Miss America 2010
Goodwill Ambassador for Children’s Miracle Network
TV appearances: Live! with Regis& Kelly, FOX News Channel’s Fox and Friends, Extra, etc.
Magazines: Savvy, Pageantry, Belle
Student at Virginia Commonwealth University, majoring in broadcast journalism
Dean’s List, Academic Honors, Who’s Who Among America’s College Students
Miss America 2010: Caressa Cameron
On January 30, 2010, Miss Virginia Caressa Cameron was crowned Miss America. Behind the scenes, friends and family were assigned different times to pray for her during the competition. Caressa says she definitely felt the strength and support from God and her loved ones.
As a part of her victory, she was given a $50,000 scholarship. Since 1945, scholarships have been the cornerstone of the not-for-profit Miss America Organization, which empowers young women to achieve their personal and professional goals and provides an opportunity to express their opinions, talent, and intelligence. Scholarship assistance is not just for those that win the title of Miss America, but it is also for the over 12,000 young ladies who compete in the state and local competitions.
THIS WAS THE TIME
It has been quite a journey for Caressa to win the title of Miss America. At age 7, she was in her first pageant. Her mother entered Caressa because her mother wanted Caressa to get in touch with her “feminine side” – as the only girl among brothers Caressa was a tomboy. Her first pageant was “Someday Miss America,” and Caressa’s mother believed that she would one day be Miss America because of a prophetic word. However, Caressa did not continue with pageants for the next few years, because it didn’t seem like it was something she was really interested at the time.
Her teen years were difficult and awkward. She was bullied at school. One day the young lady who was Miss Virginia at the time came and spoke at Caressa’s school. She encouraged the audience to take negativity and turn it into something positive. These words helped Caressa take more positive steps in her life. Later Caressa entered and won her first local pageant. After that, she entered the Miss Virginia pageant. She ran four times before winning in 2009 – she was the first runner-up in 2008 and second runner-up the two previous years.
When she repeatedly did not win the Miss Virginia pageant Caressa didn’t feel like she was supposed to give up. One of the reasons she had not given up is that people kept telling her as she was growing up that she had a voice to make a difference. During this time, she asked God what she was supposed to do – her pastor told her it might not be God’s timing for her. By the third or fourth time she ran, she didn’t feel any pressure to win. She really just wanted a platform to make a difference in people’s lives. When she finally won she knew that “this was the time.”
THE CAUSE THAT CHOSE HER
AIDS is an issue that is dear to her heart. Caressa she didn’t pick it -- it picked her. In 1995, she lost her uncle to the virus and the last month of his life her family took care of him. Then her mother and she volunteered with a local AIDS program and have continued to volunteer for the cause. They took care of a four-year-old girl who contracted AIDS from her mother. People didn’t think she would live very long, but today, she is 18 years old. Caressa is dedicated to AIDS awareness and education/advocacy.
She believes that you can never save a soul if you can’t save a life. AIDS is 100 percent preventable, and Caressa knows some may not agree with all of the stands she takes because she is a Christian. Some of her work for the Children’s Miracle Network with the Miss America Organization is with the infectious disease unit, which is related to the work she does with AIDS.
Her family has roots in Southern Baptist churches. Every church her family has ever attended her mother has been a part of ministry, whether it be teaching or on the prayer team. Caressa remembers she was ten-years-old when she prayed the sinner’s prayer. When she was 14, she felt she had her own walk with the Lord. During her awkward early teen years, she was aggressive and got into trouble because she didn’t know how to deal with the negativity. She used this opportunity to grow in her relationship with God. She asked God tell her who He said she is instead of listening to others.
Caressa is so thankful for her faith because throughout pageants, in both winning and losing, she was never stressed because she was secure in God’s word about seasons. There can be a lot of negativity, even now, but knowing who she is in Christ has helped her to deal with it. She hasn’t let negativity get her down and she is secure in God’s purpose.
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