Meg McGuffin had been dreaming of walking in the Miss America pageant since she was four years old. This September, she’ll achieve her dreams as she competes for the title after being crowned Miss Alabama on June 6.
McGuffin has a long history of pageant achievements. She won Miss Alabama’s Outstanding Teen when she was 14 and earned a full scholarship to a variety of universities across the state.
The scholarship opened educational doors for her. With her mother a single-mom, she said she knew she had to find a way to pay for her own education.
Pageants have not only helped her pay for her undergraduate degree entirely, but also allowed her to continue with her education with Auburn’s graduate program.
The decision to go to Auburn University was like coming home McGuffin said.
“Just growing up in the state of Alabama and always being an Auburn fan, going to football games, it felt like home from a very young age,” McGuffin said. “When I won a four year scholarship I knew I had to take advantage of that.”
She credited her degree in media studies and her time at student-run Eagle Eye TV in helping her become comfortable in front of cameras, something she hopes will help her in her upcoming year as Miss Alabama.
Her pageant platform, “Healthy is the New Skinny,” is something she hopes will encourage others to be comfortable in their skin.
The idea for her platform came after her own body image problems, she said.
“It’s something I have been passionate about for as long as I can remember,” McGuffin said. “I struggled with those body images. Growing up as a dancer I spent countless hours in front of a mirror in a leotard and tights looking at my body and I didn’t like what I saw.”
Coming to Auburn helped her love her body. To help others she became president of Auburn University’s Body Education and Eating Awareness Program, Aubie EDA, and implemented FatTalk Free Week, Love Your Body Week, Southern Smash and Love the Skin You’re In.
With her status as Miss Alabama she said she hopes to pass a bill that enlists all elementary, middle and high schools to have weeks similar to Love Your Body Week and Fat Talk Free Week.
She also hopes to establish programs like Aubie EDA in universities across the state to promote healthier body image and eating disorder awareness.
As for students who hope to follow in her footsteps and become Miss Alabama, she has simple advice.
“Go for it,” McGuffin said. “And be true to who you are. I think a lot of times in college we toy with the idea of being someone else, but you can’t truly believe the words that you’re saying or believe the work that you’re doing if you’re not doing something from your own heart.”
Images provided via Tiger Image.