For first-year student Ellie Osborne, ’25, winning Miss Teen North Carolina North America 2022 means more than just a title. She now has an additional opportunity to promote her social media platform, R.E.A.L.I.T.Y. (Recognize, Engage, Accept, Lead, Inspire, and Teach Youth), to bring awareness to service programs benefiting children within her community.
“My main goal is to take the opportunity with this title to inspire people and to, number one, help them understand and address any preconceived notions about pageants. And then, number two, to serve as a role model regarding how we can all serve one another,” said Osborne.
Osborne supports Horizons National and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) organizations primarily in her service work. Horizons National is an enrichment program for elementary through high school students from under-resourced communities. SADD is a middle and high school student program that addresses mental health, substance abuse, road safety, and social media safety. Osborne has served as a SADD leader and founder of the first independent school chapter in her county.
Service programs have played an essential role throughout Osborne’s life. She has made meaningful connections with her community and learned much about herself by working with children through volunteering.
“In my opinion, youth are the future, and that’s what I intend to focus on with my title. Educating and providing them with all the resources that maybe I wish I could have had (related to mental health/self-care management),” she said.
Osborne began competing in pageants her sophomore year of high school. She quickly realized the preconceived notions of pageants were false and found herself in a supportive community.
“The beauty of what pageants have taught me is that I am my own person. I’m happy with that. And, I want to serve as a role model for younger girls and show them that they should be confident in who they are and that they are loved, and they are valued,” said Osborne.
The North America Beauty Pageant system in which Osborne won her title as Miss Teen North Carolina, has four divisions: Jr. Miss for ages 12-14, Teen for ages 15-19, Miss for ages 20-29, Ms. for ages 30+, and Elite for ages 50+.
Osborne said she loves how this organization focuses on the fact that beauty is more than skin deep and that it spans all ages. This resonated with her and is something she felt reflects the Meredith College’s values.
“That’s what I liked about this organization. I was like ‘wow, they remind me a lot of my school.’ And, the reason I love Meredith is because it’s so inclusive. And, I feel like this organization is very inclusive of all ages and that’s something that I really wanted to be a part of,” said Osborne.
Not only is Osborne competing in pageants and supporting two service programs, but she’s also on Meredith’s tennis team, a sport she’s been playing competitively since seventh grade, the service chair for Meredith’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), a member of the freshman class Senate, and is part of the honors program. She was recently inducted into the Alpha Lambda Delta honor society for academic excellence as a freshman.
Osborne said the support of her family, friends, fellow Meredith athletes, professors, and tennis coach Meredith Muempfer has meant the world to her. Her time at Meredith has inspired her to serve as a role model for others in the same way the women and professors around her have influenced her.
“Be kind. Be strong. Be smart,” is Osborne’s motto throughout life.
“The goal is to get everyone to slow down and think, ‘OK, I’m strong. I’m smart. Here’s how I’m going to show kindness in my community. Here’s how I want to make a difference where I’m showing them love and how much they are valued. That way they can go out and make that difference for someone else,” she said.
Osborne will be going to Internationals in Orlando, Fl., this summer to compete for the title of Miss Teen North America 2022. While competing, her goal is to impress upon the judges who she is and to share her purpose in service.
“I know that I have a passion for serving others, and that’s what I’m doing with my platform, and that’s what I plan to do with my career. I intend to show them, ‘This is Ellie. She is faithful. She’s an advocate for under-resourced communities. She’s an advocate for mental health. She values relationships. She values community,” said Osborne.
She plans on majoring in psychology and minoring in business and child development to become a pediatric speech pathologist and continue doing what she loves most: helping children to be their best selves.