BATON ROUGE, LA (LOCAL33) (FOX44) – A local woman is now representing the state of Louisiana on a national stage. Mariah Clayton said finding self confidence changed the game, and she hopes to inspire others to do the same.
Mariah Clayton’s life changed drastically on October, 19 2019.
“I’ve definitely had to manage my time a lot better because I’m still in school and I also have a job, so just trying to manage appearances and homework and spending time with my family has been a struggle. It’s been a good struggle, and I’m so grateful I have this opportunity,” Clayton said.
She was crowned Miss Louisiana USA 2020 in October.
“I still get so emotional. I remember that feeling standing in that moment with that girl and just being so happy.”
Now she is getting ready to represent Louisiana on a national stage at Miss USA.
“I love this state, I love our culture, I love our food, and I’m just so happy that I am the person that gets to represent this beautiful state on this big, big stage.”
But for this beauty queen, pageants weren’t always her in her future.
“I was a tomboy, I was an athlete. I did not care about fashion, makeup, none of that.”
In fact, her older sister pushed her to compete for the first time.
“I said no a lot of times, and then she just kept pushing, so I was like you know I’m jut going to do it.”
She competed for the first time in Miss Louisiana USA back in 2015.
“I told myself if I was going to do this again I want to be 100% myself. The 2 times I competed I felt like I was trying to be somebody I wasn’t. I straightened my hair, I tried to answer the questions the way I think the judges wanted me to answer them, and I was just trying to be this person that wasn’t me.”
She decided to step out of her comfort zone and be 100% Mariah.
“I did that by wearing my hair natural, I did that by doing my own makeup, and by surrounding myself with people who believed in me, and I ended up winning and it was just the most amazing feeling ever.”
With this new platform she hopes to inspire young women and girls to be true to who they are.
“I really just want to inspire people, young girls in particular. I’m also a volleyball coach so I’ve always felt like I’ve had an impact on young girls lives. That’s all I want to do is be a teacher and be a leader and be an inspiration. So I just want to help girls embrace who they are and not be defined by society’s standards.”
She said learning to love herself helped paved the way for the road to Miss USA.
“Seeing the woman I am now, I look back at those pictures and I don’t even recognize that girl. I’m so happy that she grew out of that. I’m so happy she found that self love, I’m so happy she’s so self confident now because now she help others feel the same way.”