How did you get into doing pageants- I began my journey with pageants when I received an application from National American Miss in the mail. I didn’t have a whole lot to do in the summer so I thought I’d give it a try. What’s the worst that could happen, right?
How long have you been competing- I began competing in 2004 in the National American Miss Ohio Junior Teen division.
Your title- I currently hold 2 titles; 2012 America’s US Miss Ohio and 2012 Miss Ohio Nationwide
Best advice you were ever given- “Never give up, this could be your moment for a miracle”. You don’t know what God’s plan for you is. And God wouldn’t put a dream in your heart if he didn’t already have a plan to bring it to pass. You may not be your state title holder, but what’s to say that you weren’t meant to be one of the national title holders or next year’s title holder? Never, ever give up on your dreams no matter how big or small!
One thing you would NEVER do again, given the chance you would never ever do it- I would be more careful with who I would trust. I’ve competed in systems that I’ve hated so badly that I wanted to walk out and I’ve also trusted people with my pageant attire that have destroyed them. So, I would do more research on the systems to make sure they are a more reputable and liked system and I would also make sure the person that is altering my attire knows what they’re doing!
One thing you cant live without when you’re competing- BOOB TAPE!!! Might sound silly but that stuff works miracles!!! I literally went through my entire roll doing mine and everyone else’s that didn’t have any at my last pageant! It’s an absolute MUST have for any pageant!!
Proudest moment-While I do have a few, I’d have to say that it would have to be this year at my national pageant. I worked incredibly hard on everything and it did pay off. One part in particular was my spokesmodel speech. It was my baby; it was very important to me. It was a speech I wrote myself on RSD Awareness. I won the competition and I was so happy that I cried because I felt that my message was so well delivered and heard by not only the judges but the audience too!
Most challenging moment- The past 2 pageants have been very challenging for me because in January of 2011 I was diagnosed with a nerve disorder that developed as a result of a work injury. This is the most painful, debilitating, and incurable nerve disorder known to medical science. When I was diagnosed, I wanted to drop out but my mom wouldn’t let me. So, last year I competed on crutches and this year I worked so hard to be able to walk on that stage; even had surgery 4 days before I left! Having RSD, I am ALWAYS in pain and it’s such an extreme pain that when looking at the pain scale, it’s rated higher than child birth, amputation, cancer, breaks, fractures, etc! So I was walking on stage feeling this pain.
Piece of advice to someone beginning in pageantry, one thing you think they should know- Make use out of talking with other titleholders! Always ask them their tips and tricks to their success! Mine personally is always smile with your eyes not your teeth! What tends to happen to so many is that they focus so much on smiling that it looks so fake and sometimes scary! HAVE FUN! If I start to get even a little bit nervous, I think of something funny before I hit the stage. Then, the smile always looks really genuine!
While our Monday Spotlight Feature is mainly about pageantry, we also want you to get to know our Queens & Kings apart from their titles.
Who is Ashley Marie MacDonald?
I am a 23 year old from Cincinnati, Ohio. I played basketball for 8 years, baseball for a year, and was on my high school bowling team. I graduated from the West Clermont Institute of Performing Arts in 2007 where I focused on Choir, Show Choir, Dance, and Drama. When I graduated it was my plan to take a year off of school and attend the University of Kentucky. Well, a few months after graduating I got a job at DEB Shops and had a walkie talkie headset blow up in my ear which resulted in major hearing loss. To this day, I still only have 20% in that ear. Because of this, my plan to attend the University of Kentucky for Music was put on hold indefinitely. Since I cant pinpoint sound or hear all that well, directing a high school choir isn’t the best idea in the world. So I took more time to decide what my next best option would be. In 2010 I began my college journey majoring in Pharmacology! Chemistry is one of my strong suits so I thought it was a great idea! I was even on the dean’s list! Unfortunately, this journey had a huge bump in the road in January of 2011. While at work I had a 72 inch un-assembled, real wood bookcase fall on my foot. I didn’t think much of it until my foot swelled so bad that the seams on my shoe were bursting! So I went to the ER where they diagnosed me with a bone chip fracture and contusion. Because this is a workman’s compensation case, I had to wait for approval to see an orthopedic. 4 weeks into the injury, I finally received that approval. He said that it is not a bone chip fracture and contusion, it was something else and he needed an MRI to prove it. I was diagnosed with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), a life altering, debilitating, and incurable nerve disorder all because of that bookcase! This disorder is rated to be more painful than childbirth, cancer, amputation, breaks, fractures, chronic pain, etc. and it’s a CONSTANT pain that doesn’t go away at any point.
At this time, I had already won the title of America’s US Miss Ohio and wanted to drop out so badly but my mother convinced me not to. Nationals was only 6 months away and I was in a wheelchair. I worked vigorously in Physical Therapy to walk on that stage and to wear heels! In 2 months I made it up to a walker, then 2 months later I was down to one crutch, and then I had a major backfire a month before nationals! I was then back on 2 crutches! I attended nationals on 2 crutches. One of the best things that happened at nationals was I met a young lady that also had RSD but in her knee. I learned so much from her and her mom; in particular about Vitamin C! I took the information she gave me and did research and found out that RSD and Vitamin C research has been done that shows RSD can be prevented by taking Vitamin C by 76-94%!!! So I made a petition to make it mandatory for hosptials outpatients and urgent cares to provide it. My petition on change.org currently has over 700 signatures and have a “please help me Ellen” video on youtube which has almost 3,500 views! My hope is that Ellen will see it and help make this possible so that no one has to suffer the way that I have.
When I received my scores, I saw that I did very well for being on crutches but wanted to work so much harder to NOT be on crutches for the following year. 6 surgeries later, I was back at Nationals and ready to walk on stage and I did just that! I did optional competitions this year too! What a lot of people don’t know is that loud noises such as music, movies, etc cause flares so during rehearsal I had an awful flare before the finale. But I was bound and determined to NOT go on that stage on crutches! I took as much medicine as I could so that I didn’t have to do that! I finished my pageant without my crutches and with so many awards! I had won:
- Actress- 2nd Runner up
- Talent- 1st Runner up
- Spokesmodel- WINNER
- Crown Cover Model- WINNER
- Best thank you note- WINNER
- National Volunteer Service- WINNER
- Miss Personality- WINNER
I’m so happy to have had the ability to compete in the pageants that I have but because of my RSD it has gotten to be so difficult. I came into this national pageant knowing that it would be my last because it’s just not the same for me anymore; I loved doing those opening production number dances and I cannot do them.
Now, I get to watch my friends compete and help them in any way that I can. My cousin is set to compete in her first pageant next year and I will be acting as her coach. I may not be competing after the Miss Nationwide online pageant later this year, but I will remain active in them in another way. They will always have a special place in my heart with the wonderful memories I have taken from them.