The worlds of pageantry and fame are ones of glamour, of enchantment, of pure and unmitigated awe. Of drama, of tenacity, of confidence. And, despite years’ worth of movies and television shows that have managed to bring the allure right to the households of the masses, they are also ones of predominantly unattainable radiance.
There is value, then, in those who can offer a glimpse into both worlds devoid of the romanticisation and pretensions of the screen. And, when it comes to this, model, social influencer, and 2019’s Miss North Carolina Teen USA Eliza Minor is definitely the one to call.
The Teen Magazine recently had the opportunity to interview Eliza, and now, readers may follow along as the young influencer retraces her journey to pageant royalty and beyond, all the while keeping her feet on the ground and her friends, family, and faith close to her heart.
Where It All Started
“Growing up,” Eliza muses, “I did a few local pageants and truly loved them.” But it was ultimately the day her mother, a former pageant queen herself, shared a post about Miss North Carolina Teen USA with her that inspired and led up to the momentous victory only months later.
“The process of winning… took a lot of work.” However, “I was passionate about doing this,” which “made preparing so fun.”
Eliza openly admits to having initially experienced profound self-image issues, yet rather than allowing these to serve as a deterrent, she instead faced them head-on and used them as a foundation for improvement— a difficult tactic that is undoubtedly one of the many reasons she was worthy of the crown. “I didn’t want to go onstage and be someone I… wasn’t.”
Regarding her subsequent TikTok fame, Eliza shares that it “was something I never expected. I always felt growing up [that] I was going to influence people in some way, just not knowing how.” She is endlessly grateful for being given “a platform to share my life and… things I am passionate about.”
Living It Out
“Being an influencer definitely comes with its pros and cons.”
From experience, Eliza opens up about the aspect of social eminence present underneath all the much-adored glitz and glamour. “Dealing with hate and having everything about your life publicised [are]... very difficult [things] to deal with,” she relates. “I definitely struggled at times due to [the former], as I’m sure everyone does.” Before discovering the beauty of blocking the words and phrases of bitter individuals, “I used to constantly read my comments and begin to believe the negative things people would [say].”
Choosing to focus on the bright side, however, Eliza shifts perspectives to explain that, “as long as I knew who I was and who God called me to [be], it was easier to not focus on the hate.” This allowed her to truly appreciate that, “although there are cons to being an influencer, there are so many opportunities that come with it. I have been able to work with so many brands… I never thought I would be able to… I have also been able to share my story and speak about things… I am passionate about.”
Passion and sincerity, truly, are the driving forces behind both Eliza’s achievements and content. Even if “I don’t feel as though I would change anything [about my platform if given the chance,” she does wish that her followers know “how passionate I am about makeup. I have shared makeup looks on my social media, but don’t do it as often anymore.”
“Being an influencer has helped me grow into the person I am today, and [I] wouldn’t change it for the world.”
Although Eliza’s TikTok career began like many others in the form of dancing videos, “as I started growing…, I found it makes me most happy when I [used] my social media to speak [up] and help others. I began to share experiences about my life and advocate for mental health.”
Eliza is truly the epitome of growing from the past, appreciating the present, and looking towards the future. She shares her hopes of “continuing to share and post about the things I am passionate about” and of strengthening her “relationships with brands.”
“To an aspiring influencer, I would remind them to always stay true to themselves.” Although said by many, she makes it a point to underline the importance of “know[ing] and lov[ing] yourself…, because it can be very easy to lose yourself.”
Quick Q’s With Eliza
What has been your favorite fashion trend so far?
My favorite fashion trends would have to be just plain old try-on hauls. For some reason, I love watching these and find them very entertaining.
What is your go-to “Remember when…” story?
My "Remember when..." story would have to be about my scary special effects makeup. I found a true passion for [it] and used to [work with] it all the time. As I begin college, I just haven't found [much] time [for] it, but [it] will always be my favorite.
What would be the theme song of a TV show about your life?
My theme song would have to be Dancing Queen by Abba. Although I might not be the best dancer, I love it. This song just brings me so much joy. I could turn it on when I am crying and just get up and dance.
What is the silliest thing you’ve ever cried about?
I absolutely hate bugs. I have just always freaked out when I see one flying or crawling. Not too long ago, I found a ladybug in my room and started crying because I was so scared it was going to fly [at] me or somehow get [on] my bed.
What’s one thing in your purse you can’t live without?
One thing I can't live without in my purse would be my Road Side Assistance card. I know that sounds crazy, but I am so afraid of my car just breaking down and not knowing what to do. I have only been able to use it once for a flat tire, thankfully, but I definitely couldn't live without it.
What is at the top of your bucket list?
My dream is to go to Bora Bora and stay in the huts above water. This has been on my bucket list for years, so hopefully, one day I can check it off.
What would a day in your dream life ten years from now look like?
So, in 10 years I will be 28. I will hopefully have a steady job doing something I love. I would love to be married by then, but that is all in God’s plan. I hope to be helping others and continuing to... grow... every day.
If stranded on an island with friends, what would be your main role?
If stranded, I would be the planner. This would be all thanks to my dad, because he has always been the planner in our household. If I am not the one planning what to do, it stresses me out.
If you could donate a million dollars to an organization, what would it be?
I would have to choose two different organizations that are close to my heart. I would first donate to the Special Olympics, which is an organization that provides year-round sports training and competitions to allow those with disabilities to develop physical fitness, display courage, experience joy, and be able to share their gifts with others. I grew up volunteering for [it], so it is an organization that is very dear to my heart.
The next organization is The Depression Project, which is a place where those who struggle with depression can get the right treatment and support, and can learn strategies to beat their depression. I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder almost two years ago and struggled a lot. I found a therapist who helped me through everything and don’t know what I would have done without her to this day.