Providence Day School senior Jada Simone Carter was recently crowned Miss Jacksonville, NC in a recent sweeps pageant open to participants across the state.
Q: How did you become interested in pageants in general and specifically the Miss Jacksonville pageant?
A: My dance teacher was Miss Charlotte Mecklenburg in 1996, so every year the committee for the Miss Charlotte/ Mecklenburg County pageant asks her to have a few of her dancers dance in between phases of competition for entertainment. I’ve been in that group for the last couple of years, so these were my only exposures to the pageant world (besides watching the show Toddlers & Tiaras). Last year, when it was coming close to pageant time and my dance teacher, teammates, and I were having practice for the pageant, she told us that the pageant committee needed another teen to compete so they could be eligible to crown two teen queens, so I raised my hand! My mother was NOT on board at first, especially since the pageant was only 12 days away and we knew nothing about preparing for one, but once she saw how much I wanted to do it, she gathered the troops and we went to work to get everything we needed. Surprisingly, I ended up winning that pageant and being Miss Mecklenburg County’s Outstanding Teen 2019. I enjoyed the experience so much that I ended up coming back this season to compete as a “Miss” candidate and ended up winning the title of Miss Jacksonville! I didn’t choose the title, but I feel honored to represent such a great city. I competed in the last pageant of the season that they call “Sweeps” where titles are up for grabs for cities that don’t already have representation, whereas, in regular pageants like the title I held last year, only one title is available because that certain city or county has a committee that’s able to hold a pageant. In this case, the titles available were Raleigh, Durham, Greenville, and Jacksonville, and I was one of the four to win!
Q: What do you enjoy about participating in pageants?
A: With all the wonderful things there are to gain from pageantry like networking opportunities and self-confidence, I really enjoy the things we are able to give to other people. Every titleholder has a social impact initiative that they promote throughout their reign that they use for community outreach and to really make a difference in people’s lives. My social impact initiative is called “Success STEMs from FUN (Fighting Underrepresentation Now)”, a platform I use to encourage young girls to explore their interests in STEM in hopes of inspiring them to want to close the gender gap of STEM-related jobs when the time comes. As a future computer science major and eventual software developer, this cause is close to my heart, as are the platforms of many titleholders. I also love that we get to raise money for great causes like Children’s Network Miracle Hospitals, which are a big part of the Miss America Organization. We also get to sell ads for the program book for the Miss North Carolina Pageant, which is a fresh way to improve your public speaking skills. While it’s a great way to support local businesses in our community by giving them advertisement opportunities, it’s also a nice way for businesses and organizations to support their local titleholder while she represents them in the Miss North Carolina Pageant!
Q: What surprised you most about this award and what are you most looking forward to?
A: What surprised me most is how many amazing and genuine people there are in the pageant community. I, like many people, had the notion that pageant queens are just beautiful girls with crowns, but they’ve become so much more than that. Our Miss America is a great example of that since she’s a chemist! I love the beauty of the diversity within our community that a lot of people don’t know about and don’t ever get to experience. It’s truly one of a kind. I’m really looking forward to doing great things with my platform in my community once the coronavirus allows (follow my Instagram @missjacksonville_nc to follow my journey), and I’m also looking forward to seeing how much more I can grow within the organization. I’ve already come so far in just a year when it comes to my confidence and coming out of my shell, and I’m excited to see all the opportunities ahead of me that can further impact my growth as a young woman. The future is bright, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store.
Read more about Carter in this article from The Daily News – Jacksonville, NC.