Hearing people talk about NAMily you experience the true meaning of the word when there are more tears shed by the pageant audience than that of the young lady being crowned. That is exactly what happened to me, one year ago.
Starting at seven years old, I began competing with many of the young ladies I’m still friends with today. Many of these remarkable young women had already won their National American Miss titles, including my little sister Haley Thomas (2010 Ohio Princess) but mine had eluded me for 9 years. Each and every one of my pageant friends and families understands just what a NAM title means. Last year, when I was announced as the new Ohio Teen I felt the joy and admiration not only from the girls I had been competing with year after year, but their families as well.
Taking the elation of my Ohio NAMily with me, I began to represent Ohio with good ole fashion Buckeye Pride. Together with my sister queens we were honored at a Columbus Clippers Baseball game and spent an exciting day riding in the Cincinnati Red’s annual opening day parade together.
There have been so many photo shoots, charity events, appearances and of course there was -
NAM Nationals. But, the most amazing aspect of pageant life, which I adore, is the tremendous friendships that you build. I can’t express the gratitude that I have for two amazing friends that are now part of my life because of National American Miss – Michaela Jacobs (National American Miss Teen ) and Patricia Hyndman (Miss Indiana Teen).
National American Miss guides and teaches us how to be contributing, dedicated and striving young women; women who will truly run the world someday. Because of the values NAM has taught me and as an entrusted keeper of the crown, I’m proud to have begun two organizations during my reign: Pageantry Supporting Patriots and Teen Votes Matter. Both programs teach teens how important it is to not only support our military men and women, but to make certain their voting voices are heard and counted in the next presidential election. I’m so very happy to be a member of such a strong organization that is so promoting and uplifting of young girls across our great country.
But, for me NAM is over, I have competed on my last National American Miss stage. I now encourage every teen competing this weekend to set your sights beyond the crown. Compete this weekend not to win a title, but to learn something about yourself and to build your own treasured friendships.
Good friends are like stars. You don’t always see them, but you know they’re always there.
To the NAM staff, my NAMily, my FAMily, my friends – thank you for allowing me to grow up under your watchful eye and to share the last ten years with you – I will forever be your 2015-2016 Ohio Teen Taylor Thomas -
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