Nicolette Jennings might be Miss Florida USA and placed in the top 10 for Miss USA, but her joyous presence, abundance of love and modest characteristics can not be overlooked. From her work in the Tampa Bay community to the uplifting post she consistently shares on her social media platforms. It is easy to say that this is only the beginning of her influential take over and the StayWhole team is here for it.
Miss Florida has taken time out of schedule of photo shoots, public appearances, and traveling to share with us about her journey. While also speaking on the topic of social anxiety which had me wondering. How could someone full of so much confidence, leadership, and personality struggle with the very thing that would usually keep someone from being in the spotlight?
Social Anxiety does not pose a threat to Nicolette Jennings and most wouldn't even have known she was struggling with it due to her dominating performances during her journey to becoming Miss Florida USA.
"To me, mental health is something everyone wants to talk about but no one is doing."
We're afraid of what others will think if we talk about having a bad mental day or agreeing to talk with someone for help. I fell into that group and sometimes still do when it comes to sharing my struggles with anxiety. My goal as Miss Florida USA is to help as many as I can to feel comfortable enough to ask for help because once I did, it completely changed my life. No one should feel ashamed for asking for help.
I've struggled with social anxiety. I always saw it was a weakness and was something others could use against me. When I won Miss Florida USA I decided it was time to share my story and help other young adults get the help they need to live with their anxiety and not feel scared.
I’ve struggled talking about my life from the age of 11- 17 but I feel it's time to share with the world why I am the woman I am today. When I started middle school, I quickly became a girl who was afraid of judgement, messing up, and I was constantly concerned with what other people thought of me. It scared me so much I developed social anxiety and let this fear control my entire life. I struggled in school because I couldn’t concentrate on my work and let crying almost everyday for a year. I didn’t want anyone to talk to me and I absolutely did not want to ever have to talk in front of a classroom. However, I had a dream of becoming the next Erin Andrews and that dream pushed me out of her comfort zone. I constantly fought dark thoughts and feelings but my dream kept her going. When I got older and went away to college, I decided I wasn’t going to let anyone control my life like I had for so many years. Competing in pageantry helped me realize my potential and changed my life forever. Fast forward to today, I love meeting new people, I love talking in front of people and I love getting the opportunity to share my passion for sports with people on camera. I am so proud of how courageous and determined my younger self was when I was going through my darkest time. I’ve learned how to manage my social anxiety and know that what I went through in my past will help me exceed my dreams. Learning how to talk about my own social anxiety has been hard for me because I hid it from everyone I knew, however, it’s time to bring light to something that affects 25% of 13 -18 year olds.
We Are Creators
The creative community is a population that people glance over when it comes to who deals with mental health faults the most, but that leads to the question of why are we comparing who gets affected by mental health instability more? All communities and races are equally exposed to the harms due to lack of self care and understanding of how our minds work. Creatives are actually more inclined to depression and anxiety because their minds are always on the go, they feel the need to be perfect in their craft, and when they get into creative droughts it can be difficult for them to get out off. Although their are many negative aspects to what a creative may endure, Nicolette has found the positive in their abilities which shines a light on her cup half full mentality.
"I feel the creative community uses their creative skills to work through mental health. Everyone has a unique way of expressing themselves, so everyone is able to really connect with what they want to say and how they want to say it. For me personally, when I get in front of the camera, everything is at peace and I feel strong and confident. "
Even the busiest of people need down time and Miss Florida shares her agenda for when she needs to find some balance in her life. From binge watching Netflix to working out in the gym she has created a self care routine that helps her find peace where she may be.
When I know I'm having a bad day and I don't have any responsibilities for the day, I will curl up in bed, turn Netflix on and put my phone away. This has helped me reset my mind and completely relax without having any distractions. On these days I really like to finish my day at the gym to help release everything and get me ready for the next day. If I'm traveling or have a busy day, I find a quiet place and do breathing exercises. This has been something I've found to be most beneficial for me and allows me to reset my mindset whenever and where ever I am.
Miss Florida USA and Model
Name: Nicolette Jennings
Location: Tampa, FL