After becoming Miss Massachusetts Teen USA in 2014 and a cheerleader for the New England Patriots in 2016, I have often been subjected to a narrow examination. Seemingly innocent remarks have undermined my potential and professionalism as a woman. Those who don’t know me are quick to assume my life as a pageant queen and NFL Cheerleader revolved around skimpy outfits, perfect hair, and jumping up and down with pom poms. Despite being devalued as an intelligent woman, I have always embraced the challenge of having to prove to people there is much more to me than what meets the eye.
My time as Miss Massachusetts Teen USA was full of self-prosperity. I endured an abundance of self-growth that allowed me to become more outgoing, confident, poised, accepting and proud. I learned to handle stress, pressure and disappointment. Pageantry was an opportunity for myself, as a woman, to develop into a well-rounded, accomplished adult with life skills to tackle any personal or professional circumstance thrown my way. As Miss Massachusetts Teen USA, it was both eye-opening and enjoyable to attend up to three to four appearances per week at major events for organizations dedicated to influential and real-life causes. It was then I discovered my admiration for giving back and being part of something bigger than myself.
As a freshman in college in 2016, I began my two-season tenure as a cheerleader for the New England Patriots. I attended school full-time, where I maintained being a member of my University’s President’s List, attended multiple practices and promotional appearances each week and poured my heart and soul into each and every game, all while making a continuous effort to uphold my social life and develop my future career path. My time on the squad was an extremely empowering and uplifting experience. My teammates were a group of women who lifted each other higher and celebrated one another. In 2018, after having cheered at both Super Bowl LI in Houston and Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis, I resigned from my position as a cheerleader in order to focus on my ambition to attend law school. My time as an NFL cheerleader was inspiring and a huge stepping stone in my life. However, just because I’ve been on the sidelines doesn’t mean I can’t also be in the game.
One thing has never defined me. Instead, I have always believed and acted on the notion that women can do it all. Throughout my time as Miss Massachusetts Teen USA and as an NFL Cheerleader, I have realized my ability to combat stereotypes and serve as a role model for other women. Although not my end-all, be-all, my past experiences have made me who I am today and I have dreamt of marrying them with intellectual enrichment. Through it all, I have never lost sight of my greatest investment - my education.
When I think of my career and the impact I’ll have on this world, I envision the advancement of females everywhere. As females still lag in gender equality in senior management and corporate boardrooms around the world, I believe the best way to encourage women and prosper upward mobility is to help provide access to more (and better) educational opportunities. That’s the precise reason I developed the Women’s Empowerment Scholarship. I want to celebrate and support women who share my values and wish to meaningfully change the world. I believe no one should feel bound by preconceived notions and I want to be a symbol to those who believe they can never be more than what society mandates. Similarly, I want to influence the world and show you can do it all and no one thing defines what it means to be a woman. I’m excited about my new journey as the President of this nonprofit. I look forward to following my heart and supporting a future generation of female pioneers and leaders.
President and Founder of the Women’s Empowerment Scholarship