that I am very, very humbled.
Over these past 10 years, National American Miss has become such an important part of my life and means so much to me. Over this decade with NAM I have grown in my interview and leadership skills, gained self-esteem and determination, and I have learned what it means to be a confident young woman.
First and foremost, I would like to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Without Him, none of this would have been possible. I give all the glory to Him! To Steve and Kathleen Mayes, thank you for creating a pageant system where extraordinary girls get to do extraordinary things all while feeling confident and beautiful in our own skin! I cannot ever thank you both enough for all you do! To Mrs. Tiffany, Mrs. LaKisha, Mr. Shane and all of the NAM staff who have become my second family over these years; thanks for always being there to put a smile on my face, and to wipe away a few tears every now and then! Love to ALL my NAMily. To all my sister queens, I love every single one of you and I am so happy to have spent this year with you. Thanks to my family; especially to my mom who has been on this journey with me from 2005 to 2015. Thank you for always encouraging me to follow my dreams even when it gets difficult. Love you lots!
Contestants remember: pageant weekend isn't about the crown. It's about creating a more confident and comfortable YOU! Always keep that in mind and always remember that God has a very special plan for each and every one of you! As my days of NAM competitions are coming to an end, I will keep this one special saying very close to my heart: "Old queens never die. They just become staff." National American Miss has been home for me these past 10 years and always will be! Thanks to everyone who has made my decade here at NAM so wonderful! And don't worry- I WILL be back!
With that being said, signing off for the last time, I was and forever will be, your National American Miss Texas Teen 2014, Kaiden Lynn Maines.