Meg McGuffin is a young woman with a lot of titles.
She grew up as a dancer in Ozark, Alabama, was president of a body positivity club here on campus, graduated from Auburn University, was Miss Alabama in 2015, has returned to Auburn for her master’s degree and will soon star as Velma in Auburn's production of "Chicago."
Despite her many accomplishments, she is just like everyone else. She has nicknames from her friends, hidden talents and favorite Netflix shows.
More importantly, though, she has a story to tell. From dancer to graduate, pageant girl to role model, her life story and message is one she loves to tell.
McGuffin described growing up and getting involved in a dance studio at a young age as "growing up in front of a mirror."
She talked about the continual scrutiny that comes from constantly viewing yourself and your peers in leotards and tights and how "it's inevitable that you are going to find things about yourself that you don't like."
However, she also pointed out that beauty is often found in these places that seem different.
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"Your body is unique, and it's special, and it's a gift, but it's not wrong," McGuffin said.
This led her to make her platform "Healthy is the new skinny," a motto that has been a part of her life since long before becoming Miss Alabama.
In her junior and senior years at Auburn University, she served as the president of the Auburn University Body Image Education and Eating Disorder Awareness (AUBIE-EDA) organization.
"The opportunity kind of just landed in my lap," she said.
The organization would hold events on campus dedicated to positive body images and self-love, and she gained quite a reputation.
She distinctly remembered being called "the eating disorder girl," but to her, the fact that people were simply listening was enough.
"So sure, call me the eating disorder girl, just hear my message," she said.
That desire to have her message heard stayed with McGuffin as she won the 2015 Miss Alabama pageant and was given a national stage the following year.
"Some girls go, and they want a crown," she said. "Would it have been nice to bring home the crown? Sure. But at the end of the day, what I wanted was for people to know my story and the story of so many other women."
She told her story to millions of people watching the pageant across the country. But many remember her from when she was asked a particularly tough question about then-candidate Donald Trump's lead in the Republican primary.
"I think Donald Trump is an entertainer, and I think he says what's on a lot of people's minds," she said. "But I think that the Republican Party should be absolutely terrified of all the attention that he is taking from incredible candidates. ... If I were a Republican, I would absolutely be terrified of that."
She remembers getting hate emails and letters after the pageant for that comment, but her answer to the letters was simple. She just wanted people to respect her opinion just as she would have respected anyone else's.
Coming back to Auburn, McGuffin found herself wanting a new kind of challenge. She figured that since this is her final year on The Plains, it would be fun to audition for the University's spring production of "Chicago."
She later got the leading role of Velma.
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While she grew up spending countless hours on stage in dance recitals, this will be her first time having lines and singing live on stage, something she describes as a learning experience.
Even though she was nervous in the beginning, she said that everyone she has found in the theater has been incredibly welcoming and encouraging.
Most importantly, when asked if she and the cast would be ready for opening night, "Heck yeah!" was her response.
McGuffin has accrued a lot of titles in her life so far, but she also isn't without her normalities. She loves cats, "American Horror Story" and doing her self-proclaimed "horrible British accent."
She has also lived most of her life with the nickname "Egg McMuffin," which stems from the similarity it has with her real name, Meg McGuffin. She said that this most likely started in first grade, but now even her mother claims to have intentionally named her after the breakfast food.
McGuffin is many different things to many different people – an Auburn graduate, Miss Alabama, an advocate for body positivity, a lead in a play and "Egg McMuffin."
To herself, though, she is a dancer.
"There are so many things that go into being a dancer," she said, mentioning the structure, the art and the hard work that must be put in to be a good dancer.
All elements of dance that she now gets to teach others in her own dance class.
She said while she can be seen as a lot of different things, at the end of the day, she's a dancer, and she's also "just Meg."
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