Nothing invigorates Juliana Morehouse like a good workout.”My favorite ways to deal with stress are exercise and meditation! I find that getting my heart rate up and calming my mind both help to put me at ease,” she says. Pageantry is in her blood. She always looked up to her shining star of a mother. Once she embraced that glittering network, nothing could stop her. “For me, being a pageant titleholder is a great privilege. The pageant world is this network of elite women that I am proud to be a part of. Being Miss Maine USA is a goal I have been working towards since I was about 15 years old. My mom was my initial inspiration for jumping into the pageant world because she was Miss North Carolina USA in 1994 and went on to place second runner up at Miss USA. Being Miss North Carolina USA transformed her life. It launched her career in television news; it catapulted her into the National Speakers Association; and it provided her with a vast network of successful women. From an early age, I decided I wanted to have those same opportunities as my mom. I competed in my first pageant at age 16. I placed third runner up, and from then I was hooked. Not only was I mesmerized by the glamor of the pageant world, but I was intrigued by the significant personal growth that comes with preparing for the competition.”
Juliana will be the first married woman to compete in Miss USA, marking a cultural shift. “I feel excited to be a part of this change because this shows our society that the modern woman is multifaceted. She can be married and ambitious simultaneously. There is no other job a married woman cannot do because of her marital status, so it makes sense that Miss USA is now allowed to be married. It is possible to still be youthful and full of life while also being in a loving marriage.” Matrimony can go hand-in-hand with sky-high ambitions. “I don’t think marriage should disqualify a woman from pursuing any aspiration in life. Women certainly do not need men by their sides to succeed. However, this doesn’t mean women cannot be successful AND be married. Marriage is a valuable institution in our culture, and we shouldn’t discourage women from pursuing it by banning them from certain facets of society.”
Her agenda as Miss Maine USA touches multiple facets of society. “I hope my impact on the state of Maine has many layers to it. First, I want to raise as much awareness around Alzheimer’s disease as possible. This disease wreaks havoc on Mainers’ lives, and I want to help relieve them of their pain. Second, I hope to reach as many young people as possible. From social media to the idolization of fame, it can be really hard to be a young person in today’s world. I want to remind each of them of their purpose and their power to have impact. Third, I hope to be a servant to everyone I meet. There is this misconception that when in a position of leadership, you must be superior to the people around you, when you should actually take on a selfless disposition to serve them. And lastly, I hope my impact will reach beyond Maine. I envision reaching throughout the United States, while wearing Maine across my chest and representing its wonderful people.” Raising awareness about Alzheimer’s is particularly important to her as she strives to dispel misconceptions. “One of the biggest misconceptions I hear about Alzheimer’s disease is that it is just ‘forgetfulness.’ It is an all encompassing brain disease that slowly kills your brain cells, affecting all facets of your daily life. There is this idea that all older people forget everything when they reach a certain age, which is not the case. If not plagued by dementia, the older generation has much wisdom to offer us.”
Any of us can be an agent for a change. “I want people to learn that you do not have to have money or fame to have impact. We have the power to touch and reach our personal spheres. Sometimes it’s the smallest, simplest acts that yield impact.” Introspection and contemplation are the keys to living fruitfully. “To me, culture is what shapes the world we live in. It is the system that makes up our society, and the unwritten rules by which we operate. Analyzing the culture is important to me because we have to take notice of what is influencing the way we think and the way we live. I want to prompt people to look at the culture through different lenses, so they can get a better grasp of what is happening and how it affects them. On the one hand, I see life romantically. I want to illustrate beauty through my writing. Whether it is the beauty of God, a realized dream, a special relationship, or spectacular scenery, I believe it is important to appreciate beauty. On the other hand, I hope to be a voice of reason. Many people don’t think critically or analytically anymore, and I want to restore deep thought to our culture.” Her aspirations can best be summed up as generous. “Living an impactful life means using my gifts to serve others. If I don’t make a difference in the lives of others, I haven’t done anything worthwhile at all. I once heard it said that, ‘Who you are is God’s gift to you, but who you become is your gift to God.’ It is my goal to never stop becoming, so I can never stop impacting those around me.” She connects with her audience via her blog, Journals of Juliana. “Through my writing, I hope my readers see a different perspective on the world. So much of our culture today tells us that we have to think and be a certain way, and I like to look at life through a different lens.” She knows that everyone’s destination has a few twists and turns. “The majority of the time, the path to our goals is not linear. I am a planner, and I like to have an idea of what is coming next. But, pursuing this goal taught me that plans typically do not play out exactly how we imagined. If you are a young person pursuing a goal right now, do not feel discouraged if you keep hitting roadblocks or your current circumstances are not how you’d imagined they would be. My failures along the way have sharpened me as a leader, and they have made me more grateful for the opportunity to be Miss Maine USA.” Keep your head up and your heart open. Juliana will continue searching for those who need her.
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Juliana Morehouse Makes History as First Married Miss USA Contestant. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Juliana Morehouse.