Lady Code had the opportunity to interview Miss North Carolina United States 2016, Elizabeth Crage! Elizabeth currently resides in Charlotte, N.C. She is studying International Fashion Merchandising at the Fashion Instate of Technology and will be graduating by winter 2017. She previously attended The George Washington University in Washington, DC and studied Speech and Hearing Science. As your current Miss North Carolina United States she will be competing for the Miss United States title the first week of August in Vegas at the Palms Resort and Casino!
Hometown: Originally from Buffalo, NY
Current City: Currently living in Charlotte, NC
Three words that sum you up: Ambitious, Intuitive, Versatile
Song you have on repeat right now: Lush Life by Zara Larsson
Dream job: The next Creative Director of Kate Spade NY
Beauty product you can’t live without: Lancome daily facial moisturizer
Favorite quote: “Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” – Marilyn Monroe
What projects do you have going on at the moment? I have had the honor of being an honoree of the 2016 W.I.S.H. Society for Make-A-Wish Central and Western North Carolina. This means that I am 1 out of 15 women that have the chance to be name Make-A-Wish Woman of the year! I am currently very involved with my fundraising campaign and hope to be able to grant 5 wishes come the annual W.I.S.H. Society luncheon in November.
I have a series of events and fundraisers planned such as a Make-A-Wish Garage and Bake Sale in which 100% of proceeds will go towards my campaign. I have recently partnered with Justin Karas of Kara’s Hospitality and franchise owner of Newk’s Eatery to host a ‘Princess Palooza’ fundraiser in which we have invited all little girls from the Charlotte area to come out and allow us to transform them into a princess for the day in hopes of being able to grant another princess’s wish! We will have a special appearance from Queen Elsa and Princess Anna as well as a perfectly pink princess castle jump house and cupcakes galore! You can learn more about the event and ways you can donate or get involved at www.princesspalooza.com.
You are a very busy titleholder! What is a typical day like for you? I am definitely not a morning person, however, I try my best to start every day off at 8 amwith a yummy breakfast consisting of fresh fruit, greek yogurt, and egg whites! I like to get my workouts done first thing every morning which usually include some form of cardio (my spin classes at the Charlotte Flywheel studio are my favorite) and a strength or core circuit.
After my workouts I usually have a protein packed snack and get my busy day started. As I have been highly focused on organizing my Make-A-Wish fundraisers, a lot of my day time activities include meeting with event sponsors and donors.
Evening’s usually consist of some form of appearance, let it be volunteering at the Charlotte Rescue Mission or a local boutique grand opening! I round out my late evenings catching up on school work and homework while I recap my day and share my experiences on my Miss NC United States Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/missncunitedstates2016/
This past week, my Ms. Women NC United States, Natasha Johnson, and I made our first visit to a local elementary school which we will be continuing biweekly to read to the 3rd grade classes during story hour! These types of appearances are definitely some of my favorite as children are highly inquisitive and there questions always leave me smiling ear to ear.
What has been the highlight of being Miss North Carolina so far? The highlight of my year thus far definitely has to be the Annual Charlotte Heart Ball, benefiting the American Heart Association, that I attended exactly one week after being crowned with Miss SC United States, Lindley Mayer. This event truly opened so many doors for myself and my platform as I met so many influential and good hearted people from the Charlotte area. A lot of my work as Miss NC United States has stemmed from the connections I made at this amazing event and I can’t thank my Director, Renee McNair-Austin, enough for giving me that opportunity.
What are some of your best beauty secrets to looking flawless all the time? Spray tans, eyelash extensions, and body wraps. I have some of the best sponsors such as Factopia in Mathews, NC and Gl’amour Beauty Bar in Cornelius, NC. They keep me looking as flawless as possible for all of my events and appearances. I call them my fairy godmothers because I feel as though they waive their magical wands over me and I always leave their studios feeling refreshed and renewed!
Growing up, who was your inspiration? Growing up, my Nana was definitely a person I looked towards for inspiration. She was always a very hardworking woman, and after my grandfathers early passing, she worked even harder to raise three amazing children (including my father) all on her own.
She had a few mottos that she lived by such as ‘don’t be what people expect you to be but rather who you’d like to become.’ She truly believed that your actions spoke louder than your words. She also believed that even though one could be underdressed, one could NEVER be overdressed. She believed your personal image was very important in allowing you to become the person you wished to be. I try to live by these mottos to this day.
What are some challenges that you faced on your journey to success, and how did you overcome them? My biggest challenge that I have faced on my journey to my current success is definitely my persistent self doubt. Even as a title holder, I sometimes question my worth or capabilities. I have improved significantly in my self confidence and understanding of my strength and resilience, however, it is something I definitely work on daily! As a young woman in today’s society, it is so easy to find yourself constantly critiquing both your physical as well as mental beauties and feeling inferior to those around you. It is so important to be able to look past these sometimes harsh and unfair personal critiques and understand you are unique and special in your own ways!
Tell us about your platform:My platform is quit simple; it focuses on the extension of hope and support for those in need. I have been blessed with amazing friends and family that have been there for me through all of my ups and downs, and now I hope to be that support for those who are not as fortunate as myself.
Like previously stated, I am currently a part of the 2016 W.I.S.H. Society for Make-A-Wish Central and Western NC. I became involved with the Make-A-Wish Foundation back in 2011 when I joined the Phi Alpha chapter of Chi Omega at GWU in DC. My chapter granted our first wish in 2012 and since then I have been hooked on the work and ideas that the Make-A-Wish Foundation supports. Granting a wish is all about allowing a child to look up and forward and forget about whatever illness they are battling for at least one short day. This ability to be just a kid for a day allows not only the child but also the family to have hope of a future filled with dreams, wishes, and aspirations. Hope is a deadly weapon, and when one finds it, most illnesses rarely stand a chance!
Other than Make-A-Wish Central and Western NC, I am also highly involved with the Charlotte Rescue Mission both at the Rebound as well as Dove’s Nest campuses. The Charlotte Rescue mission is a shelter that helps those battle addiction and homelessness through a 10 step, 90 day, Christian based program. The Rebound Campus currently houses 120 men that go through daily classes, therapy, and meetings in hopes of regaining their faith and stability. I volunteer weekly at the Rebound campus preparing and serving dinner while interacting with the residents. These weekly visits have become one of my favorite opportunities I have as Miss NC United States. Being able to actually sit down with the residents and interact at a personable level allows me to stay grounded while always remembering why I love doing what I do!
What can Lady Code readers do in their communities to get involved? The easiest way to get involved in your community is to just get out there and interact! It is crazy how one small event or night of volunteering can turn into something bigger than ever expected.
Charlotte has some amazing websites that I love to go to, to find interesting events and fundraisers going on in my community. On a number of occasions I have just shown up to these open events and am so grateful I did due to the amazing connections I have made that have led to some incredible opportunities. Once you meet one person, I promise, you will immediately meet ten more!
What is the best advice you have ever received?
Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.
– Oscar Wilde
My interview coach, Angela Hardin, always stresses the importance of being yourself and speaking from your heart. Because of this simple advice, I truly believe my purpose and goals for my year as Miss NC United States are genuine and come from a deep place of passion and determination.
To learn more about the Miss United States pageant, visit http://www.unitedstatesnationalpageants.com/
Please contact us if you have an empowering story to share: firstname.lastname@example.org