Lady Code had the opportunity to speak with Miss South Carolina United States 2012, Chelsea Rae Gregory about her past with bullying.
Chelsea struggled with bullying but overcame it and is currently extremely accomplished, bright, and ambitious.
Name: Chelsea Rae Gregory
Birthday: June 23, 1990
Occupation(s): Marketing Assistant at Honeywell Scanning & Mobility, Graduate Student at Queens University of Charlotte, Miss South Carolina United States 2012
Quote: (I don’t really have one but here is a good one) “The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.” -Benjamin Franklin
Book: The Bible
How old were you when you were bullied?
-I was bullied heavily in middle school. I would have been about 11 or 12. Times have changed and kids are being bullied at a younger age now. Looking back, I was bullied my whole childhood because I had a tendency to speak before I thought.
How did you respond to bullying?
-At the time, I don’t think I understood what was going on but I tended to not be so great with comebacks. I was the kid that would say “I know you are, but what am I?” Im still not good at comebacks. I never really had anything to say to defend myself.
Has bullying made an impact on your life?
-Of course, bullying has made an impact on my life. It has stuck with me even to age 23. Luckily, I have the highest self-esteem of anyone I know and had such great parents that I didn’t really need to feel popular. I found new friends and basically shut all of the bullies out of my life. I think being bullied made me a stronger person and even more confident because I know that I don’t even live around those people anymore and they have nothing to do with my life.
What advice would you give to someone who is being bullied right now?
-I would tell them to keep their chin up and find new friends. Who needs the popular kids and “queen bees” anyway? They are the ones that are going to end up pregnant and in jail by the time they are 20. I can honestly say that some of the bullies from my school growing up, peaked in high school, so now they are stuck in the same town we grew up in making minimum wage for the rest of their lives. Just remember, those iphones and ipads you use, were created by a guy who dropped out of college. He also, was not very popular. (Not sure if that’s true!)
What got you interested in pageants?
-When I was in high school, I knew what degree I would go to college for and my mom actually suggested that I try one. I did a pageant when I was young but had no idea what I was doing. I am from Pennsylvania and pageants are not very popular there. I got really into pageants about a year or 2 later when I was living in South Carolina. I fell in LOVE. I loved getting dressed up all the time and having everyone make a fuss over me. But more importantly, I loved that I got to advocate for bullying and mental illnesses like attention deficit disorder since I grew up with it.
Are there any misconceptions about the world of pageants that you’d like to clear up?
-Yes! First, Miss America is not the only pageant system and a talent is not a part of all systems! That is the first question I get when I tell people my title, “Are you going to Miss America?”, almost as if they are poking fun. Second, pageants are NOT just dressing up, make up, and big hair. They mean much more than that. Pageants are a sisterhood, a way to make friends, build confidence, and learn about yourself. Third, pageants ARE a sport. I know there is no ball involved or sneakers, but the amount of time that is put in to preparing for a competition, just the word competition alone, makes pageants a sport.
Name one mistake you have made on the way to your current success that you have learned from:
-Honestly, I would say that the people in my life, good and bad, have made me who I am today and gotten me the success I have earned. I have had the BEST parents in the world to teach me how to be a confident, loving, and empowering woman. I have also had bad friends, boyfriends, bosses, and teachers that have shaped my opinions and the way I react to certain things. I am so happy to have been one of the many who have peaked after high school and honestly, after college as well. I learned a lot in college that even helped me gain more success after I graduated. I am on a straight path to my life full of great things and I am so excited to see what God has in store for me.
In the next five years, where do you hope to see yourself?
-In the next 5 years, I see myself completing my Masters degree and finding my career path, hopefully starting a family with the one I was created for and loving life. Enjoying life is the most important thing to me besides faith and love.
Who are your inspirations and why?
-My inspirations are Jesus Christ because he was so courageous and brave to save all of us from the pain of crucifixion and my parents because they have made their dreams come true and have maintained humility while doing so. I want that.
If you could tell us three interesting things about yourself, what would they be?
-I have about 20 different laughs.
-I ride a horse named Walter
-I like to break out in dance when I hear a song, no matter where I am. Grocery store, book store, amusement park, doesn’t matter. I’m dancing.
Is there anything you’d recommend to girls to help them be the most beautiful (and successful) version of themselves?
-I want girls, especially younger girls, to know that it is OKAY not to be popular. I know it seems like the most important thing right now, and everyone (being your parents and parents friends) tell you that its “not important to be popular”, let ME a 23 year old Miss South Carolina tell you that it is NOT important. It will NOT define you and if you can get through these days of school and the peer pressure, you will be doing great and things will go uphill from there. PROMISE. Take my word for it.