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My Interview With Jaelene Luper

1) Who is Jaelene Luper?

I would say that I am an advocate. Even before I started competing in pageants and competitions, I was very passionate about what is now my platform, Feed Our Neighbors because food insecurity is something my family dealt with for a few months when I was a child. I've done a few things including writing poems about hunger, I interned at a food bank during my freshman year of college and became a SNAP Sign-up Aide. I've just kind of run from there and I've been able to work with some really great organizations such as Feeding Texas and the American Heart Association of Texas. I would say that is a big part of me, too. What sums me up is I just feel like I'm a fun person. I really enjoy music. I've done music for a long time. Overall, I'm all about good vibes. I'm all about having fun and enjoying my time in every scenario I get myself into. Every world, every realm I just try to make the most of it and learn as much as I can because I feel like we all have different experiences for a reason.

2) Can you tell me more about your social impact?

My social impact initiative is called Feed Our Neighbors. It's very self-explanatory but like I said before my family dealt with food insecurity when I was a child. This is something I wasn't the most confident talking about at first, but I realized how many people dealt with this issue, especially upon entering high school. Like I said, I wrote a poem about hunger, but I wrote that poem with two other young ladies and at the end of writing that poem we all realized we dealt with food insecurity at some point in our lives. So, when I say my brain was just kind of cracked wide open in the sense of this being a more common issue than I had thought. I think that's when I really started becoming more vocal about this issue. I interned at a food bank, I became a SNAP Sign-up Aide, and I partnered with the North Texas Food Bank, but I think the most important thing, and this is a quote from Mother Teresa, is "If you can't feed a hundred people, then just feed one." I think that is, for anyone wanting to get involved in the fight against hunger, something that should be at the forefront of their mind. You don't have to be in like a "I'm super committed to the cause" mindset. Even just volunteering at your local food bank, donating to your local soup kitchen or food bank, and just spending some time in those realms to support people in your communities who may be dealing with hunger - that's how you feed your neighbors. It's just as simple as that. There's no one size fits all. Whatever works for you, is helpful. Everything counts. Quite literally, even if it is just your neighbor and you've noticed they are going through a hard time and so you bring them a meal. That matters. I always encourage people to get in where they fit in and just do what they can in their community to be that change.

3) What is your biggest inspiration?

Oh, I have so many! I will say for the sake of this interview that Ayesha Curry is literally one of my favorite people for so many reasons. Of course, who wouldn't want to be married to Steph Curry but also because she is a philanthropist. Her personal mission is one that deals with hunger as well. Hers is specifically more focused on combating childhood hunger. We just have very similar causes and also there are just so many other things about her that inspire me such as her entrepreneurship and just really taking charge of her family and household the way that she does. I know people like to say that people like her are glorified housewives, but she is so much more than that. She just inspires me in so many ways and definitely when philanthropy is involved. She is one of those people I look up to.

4) How long have you been a part of the Miss Texas Organization?

I started competing in 2018 but I didn't win a title until 2019. With that considered, I have been involved for four years now. It's been wonderful. I have learned so much about myself. I have learned so much about communicating with others, networking, and just being my best self and how to present that. It's so crazy because I think people look at pageants or they look at competitions like Miss Texas and they think this like something that is so objective to women or just so antiquated like old school or not relevant anymore. What's so crazy is when you get involved you realize it is quite the opposite. It is a great social opportunity and I think if nothing else, you meet like-minded women who are goal oriented and who are striving for success in whatever field they choose. I think the most admirable thing about all of this is it has really just helped so many women grow, and I know that, having been in the organization for four years, I have met hundreds of women who are so successful in their own ways. There are so many avenues in the world that these women go into that they are leaders because of the Miss Texas organization. I've loved my time here. I've loved learning just about being a better speaker, a better friend, a better networker and all of those things. I've just loved seeing what this organization can do for girls.

5) After your title is given to someone else, will you compete again this season?

I will not and I'll tell you why. I kind of had my mind made up before this season even started that this would be my last year. Which is also why I was really picky about where I wanted to compete because I wanted to make the most of my last year and being that I'm from Dallas I really had my sights set on either being Miss Dallas, Miss North Texas, or Miss DFW. Thankfully I won Dallas but had I not I would have been right there at that next pageant because I really wanted to represent my hometown. Being able to represent my hometown, being able to do my social impact for a year here and making top 15 at Miss Texas - those were a few of my biggest goals since the day I started competing. Actually, my first local competition ever in 2018 was Miss Dallas Park Cities so this has really come full circle for me. So, when I won, I was definitely at peace with this being my last year even though I didn't yet know the outcome of Miss Texas. That made it that much easier for me to feel content with my journey.

6) What is your life plan?

I recently graduated college so I am currently still job hunting but I am planning to take a job in my field, in the communications and social media marketing arena. Also just living my best life.

7) To conclude, is there anything else you would like to add to this interview?

I would specifically leave a note to any girl who is considering competing and I would just tell her to just go for it. It is so worth it. It can be very intimidating especially if you are new and you don't have any pageant experience but that was the case for me, and this is where I'm at now. Everything will happen in the timing that it's supposed to, and you will be so thankful that you gave yourself a shot sooner than later. I would recommend just going after it. You will learn so much, and you will not regret it. Even if it's not what you thought it would be you will learn so much that I promise it will be worth it.

If you'd like to learn more about Jaelene, click here to visit her website.

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