Accepting the beauty of the perfectly imperfect

 After being told she had only six weeks left to live, Madison Humphrey didn’t think that she would make it tomorrow. But today, she is the spokesperson for the National Eating Disorders Association and has won titles with National American Miss and Miss Ohio Teen.


Humphrey, a second-year media communication and women and gender studies major, said her life changed when she received mail from the National American Miss program.


When she got the letter, Humphrey shared that she was in a very dark place in her life. Due to her struggles with an eating disorder and depression, she was a little skeptical about the pageantry world.


“At first I was like, pageantry is not my thing, and then I looked into it a little more and how it suddenly transformed people’s lives,” Humphrey said.


Learning about how the program helps girls to build their self-esteem and confidence encouraged her to go to the free open call.


“I just kind of fell in love with the way it made me feel,” Humphrey said. “I stepped on the stage one time and have been addicted ever since.”


She said it was a relief to step on stage for the first time. She felt like she didn’t have that burden anymore and could raise her voice.


“The thing that really helped me build my confidence was realizing that I could share my story of my recovery and inspire other people,” Humphrey said. “That’s really empowering to me and, from there, I’ve just my built confidence and felt comfortable with myself.”


She shared that, at first, people were very doubtful of her. She wanted to prove that she could do it.

“I was determined to go out there and give everything I had,” Humphrey said.


Although she didn’t win anything the first year, the next year she won Miss Ohio Teen Spokesmodel. She said that pageantry has changed her life into something completely different. She didn’t have confidence before, but pageantry has opened her up and changed her life.


Humphrey said pageantry didn’t click for her at first; rather, she fell in love with it over time.


“I guess just being in such a dark area of my life, it just gets so exhausting being so down on yourself and not believing in yourself,” Humphrey said.


Her biggest struggle was just accepting the problem since, for the longest time, she didn’t want to recover. She realized that her eating disorder didn’t have to define her.


Now, she is the spokesperson for the National Eating Disorders Association, through which she has traveled to different events. This year she will be visiting Indiana. She has also spoken for the River Centre Clinic and attends its event every year to speak on its behalf.


In her second year of National American Miss, Humphrey has won first runner-up talent, first runner-up academic achievement, third runner-up top model, fourth runner-up actress, most recommendations, Miss Spirit of America and placed sixth overall in Miss Ohio Teen out of 100 girls.


Humphrey has also competed in the Ohio pageant for three years and won second runner-up overall in 2016. She has won Miss Ohio Teen photogenic, academic achievement, Miss Spirit, Miss Spirit of America, most recommendations, portfolio, first runner-up spokesmodel, first runner-up, Most Promising Model, second runner-up casual wear model and third runner-up actress.


At the StarJewel Showcase in 2016, she won the Regional Teen title and won the national overall title in May.


Humphrey said it’s more than just winning the pageants.


“If you’re just going to wear the banner and the crown, that doesn’t matter,” Humphrey said. “With me, it’s all about going out there and using the pageantry as a platform to talk about eating disorders and raising awareness about these issues.”

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