I’m heading to the Rascal Flatts concert at Omaha’s CenturyLink Center Saturday night.
I. HEART. RASCAL FLATTS.
I can be in a horrible mood, but when I crank up my country in my car and star in my own, personal concert… everything is better. One of my favorites: ‘No Reins’.
Like a painted wild Mustang, Flyin’ out across the open range
Finally gets to live her life that way, No fear, no fences, nobody
No reins, no reins
Meet a young lady who IS flying, living life her way, and soon, this Mustang is coming home to compete in the Miss Nebraska pageant.
Miss Douglas County, Megan Swanson
Megan’s a proud Mustang at that, a 2011 graduate of Millard North High School, born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska. She’s pursuing a Commercial Voice Music Major at Nashville’s Belmont University, with the goal of further pursuing a career as a Christian Music artist.
I won’t even keep you in suspense–click here to listen to Megan’s music!
Music is not only Megan’s passion, right now, it’s her life.
“In addition to my actual class work, we also have anywhere from 2-4 ‘zero-credit’ mandatory classes per week, have to practice our primary and secondary instruments, prepare for lessons, set up rehearsals, go to concerts, and perform in concerts!” Megan told me in a recent interview. “Not to mention, any of us who are pursuing a full-time career in music are trying to gig as much as we can outside of school!”
Off-stage and out of class, Megan also works two jobs, and devotes what little time she has to service, volunteering in her community and church.
“Miss Nebraska, to me, is someone who is a woman who takes charge of her schedule instead of being overwhelmed by it,” said Megan. “A woman who is strong and courageous, mixed with class and grace.”
DYNAMIC, COMPETITIVE, CHAMELEON
Here’s another side of Miss Douglas County..
At 6-feet tall, Megan has been modeling since the age of 11. She also plays basketball and dances, activities that all bring out her inner competitor.
“I learned that sometimes in life we aren’t going to be the ‘winner’, but it’s about deciding whether the goal is something you truly want, and choosing to press on toward its fruition,” said Megan. “To me, competition is about trying new things, working hard, and learning that God placed you on this earth to be YOU, so there’s absolutely no reason to compare yourself!”
Helping others find that same confidence has become a mission for Megan, inspiring her personal service platform she calls ‘Total Body Wellness: Mind, Body and Spirit’. Despite pursuing a rigorous diet and exercise routine to feel better about herself, Megan says she still continued on a downward spiral.
“It wasn’t until the end of freshman year [in college] when something went off inside me that I had to change what was on the inside to affect change on the outside,” said Megan. “With the support of my family, leaders of my church, and God within me, I began my research of how to strengthen ourselves from the inside out.”
Megan hopes to spread her message through an upcoming event she organized call ‘Queens of the Kingdom’, described as a one night mini-conference for teenage girls and women to learn more about wellness of spirit, soul and body through the eyes of faith and identity. She’ll donate a portion of proceeds from the event to the Children’s Miracle Network, Miss America’s community partner.
“TBW also focuses heavily on going into schools,” said Megan. “Connecting how one’s environment plays a huge role in wellness, and how we can help our own self-esteem by choosing to stand against bullying, believing that everyone was created for a purpose and that everyone deserves an equal chance to live a happy and healthy life!”
THERE SHE IS..
Megan says her work as Miss Douglas County, and the work of her fellow Miss Nebraska contestants, show why the pageant and the women who are involved are still relevant in 2014.
“She isn’t a pretty face, she’s a businesswoman who markets, books, and sells herself in conjunction with her platform to bring a message that matters,” said Megan. “For some reason, putting a crown on your head and a sash around your waist makes many people listen, and the job of Miss Nebraska is exactly that; an opportunity to say something meaningful and have it impact lives.”
I’m not sure if Megan is a country music fan like me. Maybe when she flies home next month, her I-Pod will be loaded with her own creations, something inspiring to awaken her spirit for the competition ahead. Or maybe, she’ll just be smiling and humming along to Judy Garland. After all, and especially when your sash reads Miss Douglas County, there’s no place like home.
Connect with Miss Douglas County Megan Swanson
and on the Miss Douglas County website, where you can also sign up for Megan’s Queens of the Kingdom event, taking place Saturday, May 17th in Omaha. Tickets are $15; space is limited.
Megan is also hoping to raise money for her wardrobe and other expenses as Miss Douglas County. Connect to her online fundraising campaign here.
The Miss Nebraska pageant takes place June 5-7 in North Platte, Nebraska. For more information, visit the Miss Nebraska website.