You might recognize Jessica Procter. The University of Alabama senior was in the top 7 at Miss America pageant in 2018, and won the Jean Bartel Quality of Life Award for Outstanding Community Service. On top of running an organization that fights hunger in the United States, running the pageant circuit, and running around campus in her many student leadership
roles, Jessica is a devoted Music and Communications student.
We talked to Jessica about her journey to Miss America, the community service that she takes great pride in and how she responds to people who tell her music "isn't a career." Then, she gave us her top tip for young women who want to make a difference in their community.
How are you making an impact on your school or local community?
I created "Step Up to the Plate: Decreasing Food Insecurity" about five years ago. It is a partnership with the West Alabama Food Bank which seeks to evoke a sense of urgency among people, encouraging them to act now and fill the “plate” of their hungry neighbor through conducting food drives, raising money, and raising awareness.
What made you passionate about the project or role that's allowing you to make a difference?
I learned about a little boy named Ivan that was unfamiliar with the words “breakfast, lunch
, and dinner,” as those were never used in his household where one small meal a day was customary. I decided to make a change. Being able to promote this platform as Miss Alabama 2017 and ignite hunger-fighting passion
in others nationwide was so rewarding.
How did you get in this position? Were you elected, selected, or did you start the project yourself? What steps did you take to fulfill this role? Did you study something specific, join this club first year, etc.
I started competing in the Miss America Organization when I was 16, won Miss Alabama's Outstanding Teen in 2013, then competed for three years for Miss Alabama until I won the title in 2017. Throughout my time competing, I championed on behalf of those struggling with food insecurity through my involvement with my personal platform.
What other activities, projects, or jobs do you do at school? Spill your resume!
I lead a college girls small group, I am a college intern at Church of the Highlands, and I was the philanthropy coordinator and Fifth Quarter Expansion director through my sorority, Alpha Gamma Delta. Fifth Quarter is a partnership with the West Alabama Food Bank that collects leftover, high-quality food from the skyboxes and zone areas and distributes it to people in need within 24 hours.
What is an accomplishment you're proud of?
Placing Top 7 at Miss America 2018 and winning the Jean Bartel Quality of Life Award for Outstanding Community Service.
What is a challenge that you've faced and overcome?
Deciding to pursue music instead of something a lot more concrete. People always ask "But what JOB do you want?" when I tell them my passion is worship-leading and songwriting. I felt so pressured to choose something that seemed "more secure" for so long, but eventually I realized I had to pursue my passions, regardless of the cost.
What advice do you have for women who want to make a difference at their school?
Start small! I have always been encouraged by knowing that I can make a difference in at least ONE person's life, even if I cannot change the entire world. That one person matters!
Who is YOUR Fairygodboss? Why?
I absolutely love Tori Kelly! The most amazing writer, singer, and overall person. She's #HairGoals, too!
Lightning Round: What's Your Karaoke Song?
"Breaking Free" from High School Musical!
Lightning Round: What's Your Favorite Book?
Lightning Round: What's Your Favorite Movie?
"The Other Guys." I love anything Will Ferrell!
Lightning Round: What's Your Favorite Quote?
"Leave people better than you found them."
Fairygodboss is all about celebrating female leaders — so every other week, we celebrate a young woman who is making a difference in her school or local community. Do you know a student leader who’s making an impact? Celebrate her and thank her by nominating her here.