In 2008 Jessica earned the title of Miss Ash Flat in the National American Miss Pageant (NAMISS). This pageant is not the controversial pageant in which young girls are paraded around with make-up and frills. In order to compete in the NAMISS pageant, contestants must show enthusiasm, intelligence and charisma.
When Jessica competed in Rogers for the NAMISS she won third runner-up out of over 50 girls. She also won the talent competition, most recommendations, actress competition and placed in the casual wear modeling competition.
One award Jessica said she is most proud of is the Spirit of America State Award. This is awarded to well-rounded, active girls in the NAMISS system.
In a speech Jessica gave to the Ash Flat City Council she said, "Only honest and original girls can win (this competition). They must present themselves in business attire for a personal interview, formal attire to show poise and character and also a personal introduction."
After competing in Rogers, Jessica earned a spot on the Queen's Court giving her the chance to compete in Los Angeles, Calif. "Competition at Nationals is alot like the state pageant, but with many more girls," Jessica said. "We were busy from seven in the morning to 10 at night with rehearsals and contests."
Jessica said she found confidence that she didn't know she had after competing in this competition. "If I didn't win, I just thought, oh well there is always next year," she said. "I used to think I wasn't good enough when I didn't win."
Jessica competed in several optional contests including photogenic, talent, casual wear modeling, actress and spokes model. She said each competition was held in front of an audience of over 500 people. "Although talent was my favorite, I loved all parts of the pageant."
One of the things Jessica did in entering the contest was to write an essay about someone she knows who has cancer. She said her best friend's brother has cancer and that is what inspired her to write the essay.
At nationals, Jessica gave a speech about her cousin who is in the K-9 force. She spoke of how he is one of her role models and she would like to be like him.
Jessica plans on competing again this year. She wrote an essay which was due by April 10 and then she will have to do a phone interview. Her essay was about how it feels to live in Arkansas after moving from Missouri.
She said when she moved from Missouri she was made fun of by her classmates. "I was just a farm girl from Missouri," she said. "But I am proud to represent Ash Flat because I was the only girl there (at nationals) from there."
Jessica's parents, Robert who runs Diamond D Group Insurance and Debbie, who is a teacher are both very proud of her accomplishments. Jessica attends Cherokee Elementary School and earns straight A's. "I got my first B just last week," she said. "I got an 89 on a test."
While there were many parts of the pageant that Jessica enjoyed, there was one thing outside of the pageant that she said she will remember forever. The girls got to attend a Meet the Stars Picnic at Disney where Jessica got to meet Miley Cyrus. "She told us good luck and she was so nice," Jessica said. "I got her autograph!"
She also said many of the girls she met will be close friends forever. "I still talk to some of them now and then," she said.
"I learned so much from NAMISS. I learned how to present myself in front of large groups of people. I learned confidence and I learned that beauty is only skin deep," Jessica said. "Most of all, I learned that you need to be yourself, no matter what."