There are some people in the world who can literally light up a room with their smile. Take one of my best friends, Melissa.. no matter where we are or what time we are at in our lives, her smile makes everyone around her smile. She is PURE JOY, pure sheer goodness, and that positivity just radiates out of her.
My best friends and I at Omaha Fashion Week. Melissa is the hottie second from the right. Thanks to Herb Thompson for the photo!
I first saw the young lady you’re about to meet when she competed in the Miss Omaha/Miss Douglas County’s Outstanding Teen pageant last fall, where she finished 1st Runner Up. From that night on, I continued to follow her over social media through the pageant where she would win her own title, and I don’t think this teen HAS EVER STOPPED SMILING.
MISS PLATTE VALLEY’S OUTSTANDING TEEN 2015 EMMA KATE BROWN
Now, as I read my interview with Emma Kate and see what’s behind that smile, her attitude not only inspires me.. she’s kinda knocking my socks off. Emma Kate is fighting two chronic illnesses, Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease.
“I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease when I was three years old, so we’ve been doing gluten free at our house before it was trendy,” joked Emma Kate. “I cannot eat wheat, barley, oats, malt or flour.” (For more on what Celiac Disease is, click here to read my interview with Miss Crane Festival 2014 & Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen 2012 Lianna Prill.)
Emma Kate has also been an ambassador for Diabetes awareness and research long before her pageant days, appearing on KETV First News for an interview with John Oakey several years ago.
“Something else unique about me is my love for public speaking! I had a great time talking with John Oakey and showing him my dance moves,” said Emma Kate. “I wasn’t nervous a bit, but I do think my interview skills have improved.”
She’s getting plenty of practice; Emma Kate is also a youth ambassador for the JDRF (formerly known as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation).
Emma Kate: ‘Had a great time this morning volunteering for my favorite group, the JDRF. Met this little girl who was diagnosed with diabetes two months ago. She inspires me by how strong she is facing such a life changing disease. Loved getting to talk about my story and hearing hers.’
“My platform is turning Type 1 into Type None and it is about raising awareness and funding for a cure to Type 1 Diabetes,”
said Emma Kate. “[It] allows me to tell my story to businesses in the area. I also volunteer at JDRF events throughout the year.”
(For more about Diabetes and fundraising efforts in the Omaha area, click here to read my interview with former Husker Jay Foreman regarding his work with the Foreman Foundation, as well as Diabetes services through Nebraska Medicine.)
Until I heard about all of this from Emma Kate during our interview, I had NO IDEA she faced challenges like this. The 16-year old junior at Elkhorn South High School is on the go NONSTOP, participating on the dance team, in show choir, concert choir, in speech and in National Honor Society. This year alone, Emma Kate starred in Shrek the Musical as Princess Fiona, and took part in a grueling competition schedule with Elkhorn South Blackout (the varsity show choir), including trips to regionals and then nationals in Chicago.
And off stage, when she’s not volunteering, there’s yet ANOTHER side to this girl.
“Even thought I am super focused and goal-driven, I love to get lost in a great book,” said Emma Kate. “I love the ‘Matched’ series, the ‘Selection’ series and the ‘Red Queen’ series. One of my proudest moments would be when I recently got a group of my friends to start reading as much as I do. Now we talk about books at our lunch table and it’s so much fun.”
One of those friends is Emma Kate’s fellow dance team member and Blackout star, Morgan Holen, the current Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen.
“Morgan encouraged me to compete in an upcoming pageant. I was hooked after my first pageant experience in November. I was so impressed by the whole organization that I knew I wanted to take part in it,” said Emma Kate. “I enjoy meeting like-minded, successful girls my age and learning about their platforms and experiences. All the girls are so kind and I have made lifelong friends.”
That is Emma Kate’s message to other teens who may read this; she wants to encourage them just as Morgan encouraged her.
“This program is relevant because there are more girls like me and other contestants who can benefit from the scholarships, volunteer opportunities and sisterhood of the pageants.”
I agree with Emma Kate on the positives that come from the Miss America Organization. I DISAGREE with her that there are other girls like her. That smile is simply one of a kind; welcoming, full of life, excited about what every day could bring. She’s got ‘Outstanding’ on that sash for a reason.. and Emma Kate Brown is ready to prove it in North Platte.
The Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen Pageant will take place June 5, 2015 in North Platte. Click here to visit the organization’s website or the Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen Pageant on Facebook and on Twitter.
To read more about the Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen Class of 2014, click on the ‘There She Is’ link at the top of the page.