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Journey to the Crown: Live with Purpose

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Many times when I tell people I compete in pageants they don’t believe me. They say I don’t strike them as someone who would compete in pageants because of my authenticity and passion for others. I then look at them confused, but I understand the media has portrayed pageant girls in such a negative light that there are a number of stereotypes and negative connotations associated with the word “pageants.”

It can become frustrating at times knowing that reality shows such as “Toddlers and Tiaras” has completely distorted our mission and purpose as Miss America titleholders. Not only are we leaders, but we are advocates for change. Our number one job is to serve our communities to the best of our abilities. Yes, we walk in parades and sing the national anthem at baseball games, but those are done in addition to our dedication to community service and philanthropy.

We are young women who use our crown as a catalyst for change, and we dedicate our entire year of service to a specific cause. In the pageant world we call this our “platform.” My platform is entitled, Fearfully Wonderfully and Beautifully Made (FWBM), and its purpose is to inspire others to love themselves regardless of what anyone asserts by igniting their passion and self-confidence through fitness.

I created my platform by combining my love for fitness and self-confidence. So let me ask you, what is your platform? Because whether you are competing in a pageant or not, you need to know what your cause! What gets your heart racing when you wake up in the morning? What do you constantly find yourself dreaming about in class when you are supposed to be paying attention to the professor? What do you enjoy doing? The first step to figuring out your platform is not just understanding who you are, but who you were created to be. God has blessed us with certain talents and abilities because He wants us to use those gifts to bless others. God can and will use you beyond your wildest dreams if you just say yes to the calling that He has for your life.

I know many of you are probably thinking, “I don’t know what His calling for my life is.” Well, each of us were created with a purpose, and fulfilling God’s plan for your life is one of the most invigorating experiences. But how can we get to a destination if we don’t even know where we are going? My advice is to start off by listing all of your strengths, hobbies, and personal goals. Next, pray! Prayer is one of the most underutilized tools even though it is incredibly powerful! Ask God for guidance and direction, because He will lead you in the right direction. Next, take an hour and reflect on obstacles that you've overcome. God will use those difficult situations in our lives to bless others as well.

Something that I have always struggled with is self-confidence. I deleted my social media about a year ago, and asked God to take me on a self-love journey so I could discover who the real Alisa is without all of the titles and labels that I used to define myself. He used that experience to allow me to speak with women about the importance of self-love, and now that is a part of my platform as Miss Central Pennsylvania! Each one of us has gone through hardships in life that can be used to help others get through a difficult time in their lives.

So I challenge you to figure out what your platform is. The most beautiful thing about discovering your platform, is that God has already equipped you with all the tools that you need to set this world on fire with your incredible talents! And we can’t go through life not knowing what those talents are. It’s a journey, and God will be with you every step of the way.

If you're already putting in work on your platform share it with us BELOW!

Alisa Vasquez is a sophomore at The Pennsylvania State University. Her passion for journalism began as a senior in high school when she was one of the anchors for Blue and Gold Television. In addition to being on air, she also enjoys using her love for writing as a platform to be a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves. Her dream is to land a spot on Good Morning America, in addition to inspiring young women through her love for fitness. She understands the significance and power of living a healthy lifestyle, and wants to share that desire with young women across the country.