PAGEANT Talks Presents
Miss Mauldin Teen USA Nila Morton
Introduction: Hello! My name is Nila Morton. I’m seventeen years old about to be eighteen next month on January 12th. I have Ullrich Muscular Dystrophy that causes me to use a wheelchair. I’m the only one in South Carolina to have it and number ninety-six in the whole world to have it! I am a girl who doesn’t allow her disability to define her and always up for an adventure!
How did you get involved in pageants?
It’s a crazy story actually. I got a letter in the mail from a pageant. I didn’t want to do it at first because I saw Toddlers and Tiaras and how the mom acts out when their child didn’t get a certain title. I told my family about the pageant and they said I should do it and it’s something new! I said okay and I saw there was a open call. I went to the open call and learned more about the pageant. I got excited until later on doing more research on it I found out it was a scam. I was disappointed but something told me to keep going. Do a pageant. I researched pageants and I found Miss South Carolina Teen USA.
Why did you decide to compete for the title of Miss South Carolina Teen USA?
When I saw the website, I fell in love with the pageant in a way. I saw myself doing that pageant. I tried my best to get off the website but something (I believe God) told me to just go for it. I applied to do that pageant and email them explaining why they needed me to compete in the pageant. I said “we can show our global community that beauty comes in all shapes and forms. My disability doesn’t define my beauty and that will help many girls not only in South Carolina but anywhere.” Two days later someone from the RPM Productions office called and we talked for about an hour then they said I could represent my town Mauldin. Hearing that changed my life in so many ways.
It’s pageant day! What thoughts were going through your head before you came out of stage?
Pageant day! I’m scared, nervous, excited, and can’t wait to see what the outcome is. During rehearsals was when I finally met the girls. I loved them all! I just loved how really real they were because people think pageant girls are girlie 24/7 but really we’re just people. Rehearsals was fun and exciting. We were laughing and singing and dancing. Just having a great time. It was funny because we wore sweatshirts and slippers. We already had to wear heels for the pageant so we just going to be comfortable for rehearsals. After we got finished, we had time to eat and talk. We got ready. So now it’s time to go on stage. I’m nervous but when my title is called, I felt like the stage and I were friends. I felt that I was made for this. I wasn’t nervous. I was HAPPY AND FELT BEAUTIFUL! When they did the top 15, I didn’t get called and yes I was disappointed but I was happy about the fact I actually did something that’s out of my comfort zone and had fun.
What was the first thing you did after the pageant?
After the pageant, I had to congratulate Alexis who won because that girl was amazing. She was so helpful when it came time to get ready for the pageant and she has great taste in music! When I was able to leave the dressing room go into the lobby, it took 45 minutes to get out because everyone at the pageant was congratulating me and wanting to take pictures with me. Giving me so much love. I cried and felt happy about the love I received. A little girl wanted to meet me and her mom told my mom that her daughter saw me in the preliminary. She told her mom she wanted her to go out the next day to find a dress that looked like mines because she wanted to look like a princess like me. That really touched my heart!
Congratulations on winning Miss Congeniality! Did you enjoy meeting all of the other contestants? What did you enjoy the most about the pageant?
Thank you so much! Miss Congeniality award is amazing. To me, it’s better than winning the crown because Miss Congeniality means someone who made the pageant feel like another great time and making everyone feel good. Showing love throughout the pageant and always being nice to people. Being kind takes you far in life. I loved meeting with the other contestants! I love them so much and miss them because they just don’t know how much they brought joy into my life. As a girl with a disability, it’s hard to find nice people and have them not judge you. They were so nice and never judged me. They were helpful and I made great friendship with many of the contestants. I believe that what I enjoyed most about the pageant was the contestants because we all had a great time. It didn’t even feel like a pageant. It just felt like a girls trip! And I always enjoyed the swim suit part of the competition because I felt like a Victoria Secret angel! I believe I could be one haha!
Do you consider yourself to be a role model to other young girls who are also dealing with or going through similar issues? What advice would you give to someone who wanted to compete in pageants?
After the pageant and seeing how I inspired people, I do believe I am a role model to many people because when I did the pageant it was to show that everyone is beautiful in their own way. There are many woman and young girls who feel insecure because of what society says is beautiful. We can’t be the same size, same height, and be the same way. We are different. I wanted to show that I am a girl who has a disability, who isn’t fit, and not that tall but I am still beautiful. I am beautiful no matter what so you can do anything and you are beautiful too no matter what. My advice to someone who wants to compete in a pageant is to realize your self worth and know your beauty. Don’t change yourself because you want to impress the judges. You are beautiful no matter what and when you go on that stage work it, flaunt it, and slay the whole time so they will remember you!
Congratulations on being crowned Miss South Carolina Teenager! For those out there who are familiar with this system may you please tell them what is America’s National Teenager Scholarship Pageant?
Thank you so much! I am so happy and honored to be Miss South Carolina National Teenager. The Miss America’s National Teenager Scholarship Pageant is a pageant that has helped many girls get scholarships but it also helps empower them to become the best woman they can be in the future by giving them many opportunities.
Who are your heroes?
My heroes are my mom, Beyoncé and last but not least God because when I was sick and was told I was going to die, he proved those doctors wrong and just in a couple days I was able to go home healed!
What should every young girl try at least once in her life?
I believe every girl should model at least once in their life because I believe that will help show them their beauty and make them feel beautiful. I am trying to pursue a modeling career and I know when I see the camera I feel beautiful.
Who is your celebrity crush?
Haha! My celebrity crush is Dylan O’Brien. I saw him on The Internship and I was like “Oh my goodness! He is hot!”
What’s your one biggest pet peeve?
One of my biggest pet peeve is when people judge someone for being different. I hate it because I would get bullied for my disability by people and people don’t realize words hurt. It’s not right to judge someone for being different.
What’s do you like most about the holidays?
What I love most about the holidays is having my family together. I love decorating the Christmas tree, buying gifts and wrapping it up even though sometimes my wrapping skills is not the best, and also being able to give back to my community. I love to let people who are less fortunate or homeless know they are being thought of. This time of the year is about giving and spreading love.
Describe yourself in two words?
Strong and flawless
What makes you laugh?
My dog makes me laugh because she does the funniest things everyday. She always knows how to bring joy into the house.
What item in your closet do you wear the most?
I would have to say it would be my white sweater because it’s big and comfortable. I love it when it start getting cold because that sweater is the first thing I take out to wear!
What is one item you can’t live without?
I can’t live without many things haha but I would have to say I can’t live without my necklace that says “Dream” because it reminds me of never giving up my dreams and that the sky is the limit. I should always dream big and work hard for it. Most importantly have faith in myself because with faith, anything is possible!