My first reaction when I was crowned Miss Hawaii’s Outstanding Teen was that I, Makaila Natividad, was going to compete at Miss America’s Outstanding Teen. Behold, two months later I was on a two-o’clock plane ride headed to sunny Orlando, Florida. That’s when it hit me. A girl who had never competed in pageants or, as we call it, competitions, was so fortunate to get a shot at representing her beautiful, diverse state. Before the crazy fun filled week began, my director sat me down and we chatted. We chatted about making sure to share who I am to everyone, breathe, and most importantly, stand strong in my beliefs. That really helped kick off the week!
On that Friday, I walked into the hallway where all the girls were gathered and let me tell you what I saw: A wonderful, diverse, and unbelievably outstanding group of young women whom I would call my sisters. Let me tell you, it was a little hard to break the ice at first, but soon after our phones were taken away, we all just bonded. We complained about the very crazy Florida weather; we cheered each other on when we had to do the killer lifestyle and fitness routine; and, we were a real group of women who just wanted to make a difference in the world. There was never a dull moment with them, our hostesses, or our security guards.
This competition pushed me and made me grow in ways I never thought I could. Every time I did the opening number, the lifestyle and fitness, or the evening gown production number, I made it a must to give it my 110%. I made sure to put my heart over matter. When I performed my talent on stage, I was tired but, even through this rough patch, I left everything out on the stage. When I went into the interview with the judges, my heart spoke for itself and it was one of the best interviews I’ve ever had. Throughout the competition I had constant determination, I made mistakes and embraced them, and, importantly, I was just myself.
Overall, there is not a single thing I would change about the competition. Well, maybe the fact that some mornings we had to wake up at, let’s just say, 5:00 am. It was way too early…… Miss America’s Outstanding Teen isn’t just a competition that rewards young women for their accomplishments, but it also gives them a chance to use their voice and make a difference. I will never forget the 50 young women and the people who made this experience possible. It’s a very cheesy concept, but the MAOTeen competition was a once in a lifetime experience that I will never ever take for granted. It stays true to its motto. Style. Scholarship. Success. Indeed, there is, and forever will be, Sisterhood.
Miss Hawaii’s Outstanding Teen 2019