Marilyn Monroe once said, “Beneath the make-up, behind the smile, I am just a girl who wishes for the world.” Behind my hair extensions, smile, glitz, and glam, I am a Sister,Daughter, Christian, Student, Football Fan, Coffee Connoisseur and Sushi Lover. I graduated High School in 2021 as Senior Class President, was involved in twelve clubs, competed in pageants, broadcasted our daily school news, and traveled all across the United States. When I am not trying to find inspiration to write, I enjoy volunteering with special needs children or reading to classrooms in schools.
I found my love of service through pageantry. (No, not Toddlers and Tiaras.) When I was nine years old I received a letter in the mail from the National American Miss pageant. I begged my mom to let me compete and even raised money for the entry fee to prove I was serious. I ended up competing, and out of 115 girls I placed top 20. To say I was hooked is an understatement. I competed again and was first runner up, I have lost more pageants than I have ever won, but I will never forget the first time I won. I was thirteen years old (yes, four years after my pageant journey started). I won the title of International Junior Miss Texas Jr. Teen in 2016. I had a problem though- I suffered from a severe speech impediment. I sounded like Elmer Fudd from Looney Tunes. After I won a judge walked up to me and told me I was not his first choice and said “Haleigh, you will never go anywhere in pageantry if you don’t fix your speech impediment. Pageants require effective communicators.” (Harsh, I know.) This lit a fire under me. I corrected my speech impediment in sixth months when therapists said it would take two years. Since then, I have spoken to and reached over 10,000 people spreading my Anti-Bullying Platform, Shine Your Light. In 2019 I released a children’s book called, “Shine Your Light”. I launched this blog in 2020 during COVID in a time where I felt lonely. I spoke to a school in Guam and was inspired by the feedback the middle schoolers gave me. On March 6, 2021 I planned and executed a National Anti-Bullying and Self-Empowerment Conference with guest speakers, sponsored gifts, and open questions. I hosted 130 amazing young ladies and left so fulfilled. I feel like God put me on this Earth to serve and that is what I plan to do.
So, what’s next for me? I am now a freshman at the University of Oklahoma (Boomer Sooner!). I have a double major in Political Science and Journalism and dream of one day being White House Press Secretary. I know that is an ambitious dream, but my parents have always told me to dream big and chase those dreams with everything in you. Until I am behind a White House Podium, you can find me in the OU Nightly News studio reporting on a variety of topics. Now, you might be asking yourself, “Seriously?? You’re into politics?” The answer is no, I am OBSESSED with politics. I found my love for writing in my freshman year Journalism class taught by an influential teacher, Mrs. Carrie Alano. She probably got tired of me always choosing to write about the most controversial topic or things that were happening on Capital Hill, but she always put up with my crazy reports. That is where I found my love for research and finding the truth, even if it was ugly. In June 2021, I became a Turning Point USA Ambassador. I am able to cover the biggest youth conservative conventions in history and meet so many people who inspire me. I hope to one day truly make a change in the world and in the policies that affect those around me.
So, yes, I know this is a lot, but it is actually just a little sliver of my life. Stay tuned for more!