To the ladies of Miss Samford 2013

Some advice for my beautiful Miss Samford ladies:

As you’re preparing for Friday’s pageant, it’s natural to feel a little nervous, maybe second-guess which shade of neutral pink you chose for your manicure:

But I’m here to tell you, that it’s okay. It’s okay to not know the answer to a question, to say you don’t know. It’s okay to walk into a fake tree onstage, and it’s okay to smile ALL the time until your face hurts. What’s most important is that you enjoy what you do and believe what you say. You have my personal permission to say “I don’t know” with all your conviction, and it will be respected.

1 Peter 3:3-4

Respect yourself and all those around you. Love yourself and show love to your neighbor. It has taken some years for me to really see this as truth, but we show who we are through actions. We teach others how to be through how they see us, not just as a still picture, but how we interact with others and how we treat ourselves. Be someone who teaches by example.

Roald Dahl, from “The Twits”

There’s no wrong answer. Your choice to participate in the Miss Samford Program, your academic and service achievements, your personal growth. Each has a purpose in helping you form your opinions.

And in the end, my goal as a volunteer with Miss America and a faculty member of Samford University is to help provide you the assistance and experiences to become a critically thinking, productive, independent young woman.

With love,



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