I’ll admit, I’m not too educated or well-versed in all things pageantry. In fact, until recently, I was oblivious as to the intense training, hard work and responsibilities of those who hold the title of ‘Miss USA’. Recently, I joined forces with the Office on Women’s Health, serving as their ambassador for ‘National Women’s Health Week‘. A number of well known celebrities, like Nana Meriwether, Miss USA, participated in the week, which focused on bringing together communities, businesses, government, health organizations, and other groups in an effort to promote women’s health and its importance. I had a chance to briefly chat with the 25-year-old Maryland native about her role, what motivated her to participate in the week and what’s she’d like her legacy to be. Peep the full interview below.
What’s been the most challenging part of your role?
The toughest part has been balancing work with a personal life. This title is not just a job, it is a full time lifestyle. It’s hard to fulfill personal commitments, but having the title of Miss USA and living all of the experiences that come with it is worth it!
We just wrapped up National Women’s Health Week. What made you want to be involved?
I am a former athlete. I played volleyball for UCLA and became a two-time All American by my senior year. My experiences as an athlete helped condition me to always be aware of my body and health. I got used to working out regularly and eating well in order to feel and perform the best that I could. That lifestyle has followed me to my adulthood after college.’
For a person like you that travels non-stop and is on the road, how do you make your personal health a priority?
I always make it a priority to fit in a workout. It is hard to eat healthy on the road, but I balance it out by working out at least 20-30 mins, 4-5 times a day.
Now, is there some synergy between your platform and National Women’s Health Week? And if so, how?
As Miss USA I champion the cause of breast and ovarian cancer prevention, education and awareness. I encourage women to get check-ups regularly and know their bodies in order to maintain healthy living.
If there’s one message that you could relay, that could motivate women to be more aware or make their health a more of a priority, what would it be?
Even after just a day of eating well and working out you can sense a difference not only in your body, but mentally as well. The clarity that comes from taking care of yourself is well worth it and I hope to motivate others to realize this by being a good example.
What’s next for Miss USA?
I love New York City and will continue to live here. I studied premedical sciences in a post graduate program after my undergrad at UCLA. Medical school is an option, but with the title, you meet so many people that open doors to a diverse array of opportunities.
What legacy would you like to leave behind?
I want to leave a legacy of philanthropy. I co-founded a non-profit called The Meriwether Foundation that operates in 5 countries of Southern Africa. We have opened schools, clinics, started agricultural and water projects and we work to treat and educate people about HIV/AIDS. I hope people remember me for my humanitarian efforts, but more importantly I hope to inspire people to help others in any form.