North Carolina's Flyy Girl, Miss Camille Bridges
I had the honor of chatting with Miss Capital City, Camille Bridges who is in the running to be Miss North Carolina. Read all the way to end to find out how you can help her win big!
Q: Hi Camille! Can you give the Flyy Fam a little background on who you are? A: I grew up in a suburb of Detroit, MI. I am a 7th Grade Math Teacher in Kinston, NC.I am also the current Miss Capital City 2018 and I am preparing to compete in the Miss North Carolina pageant in June. This is a preliminary competition in the Miss America Organization—the largest scholarship provider for women. I am currently working on promoting my platform: Reversing Childhood Obesity. I hope to reach 75% of schools in Eastern North Carolina and speak on three points: self-worth, physical fitness, and good nutrition.
Q: Wow Camille, you are a real life beauty queen preparing herself for the crown! That's amazing. Tell us what are some of the things that helped to shape you into who you are today?
A: A big part of my upbringing was my faith. I was also classically trained by a world-renowned piano instructor. While enjoyed spending time with friends, a lot of my time growing up was spent practicing.
One of the greatest lessons I learned from my piano instructor was, “Practice doesn’t make perfect. Practice makes permanent.” Thus I learned diligence in practice and study at in early age. This ultimately allowed me to excel in the classroom, on the piano, in college, and in my current career as a math teacher. I strive to teach excellence over perfectionism. Through faith, music, and family I became the woman I am today.
Q: Not many people have the patience for classical piano, kudos to you for sticking with it! I'm sure you have done some reflection in your journey, can you tell me some things your younger self would be proud of you for?
A: I have finally had my glow up! I can comfortably speak with strangers and I am confident in my faith! My younger self would be proud, especially because those were things I used to be insecure about.
Q: I think looking back and realizing how far we have come is a really big part of growth and acknowledgement of the glow up is ESSENTIAL! What are some pieces of advice that you would give to a girl that aspires to follow in your footsteps, but is afraid to take that first step? A: Just do it! The worst thing that can happen is that you fall. The greatest lesson I have ever learned is this: “If you are brave enough, often enough, you will fall.” The growing, the rising, comes afterwards! Getting up and finally achieving those big dreams is worth it in the end!
Q: Besides being inspired by your beautiful soul and ambition, another objective of this interview is to encourage travel. As this is a travel blog and I love traveling- my goal with with this FlyyGirl Spotlight is to show that everyone can travel. Whether it be in the states or abroad, black women are out here DOING IT! What are some of the destinations you have been so far?
A: Besides missions trips to Jamaica and Nicaragua with my school, I have been to many states in the U.S.! My favorite place to visit in the states is Washington D.C., Georgetown specifically! It is full of culture and history that I LOVE learning about! If you ever go you MUST check out Georgetown Cupcakes, but be prepared to wait, their cupcakes are so good, the line is usually out the door!
Q: I'm not a fan of waiting in line, but Georgetown Cupcakes has been added to my list! Can you tell me more about your missions trips? A: Well I went to Nicaragua and Jamaica with my school and I really feel like my outlook on the world was forever changed. Nicaragua for example is a beautiful country full of fascinating people and cuisine- but it also is a place of great poverty and despair. I saw full communities built on top of trash dumps and they literally would go search the piles of trash to find food to sustain them from day to day.
Nicaragua is my favorite place because of the joy that I saw on the faces of kids that really had nothing. It was really sad to see their daily living conditions but also encouraging to see that even through that depravity, the kids were able to smile and play and that really touched me.
Q: What was your experience like as a black woman abroad? How were you treated? What was their perception of you as a black traveler? A: Well, it was definitely interesting! The biggest thing that stands out as a black woman traveling abroad is that it is an activity that isn’t done often in the black community. When I tell my family, and even some friends, that I have gone abroad it is a big deal to them! I think traveling abroad is definitely something that should be experienced-it really expands our knowledge base!
Q: I totally agree! The more we travel and open our horizons to new perspectives, the better. We aren't just exposing ourselves to new cultures, we are also exposing the world to what are like on a human level. Can you tell me who or what is inspiring you right now?
A: Right now my students are inspiring me. I have done pageants for a long time, but after having 4 years of “real-world” experience I have learned that hard work goes far beyond the competition stage. One of my favorite quotes is by Teddy Roosevelt, from the “Man in the Arena” speech. I am the (wo)man in the arena. It states: “It is not the critic who counts...the credit belongs to the (wo)man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs; who comes short again and again; because there is no effort without error or shortcoming; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best in the end knows triumph and high achievement; and who at the worst, if (s)he fails, at least (s)he fails while daring greatly.” The classroom is my arena. My students, this work, teaches me how to DARE GREATLY.
Q: Wow, that's beautiful Camille! I can tell you are really passionate about the work that you do which is a blessing. So many people go to work literally counting down the hours and seconds til they can go home- I am happy that you are working in a field that you love. Now, back to the Miss North Carolina Pageant. Can you tell us a little more about your platform?
A: My platform is Reversing Childhood Obesity. My message is promoting self-worth, physical fitness and good nutrition for kids. Unfortunately, many of our kids are being diagnosed with preventable diseases do to poor nutrition and fitness habits. In North Carolina, we rank a D in Healthy Eating and Living. 31% of kids are overweight or obese. That number increases to 40.2% for African American kids. 1/3 of NC children live in food insecure households. This in turn causes many kids to be diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, asthma, ADHD, and other preventable diseases. I aim to reach communities, to speak on the importance of health. It really is easier and more affordable than we think!
This is important to me because I was overweight as a child. It wasn’t until my parents made a lifestyle change for me that I realized that what you eat and how active you are, really contributes to overall health. I am forever thankful because my life could be different if those changes were not made.
Q: What were some of the first steps you took in your fight against childhood obesity? A: I took the first step when I was in college. I found the opportunity to lead a Girls On a The Run team for middle school girls. The main focus of that team was brain, social, heart. body, and spirit development. On this foundation, I trained girls of different fitness levels to run a 5k. This was extremely rewarding when each of my girls crossed the finish line. I continue to coach a team every year.
Q: When my leg heals I would definitely like to go on a run with you and your girls. That program sounds like so much fun and I am all about support and mentorship of young girls! As we close out, can you tell me how the FlyyFam can support you in your quest for the crown? A: Absolutely! Anyone looking to support or just follow my journey should follow me on Instagram at: www.instagram.com/misscapitalcity_nc/ . All important updates and news about the competition will be posted there. You can also watch me compete for the title of Miss North Carolina LIVE on June 23rd at 7pm EST!
Most importantly, the FlyyFam can support me by voting for me in the ABC 11 People's Choice competition! It's so easy to vote for me: Click this link which will take you back to ABC 11's page, enter your email address and select me for the 2018 Miss North Carolina People's Choice!
Well I for one already voted and sent the link to a couple friends to do the same. You are already a winner many times over in my book. Thanks again for talking with me and Good Luck FlyyGirl!