Hello Everyone! It feels great to be back on the stage where I got my start 4 years ago. I remember my audition so well and enrolling into the Barbizon Program at only 11 years old. I had two goals:
To grow into my feet and to grow into my ears!!! Of course neither of those two things happened while I was there but something else did. I did learn how to put on my makeup, take care of my nails, how to walk on stage gracefully, and how to speak into a camera. I thought I became an expert in all of those areas!
Actually, that’s not what I left Barbizon with.
I left with a new confidence that I’ve never experienced before. I was confident I could put on make up correctly, walk on stage gracefully, and confident I could be a better speaker. Believe it or not I use to be so shy that my elementary teachers would have to literally pull me off of my mom’s leg to get me into class. Then I remember after attending Barbizon, my mom got a call from school. I was talking too much in class. My mom was so happy!!!! She said thank goodness- the shyness is gone- thanks for calling and telling me Jena got in trouble. That’s wonderful news!!!
Now, I had to figure out what to do with all of this “new found¨ confidence.
So, I decided to enter a pageant. I had always volunteered and kept good grades. I had received a pageant brochure in the mail that talked about girls with high academics and their involvement in the community and with the ability to speak well. (we all know I can do that by now) So I entered, and I won Georgia Junior Teenage, then I went on to win National Junior Teenager!
But it hasn’t ended there. I have visited 21 states.
I’ve raised over $64,000 for the American Cancer Society and I’ve become a spokesperson for Athens Macy’s during their volunteer events, Build a Bear for their huggable heroes program, and I’ve become a spokesperson for the American Cancer Society.
My volunteer work with the American Cancer Society and pageant has landed me in 22 national magazines, on TV, and I’m in NY all the time. I have won over $25,000 in scholarship money so far and have set my goal to attend Yale University in Connecticut.
So, did all of this happen because I started at Barbizon when I was a scrawny 11 year old??? NO! It happened because of the confidence they instilled in me to pursue my goals, whatever they may be.
After I give up my national title at the end of July, I am heading to NY because of Barbizon and have intentions of signing with a modeling agency. Then in November, I will enter the Miss Georgia Teen USA pageant. So I keep setting my goals and reaching for them.
Good luck to all of you, I would love to hear from you of your successes after you’ve completed Barbizon. Your opportunities are endless!
~Jena Sims, Barbizon of Atlanta (’01)