The Me I Was Meant to Be
Coming into the Miss America Organization as a first-time local title holder, I thought I knew who I was and who I was meant to be. When I graduated college in 2019, I was set on becoming an MD/PhD. I had a 519 on the MCAT, the right resume, the right volunteer service and the right credentials. But something was missing. I was ready to begin a ten-year journey into medicine, and I felt purposeless. It wasn’t until I competed in my first pageant, Miss Texarkana Twin Rivers, that I learned I was made to do something else entirely. As Miss Twin Rivers, I was given a unique opportunity to expand beyond the reach of a specific county or city and travel across Texas. I have found myself road-tripping from Austin, to advocate for legislation, to Texarkana to make school appearances, to attend a ribbon cutting ceremony in Richardson, to countless interviews, appearances, community celebrations and service projects. I took every opportunity that was presented to me as an opportunity to grow and learn something new about myself. Boy, did I learn new things!
In August 2019, upon winning the title of Miss Twin Rivers, I adapted Becoming 31 (becoming31.org & @becoming.31) into a social impact initiative for the Miss America Organization. Becoming 31 is helping young people discover both passion and purpose. Through a school program and curriculum, personal development series and a Girl Scout Patch Program available to 1.8 million Girl Scouts across the country, Becoming 31 is impacting the lives of young people everywhere. In the last two years, I expanded upon my existing blog and created an outlet for girls who are on a journey to reach their potential. It is confounding to think what began as a simple blog has become my life’s purpose. Over the course of a year, I launched an online ministry that is now internationally acclaimed, reaching audiences in New Zealand, England, Japan, Canada, and more. Becoming 31 is currently partnering with local, state, national, and international organizations to ultimately extend our reach to meet more women where they are. The mission is simple: to see generations of young women live out both passion and purpose as they become who they were created to be. The Becoming 31 Foundation will launch in early 2022 to further this mission of generational impact by providing character development programs, educational discipleship resources, inspirational conferences and more. By the end of 2021, I will be a twice published author in both children’s and adult genres. All of this was done in preparation for Miss Texas, but in reality, these experiences shaped me into the woman I was made to be.
At Miss Texas 2021, I felt prepared and ready for the week. I went into each phase of competition knowing if God didn’t have the Miss Texas title planned for me, there was nothing I could do to force it. But I also knew if Miss Texas was His plan for me, there was nothing that could stop it. This mindset gave me peace the entire week. It was because of this peace I was able to truly rest and enjoy the competition. It was my first “summer camp,” experience. I was lucky, blessed, over-the-moon and all the adjectives in between, to have Miss Texarkana, Courtnee Gilchrist, as my roommate. Rooming with her was icing on the cake for that exciting week. Courtnee is a hoot-and-a-half, and a pleasure to be around. She was my advocate, friend, and dear sister-I cherish our time together. As a matter of fact, all the lone star ladies were a highlight of my week. Individually, they were incredible, and I enjoyed every moment of getting to know them. I loved seeing my family, friends, and directors, all cheering me on each night of competition. I felt fantastic about my interview and soaked up every moment I had on the stage. There were many highlights. At the end of the week, I was named into the Top-14, winning Overall Rookie On-Stage Interview, several scholarships and awards including the Servant Leadership Award and more. All the preparation, interviews, talent practice, modeling practice and the many appearances were in the end, not preparing me to become Miss Texas 2021, but providing the growth God intended for whatever comes next.
When I won Miss Twin Rivers, I couldn’t have imagined all I would gain through the experience. The journey truly has been incredible. Within two years, I have experienced a radical transformation physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. I once was a defeatist, young woman, determined to climb to the top of the world on the coattails of my intelligence. That mentality has undergone a full 180-degree pivot. I now see my true strength is my ability to be vulnerable about my journey and to use my story to touch the lives of others. I know this was not my own doing, but ultimately the Lord’s. For me it was never about winning a pageant, but seeing His will was accomplished. In turn, His plan to use something like a pageant to spur on radical change in a young woman is simply put, astonishing. Throughout the past two years, I have seen the Lord’s sovereign hand over this entire process. That is what I will always hold in my heart. Many times, in life we look back and say, “God was there. I can see how He lined things up for me to be where I am now.” Rarely do we actually get to see the manifestation of God moving while it is happening. But I have seen exactly that. The Lord has used the Miss America Organization and the people of Texarkana to bring out of me things I never knew I had in me. In 2019, I didn’t know who I was and therefore did not know the impact I could make. Today, my perspective is different.
I am an overcomer and a survivor. I am a leader. I am an advocate. I am a mentor. I am a woman of faith, a barista, a vocalist, a grad-student, a published author, a blogger, and much more. I am who I am today because of the people who have shaped me, and I am on a journey to become exactly who God made me to be. The people of Texarkana have played a huge part in that. I cannot describe in words the gratitude I have for every citizen of Texarkana who makes what we do possible. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. From the moment I was crowned, you have made me feel like family. You have welcomed me, encouraged me, and cheered me on all the way. There is no other city I would have been more honored to represent this year at Miss Texas.
Texarkana, it has been an honor to serve you. It has been an honor to wear the Twin Rivers name across my chest, and it has been a blessing to represent the people who make this city so great. My time as Miss Twin Rivers is coming to a close, but this experience will be one of the most formative of my life.
Miss Twin Rivers, Madi Franquiz