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you can vote now!!

When I considered applying to the Maxim CoverGirl contest, I had some doubts. I definitely don’t have as vast a following as some of the other contestants, going up against Instagram models with numbers in the tens and hundreds of thousands. But what I do have is such an amazing support system both in the US and abroad. The outpouring of support I’ve received over the last 24 hours has been incredible and made me tear up (with joy) on more than one occasion.

Growing up, models and covergirls were an intangible thing to me. It’s not that I didn’t believe in myself or think I was pretty enough, but the idea never really appealed to me because I never attached that career path with anything that was tangible or important to me. With acting and performing I feel the journey deep in my bones. With my Masters Degree journey, I felt the importance of education and of the discussions I was so lucky to have with those in my program. And that’s why I think going on this journey to try and become the next Maxim CoverGirl is important - because I want young girls to realize that they can be both a scholar and a pretty face.

I’ve written before that whatever girls want to do in their lives, I want to help them know that they don't have to align themselves with the expectations of what the world (or the society in which they live) thinks they should do. When girls are young, they’re fed so many images and stories about what they should be, what they should do, and how they should behave. Many of these ideas were discussed in my dissertation, and it is something about which I am very passionate.

I don’t know that I’m the best candidate for Maxim CoverGirl or that I’ll win this competition, but I often think about what I would have wanted to see as a young girl: a well-rounded woman with goals, dreams, aspiration, and drive. I would have loved to see a Maxim CoverGirl with a Masters degree who also performs improv and breaks into comedy rap songs, a Maxim CoverGirl who plays in competitive and male-dominated basketball leagues no matter where she lives while also training for Marathons, a Maxim CoverGirl who invests in herself and her career even if it means making challenging decisions and leaving home for a little while to move to another city or to another country across the ocean, a Maxim CoverGirl who can talk about various philosophical and socioeconomic lenses and views of the world and also participates in a weekly Dungeons and Dragons game with friends abroad… essentially, I would have really wanted to see someone more like me who would have made me feel like being a model was something much more tangible and relatable and attainable.

That’s why this journey and process is important to me. If I win (based on voting!), I get to do a photoshoot for a Maxim magazine cover, but, something much more important to me is that I’d win twenty-five thousand dollars ($25k)! If I were to win that money, I would use the $25k to start a foundation that helps empower and encourage young girls to embrace their authentic selves, allowing them to be comfortable in their own skin with every magical thing that makes them unique. If a girl wants to be an athlete, amazing. If she wants to be a scientist, awesome. If she wants to play video games, great! If she wants to be a cop or firefighter or nurse or influencer or yoga instructor or fitness model or QVC host or neurosurgeon or a Bard High Elf with impressive Charisma stats, incredible! Whatever girls want to do in their lives, I want to help them know that they don't have to align themselves with the expectations of what the world (or the society in which they live) thinks they should do. And I want them to know that they can be however many things they want to be without putting themselves in a box. So, please, I'd love it if you'd vote for me for Maxim CoverGirl by clicking here or on the photo above so I can show younger girls what I wanted to see when I was their age - not just a model but a role model, too.

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