Anyone watch America’s Next Top Model?
C’mon..I know SOMEONE out there used to DVR it every week like me. Legendary Supermodel Tyra Banks chooses several dozen potential models from casting calls across the country. These young women must then take part in photo shoots, commercials and experiences to best prepare them (and test them) for the high-pressure world of professional modelling. Aside from the cat fights, gossip and inevitable tears during makeovers (‘Tyra cut my hair!!!! My life is OVER!!!’), there was a time I. LOVED. THIS. SHOW!! ANTM was my binge TV–I’d watch marathons while doing laundry all Saturday or on a rainy day off from work.
Over the seasons, Tyra revealed details about a tough adolescence. She told ABCNews: “I was thin, I was 98 pounds, I was 5 foot 9, I was an inch shorter than I am now. So that is not just supermodel thin, that’s just, like, what’s-wrong-with-her thin, and I had very low self-esteem because nothing I could do would make me gain weight.”
Hard to believe now, looking one of the world’s most beautiful, successful women..
..but Tyra Banks will NEVER forget those years. Now worth an estimated $90 million as a model, host, producer, author, etc.. Banks donates time and money to numerous causes devoted to young women, including her own TZONE program, aimed at leadership and life skills development, and the Tyra Banks Scholarship, a scholarship fund for African American girls.
They say life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react.
Cue Nebraska’s Top Model.
MISS ALLIANCE’S OUTSTANDING TEEN 2015 SHANIAH FREESEMAN
(Photo courtesy Just Shoot Me Photographics)
“I can describe myself in three words: I’M A FIGHTER,” Shaniah told me recently. “I was insecure about myself when I was younger and I didn’t feel like I fit in. I was the girl with the glasses, I looked like a string bean with long legs (given the nickname daddy long legs), and I had crooked teeth. What I didn’t realize until later is that God created me unique.”
Shaniah, a high school student from Gordon, Nebraska moved from Nebraska, to Colorado, back to Nebraska when she was younger. Making new friends compounded the feelings she already had about not fitting in, but Shaniah says she was determined to keep her chin up.
“My faith and my family are what really helped me through this change,” said Shaniah. “Family means so much to me, and I love being able to say that God has blessed me with these amazing people.”
Shaniah is determined to share her story, both her challenges and what empowered her, to others who need a boost.
“I know what it’s like to be in their shoes,” said Shaniah. “I use what I’ve had to go through to make me a stronger person that helps motivate others to overcome their challenges as well.”
That message is now part of Shaniah’s personal platform as Miss Alliance’s OT, ‘Overcoming Adversity’. Shaniah recently visited Gordon Elementary to read to students and just to talk to them about never giving up when there’s a bump in the road.
“I have always loved kids and making kids smile always brightens my day!” said Shaniah. “Not only is it amazing for me to tell my stories, but I am all ears to people who have things they’d like to share with me. I am striving to be a leader in my community and a role model to others. Everyone has their own difficulties, but I am here to show people that it is possible to get through them.”
Shaniah is also busy with her own activities, including her church’s worship team, multiple youth group/bible studies groups, and singing opportunities through church as well as through Miss Alliance’s OT events.
“I have [performed] the National Anthem at multiple events such as basketball games, a wrestling tournament, and the NWTF (National Wild Turkey Federation) banquet. I have also shared my love for Christ through music, by singing solos at church, talent shows, at the Sandhills Alive music festival, as well as just kicking back and singing with my family and friends,” said Shaniah. “When I think of pageants, I think of an opportunity to share my love for Jesus through music and show people that beauty is what’s on the inside.”
Shaniah adds that the Miss America Organization reinforces her belief that everyone is beautiful in their own way, and has helped her build poise, public speaking skills, determination and confidence. That girl who was once self-conscious, embarking on a scary, new adventure just days before school began in a new town, now holds her crowned head high.
“Even though I have long legs, now I’m a starting varsity volleyball player,” said Shaniah, who also plays basketball, competes in track and is a member of her school’s color guard. “My teeth have straightened out and I have learned to accept myself for who I am. No matter what people might tell me, I’m beautiful in my own way and I keep telling myself that. I don’t let the difficulties tear me down, I let them build me up. I can’t wait to continue sharing my platform, and inspiring others, all while being associated with the Miss Nebraska Organization!”
Tyra, if you’re reading this.. feel free to contact Shaniah but just hold off for a few weeks; this Top Role Model’s already booked through June, ready to compete for Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen.
(Photo courtesy Just Shoot Me Photographics)
Follow Miss Alliance’s Outstanding Teen 2015 Shaniah Freeseman
For more information about the Miss Alliance’s Outstanding Teen pageant, including how to become a contestant, contact Director Melinda Cullan at 308-710-5593 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen Pageant will take place June 5, 2015 in North Platte. Click here to visit the organization’s website or the Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen Pageant on Facebook and on Twitter.
To read more about the Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen Class of 2014, click on the ‘There She Is’ link at the top of the page.