10 years ago, I stepped onto the National American Miss stage as a shy Pre-Teen contestant unaware of the amazing journey I was about to embark on. I never thought the day would come when all my hard work and dedication would result in a crown and banner of my own. Year after year, I came back with a dream determined to represent my state and on my last year of competing before aging out, my dream finally became a reality.
My year as your National American Miss Ohio has been nothing short of extraordinary. The opportunity to serve my community has been such a humbling experience. Throughout my reign, I rode in many parades, made appearances at numerous festivals, took park in pet food drives, and volunteered with organizations near and dear to my heart such as the National African American Male Wellness Walk, the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5K and the American Cancer Society.
Traveling cross-country to compete at the National pageant in Anaheim, California was a dream come true. Not only was I able to make new friends and be reunited with old pageant sisters, I even got to spend a day at Disneyland and walk the famous streets of Hollywood. What a blast!
To Steve & Kathleen Mayes, Mrs. Tiffany, Mrs. LaKishia and the rest of the NAM staff; thank you so much for all that you do. You all have such a passion for what National American Miss is and I, along with so many young women across the country have benefited from the dedication of this organization immensely. To my sister queens; I love you all so much and am so honored to have been able to share this year with you. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for each and every one of you. To Kim; you have always believed in me and I couldn’t thank you enough for your constant support. I love you. To my family, especially my mother; thank you for everything this past decade and never giving up on my dreams, even when things got difficult. You are the strongest pageant mom I know. Love you lots!
Over the past 10 years, National American Miss has become such an important part of my life and means so much to me. I have grown in my interview and leadership skills, gained self-esteem and perseverance, and I have learned what it means to be a confident young woman.
I can only hope that my successor has the most amazing experience being a titleholder and representing the great state of Ohio. She is going to have such an incredible year serving her community and making memories to last a lifetime. I could not be more excited for this lucky young lady. Treasure each moment because it goes by so fast. I wish you all the best.
For the last time, I am your National American Miss Ohio 2015, Marissa Lott.