A few years ago, I was playing with my boys at Oakview Mall. I looked up from the play area chaos, and walking by was Creighton Basketball (now NBA star) Doug McDermott. My station had interviewed Doug countless times, and my husband was at that time the Production Director for most of Creighton’s games at the CenturyLink Center. Trying to be friendly, I reached my hand out and said ‘hey, Doug! I’m Brandi Petersen. Nice to meet you in person!’
In my mind, I looked like my TV-ready self..
Then I caught a glimpse of myself in the escalator reflection. In reality, I was a working mom-of-two, no make-up, running-on-a-few-hours-of-sleep, hot mess.
No cigarette, though. That’s gross.
I’m sure Doug and his pals walked away that day thinking ‘yowsa. Whoever does her hair/makeup for the news deserves a RAISE!’
I’d argue we all have perceptions about perfection. Models on Project Runway never a hair out of place or a zit on a face. Moms on Pinterest have clean houses with mind-blowing crafts their kids are endlessly interested in. We each have loved ones on Facebook or Instagram that are just PERFECT – showing off their perfect activities with their perfect families in their perfect clothes living perfect lives.
It’s a false assumption that Kelsie Therkildsen, at just 15 years old, is trying to set straight.
“You don’t have to be perfect,” said Kelsie. “The biggest issue today is kids being detached from the real world because of too much phone time. Practice less time behind the screen and focus on living in the present and communicating live.”
REVOLUTIONARY. And an impressive understanding from a young teenager. Kelsie is a student at Bennington High School, a dancer and volunteer in her community. She’s also been surrounded by an elite group of girls and women for many years; her mom owns Kim Therkildsen Photography, often working with clientele including Mrs. Nebraska and America’s National Teenager contestants. Kelsie sees what the lens doesn’t always show, including her inspiration behind the camera.
“My female role model is my mom because she is a good person and many people look up to her,” said Kelsie. “She knows how to make people feel good about themselves and make sure everyone is included and never left out. My mom gives good advice and teaches my sisters and I many important things. I love how she is outgoing and can start a conversation with anyone.”
Kelsie wants to make sure her peers are forming the same connections; REAL connections, and not just those through a Snap or Insta post. Crowned Miss Metro’s Outstanding Teen, she’s sharing her personal platform of service she calls ‘Come Out From Behind The Screen.’
“Not only have I worked on spending less time behind the screen myself, I have talked to numerous schools and ages about my challenge,” said Kelsie. “I offered checklists and posters as reminders, and challenges that allow kids to be involved in making good choices regarding their smartphones. Teachers have even offered extra recess, no homework days, or parties if goals are attained.”
Service like this is a key reason Kelsie wanted to compete for the title of Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen.
“It’s important to give back to others around you,” said Kelsie. “My favorite part so far has been visiting the schools and talking about my platform. The innocence of the kids and the questions they asked made me smile. I loved seeing how happy and involved they were. The Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen program is important because it rewards young girls for being positive role models who set examples for others.”
Positive.. without being perfect. Kelsie is a beautiful young woman, inside and out. She’s talented, caring, smart – she wants to be a trauma plastic surgeon when she gets older. She loves her family.. and chocolate ice cream, enjoying it every chance she gets.
We aren’t always polished and TV ready. More often than not, especially when our focus shifts to life swirling around us nonstop, we realize those Pinterest women are just that – they live in our computers and don’t really exist. It’s great to get all gussied up and feel STUNNING from head to toe; it’s also great to strut your stuff in yoga pants and a ball cap, my fashion of choice at home or at the mall.
One week from today, Kelsie and 18 other outstanding young women will compete to represent our state. They are already showing through their words and actions they realize people won’t remember if they were dressed perfectly, or had every hair and accessory perfectly in place. They know they will be remembered by their actions, what they are doing with their time, and how they made others feel.
That alone is picture perfect.
“My goal at MNEOT is to walk into the weekend knowing I have already made a difference in my community, meet new friends, and walk away knowing I did my personal best,” said Kelsie. “Crown or no crown, I have already learned so much about myself through this experience.”
For more information about the Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen program or to become a contestant, CLICK HERE to follow the organization on Facebook, or CLICK HERE to follow the organization on Twitter. You can also contact Director Heather Edwards at firstname.lastname@example.org or Director Kali Tripp at KaliNicoleTV@gmail.com.
The Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen Competition takes place April 28 in North Omaha, Nebraska.