From competing in the Miss America Outstanding Teen circuit to becoming Miss America 2013, Mallory Hagan has faced a number of challenges. One thing she has always strived to have during life’s challenges is courage.
Hagan spoke to Auburn students, faculty, staff, and members of the pageant community on Tuesday evening about making courage your brand as part of the Auburn University Library’s Discover Auburn Women of Distinction to celebrate 125 Years of Auburn Women.
“I want to let other girls just like me know that you don’t have to do what society tells you to do to still be successful,” Hagan said during her Miss America 2013 interview round. Hagan taught the crowd how to make courage your brand as she referred to her experiences before and after Miss America.
Throughout her life, Hagan said she has been courageous at many points. One example Hagan shared was after she won Miss America, she was approached by many Miss America hopefuls to help coach them.
“A lot of people are coming your way, asking you to help them with participating in the Miss America Organization cause you’ve had some success,” Hagan said. “Taking that risk and having the courage to say, I’m starting a branding business.”
After this business venture, Hagan decided that she missed being close to her family and wanted to move back home. She had little experience in her field but needed a job so she picked up the phone and called around to ask for interviews.
“So I picked up the phone and I called the place that I work now and a few other places and I asked for jobs. And I think that that takes a lot of courage to say, this isn’t even a career field that I’m in yet.” Hagan said. “I think that it takes courage to say that I’m not happy in this moment and I need to do something to move me forward into the career path that I want.”
Now Hagan works as a nightly co-anchor for WLTZ out of Columbus, Georgia, and lives close to her family. She gives all the credit to having the courage to go after what she wanted and she encouraged all young students to go after their dreams as well.
Hagan does not think life ends after you graduate college or get married, she said she believes you can always change your dream but you should always pursue it.
As for how to pursue those dreams, Hagan said to ask yourself these questions, what step do I need to take in order to move forward, what step do I need to take in order to break the status quo and how can I do something that is going to inspire others and yet keep me fulfilled.
“Knowing my worth and what I bring to the table and not being afraid to negotiate, not taking what has been given to you and being grateful for it,” Hagan said about how she became successful. “Saying I appreciate what you handed me and I respect you, but I would like to negotiate.”