A Few Words From Miss Florida Teen Trinity Burlington!
“Simply write about your year.” I could not have been provided with a more challenging task. Let’s rewind a bit to July 20th, 2015. In the one second that revolutionized my life, when my name was called as Miss Florida Teen 2015, after already being 1st runner up to the state AND national title the year before, at least a whole future decade flashed through my mind as I registered what doors that pivotal moment was going to open. I felt the binding of the crown around my head as I finally grasped a massive dream of mine that I had preserved towards for years - 3 years actually; I suppose the saying “3rd times a charm” reigns true after all!
One year of service. 52 weeks of giving my hands to serve others and my heart to love them more. 365 days of defining the crown and inspiring those who inspire me. Shortly after embracing such an accomplishment, I was delightfully bombarded with invites to judge pageants, speak at fundraisers, participate in photo shoots, and appear as a special guest at various events. However, I primarily had plans to concentrate on the organizations I possessed roles in previous to my triumph. Engaging closely with the special needs population, my role prevailed as a volunteer at Special Needs Dances/Proms and the Special Olympics. In a similar fashion, I continued my work with BASE Camp; this year I was privileged to trick or treat at the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, in addition to regularly serving the children and their families to “Dinner and A Movie” on the 5th Friday of the month. Assisting the L.O.V.E. Ministry was a new undertaking, commenced with speaking at a fundraiser in front of potential sponsors. My National volunteer project was inspired by this non-profit, and I independently raised hundreds of items to benefit the ultimate goal of this organization - to break the binds of human trafficking and employ effective life skills into women.
Speaking of Nationals, I can genuinely say that no week will ever live up to such an experience. I still have yet to desire 11 pm rehearsals and never ending hair and makeup touch-ups as much as I yearn to relive those belonging to NAM Nationals 2015. Enclosed with hundreds of humble, goal-oriented, and beautiful girls from across America, multiple times that week I had to pinch myself to ensure I was truly surrounded with young women like me, crazy enough to KNOW we uphold the power to change the world. Believe it or not, dozens of more opportunities could be listed. From coordinating pageant volunteers to serve at The Princess Ball in April to interviewing with countless magazine journalists to judging a handful of pageants, it sure was the best whirlwind of a year I could ever ask for. (Can I do it again, please?)
Obviously, enduring even a fraction of this success would remain impossible without my friends and family. To the pageant sisters I gained along this journey, thank you for 1 am group messages about the new Sherri Hill line and being the ones I can look to when in need of a positive pick-me-up. To my best friends, Madilyn and Sydney, thank you for fixing my lipstick consistently and listening to my endless diatribes about pageants, even though half of the time I know you are lost as to what I am ranting about. To Jill, Seth, my brothers, sisters, and grandparents, I don't say it enough but you all keep me persevering with the undaunted belief you have in me. To the man upstairs, I surely would be nowhere without infinitely having you to turn to. And finally to my parents, I bet now you wish you hadn't forced the tomboy Trinity into wearing a dress once a year for Easter…I am only kidding. Dad, without your endless support, positive nudging, and personal achievements for me to look up to, I could not have been pushed this far. And to my beautiful mother, thank you for remaining the most selfless root of all my encouragement and being my personal life coach. You are the coolest non-pageant pageant mom out there.
Thanks a million Mr. and Mrs. Mayes for directing National American Miss and instilling skills into girls across the nation. Finalists, there are no words for how proud I am of you. Do you know what you did this weekend and the days leading up to this moment? YOU inspired each other, and you inspired me, all while tackling an unordinary task like a pro…in 5 inch heels. To my successor, its been said before and now I am going to say it again, you are in for the experience of a lifetime and a training that will last an eternity.
I can now vouch for the precision of the comment that pageantry ruins a person. Pageants depleted my fear of public speaking, destroyed my clumsy appearance, dismantled physical insecurities, and absolutely took away my ability to put down others without a second thought. They 100% ruined any chance I had of not completely owning what I: believe, do, say, AM.
I conclude this letter with tears in my eyes and a very, very, very, heavy heart…
I am your Miss Florida Teen 2015,