Monica English, Miss Global America 2023; Exclusive Interview

Monica English, Miss Global America 2023; Exclusive Interview

1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself, your background, and what inspired you to pursue a career in modeling and pageantry?
A Southern California Native, I was born in Long Beach but grew up in a small town of less than 2,000 people called Lake Elizabeth. I competed in my first pageant at 8 years old and won the title of Little Miss Hughes Elizabeth Lakes. It was a natural community service based pageant, so I was heavily involved in my community and attended local events and parades, working closely with the town council, women's club and chamber of commerce. I remember it being such a fun and enriching experience getting to represent and give back to my community. While I always day dreamed about the glamorous aspect of this industry, being a part of something bigger and ultimately having a positive impact on others is what motivated me to stay the course. 

2. Winning the title of Miss World America is a remarkable achievement. Can you share some memorable moments from your journey to the crown?
The entire week I spent in Florida competing for Miss World America International was jam packed with fun and truly unforgettable. The whole time we were filming for a pilot, which was really cool to be part of. We had multiple photo shoots, lots of optionals for extra content, a yacht day, after party, and plenty of time to bond with our fellow sister queens. This was a unique pageant that is more like a modeling competition than other pageants I've competed in the past, so it was nice to participate in a low pressure pageant I could really enjoy, let go, and just be myself. I knew that no matter what the final result was, the experience itself was priceless as it's a journey of self-discovery and I'm proud of who I became in the process. What made it even more special was getting to room with and share the whole experience with my good friend, mentor, and former director (when I was Miss California Regency International) Christy-Anne Lopez. I want to give a special shoutout to her and Studio Sash for always believing in me and supporting my journey to the crown. She also took home the grand Ms Universe title for her division and I couldn't be more proud and grateful that we got to be crowned together! We both couldn't stop crying happy tears! I still get emotional thinking about it. The sisterhood is strong and I'm so grateful for everyone who supported me on the road to Miss World America. I have honestly always felt alone and pageantry brought me the greatest gift of all: sisterhood.

3. Pageantry often provides a platform to raise awareness about important issues. What cause or advocacy are you most passionate about, and how do you plan to use your title to make a difference?
As a former foster youth, bringing awareness to the broken system is something I'm passionate about. In the past I've worked with organizations including UCI Foster Youth Resilience in Education, Orangewood Foundation, Treehouse for Kids, Hope in a Suitcase and California Youth Connection. I plan to continue this advocacy by volunteering my time tutoring/mentoring foster youth, organizing donation drives, and attending future events as a public speaker.

4. The Ideal Model stands for celebrating authenticity. How do you define true beauty, and how has your experience in pageantry influenced your perception of beauty?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and comes in all different colors, shapes, sizes, and backgrounds, but true beauty encompasses far more than what meets the eye. It's an aura, a glow from within. Those who are truly beautiful radiate confidence and exude kindness. Through pageantry I have met some of the most amazing beautiful women, inside and out. I believe that the most qualified candidates and queens possess a lot more than superficial qualities and are truly the package deal.
5. Confidence is crucial to being a successful model and pageant titleholder. What advice would you give to young individuals aspiring to boost their self-confidence?
I owe a lot of my confidence to pageantry. It has not only helped me step into confidence and embrace my true self, but also gain humility. You will not win every pageant, just like you won't book every modeling job, but the experience helps you get closer to your next win. Taking a risk on yourself is empowering. My advice is to try things you normally wouldn't; challenge yourself. Believe in yourself. Know that you are more than capable and worthy. It may be scary, but it's the only way you'll grow and you'll have the opportunity to evolve into a greater version of yourself. Don't be too fixated on the outcome, focus on the journey as you engage in self-development.

6. Inclusivity is a core value in The Ideal Model. How do you envision promoting diversity and inclusivity within the modeling and pageantry industries?
As a bi-racial woman, inclusivity is extremely important to me. I grew up having somewhat of an identity crisis and never truly feeling accepted as Asian, despite being first generation on my mother's side. I aspire to inspire other minorities and misfits like myself to embrace your roots and never feel ashamed of where you come from. Though we have quite a ways to go, I love seeing more representation in the pageantry and modeling industries. I hope that others see themselves in me and know that it's possible for them too. 

7. Balancing the demands of modeling and pageantry with personal life can be challenging. What strategies do you use to maintain a healthy work-life balance?
Balance is something I'm constantly working on. I've learned to say no more and recognize when I'm feeling overwhelmed. It's necessary to take breaks and prioritize your well-being. I do my best to complete my morning routine with meditation, journaling, reading and exercise, so I feel more grounded and present. I also try to complete the hardest tasks of the day first, which helps my peace of mind and gives me a sense of accomplishment.

8. As Miss World America, you have a platform to inspire and make a positive impact. What are your future goals in your career and as a representative of Miss World America?

I am so grateful to hold a national title as Miss World America. I remember when even winning a state title seemed out of reach, so holding this title is surreal. In the past I have helped coach other aspiring models, pageant girls, and real estate entrepreneurs. I hope to continue serving as a mentor to help youth pursue the arts & entrepreneurship. I plan to use my platform to uplift the voices of other underprivileged, minority, low-income and foster youth. I grew up in poverty with an unconventional background, so I am a living example that your background does not determine your destiny. 

9. Finally, if you could share one piece of wisdom with our readers, what would it be?
Everything is temporary, so be open to change and trust the process. Have unwavering faith in yourself and stay committed to your goals and dreams. 
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