Thursday, November 23, 2017

Miss District of Columbia USA 2010, MacKenzie Green, opens up about online bullying

Please tell us about yourself and what you do?

My name is MacKenzie Green.  I guess most people may know me as former Miss District of Columbia USA 2010.  I was not a pageant girl growing up; I was a jock, former Junior Olympian and D1 athlete, so entering in to the world of pageantry was like learning a foreign language.  I’m a born and raised Washingtonian, a real DC native not one of those I grew up in Silver Spring but I tell everyone DC so they think I’m cool (I’m protective of my city, there’s a lot of transplants, but I grew here, they flew here…wow that was more aggressive than I planned haha). I graduated from the University of Miami with honors and a double major.  Currently I work as a marketing consultant, and I’m preparing to attend business school in the fall.

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Can you tell us a bit about any upcoming projects or events that you are working on?

I mentioned it earlier, I’m preparing for business school in the fall.  I’ve spent the last two years working, preparing, taking classes, complete MBA fellowships, all that jazz to be ready for this moment.  So, I’m in the interview process, so if you randomly see me on the streets of DC dressed in super formal business attire, wish me luck because I’m probably headed to an interview.

 

Also, I’m attempting to work harder on my blog.  It’s a lifestyle blog that covers everything from my journey from the stage at Miss USA, to earning my MBA.  Other than that new projects and collaborations always come my way, and I’m always happy and welcome to lend myself to anything that is moving me toward my goals.  The most exciting thing I found out recently is that I will be working as a collaborator on a major biography.  If there’s anything else exciting, or I know where I’m going for business school, I’m sure I’ll tweet about it like a crazy person.

 

Do you find the pressures of working in your industry significant with regard to feeling the need to have a “perfect” body?  If so, how do you navigate through that terrain?  How do you “not” judge yourself when others (critics, audience members, producers, etc.) “judge” you based on outward measures?

I think working in the world of business as a woman; there is an insanely weird standard of what is expected.  On one side I’ve had people judge me by the length of my hair, the fact that I did a pageant, my lack of somber colored clothes, whatever it may be.  I was selected as a finalist for an international fellowship with a major financial institution abroad, and I was dinged because of my executive presence…they felt my presence was very womanly…genuinely the oddest negative comment I’ve ever gotten.  Then on the flip side, I’ve had people go on in interviews about Googling me and seeing that I was at Miss USA, or hearing that I don’t play that up enough in my essays.  One of the hardest things coming out of pageantry is feeling as though I have opened up the world to judge me or pass their opinion about my body, without my permission.

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In terms of my body, I’ve definitely had moments where I think, “oh no, this person is expecting a beauty queen at this interview and my lower belly pooch says otherwise.” Every now and then, I can hear that negative voice speaking loudly, and I have to take a deep breathe and meditate on the positives.  I have to take a second, and I go through five things I like about myself.  When I focus on my assets, even something small, it mellows me out and shuts that little negative voice down.

 

I believe in what Dionne Sanders said, when you look good you feel good, when you feel good you play good, and when you play good, they pay good.  When I check in, get my mind in the right place no one can stop me.  Your opinion about me is none of my business.

 

To follow up with that question, how do you deal with bullying or people talking negative about you? Can you give any examples of bullying in your personal life and how you handled it?

If I took you through all the bullying I’ve dealt with, we’d be here all day.  I’ve dealt with bullying from middle school, high school, college, and even now…I have rhinoceros skin, there’s nothing anyone can say at this point that I haven’t heard.

 

The hardest moment I’ve ever dealt with was after I won Miss DC USA.  I remember being so excited and wanting to see photos from the pageant, and jumping on the Internet to see if there were any photos.  The first 10 results were, “She’s the ugliest winner EVER,” “She looks like Miss Piggy” (but in all honesty, how fab is Miss Piggy…I thought they meant in terms of fab wardrobe and queen b attitude), and more Voy boards than I could shake a stick at.  People wrote the most vile and disgusting things.  But what made it hurt the most, my friends and family saw all of it and they wanted to defend me. Every time they wrote a nice comment, 20 mean ones would pop up.  I had to start taking photos down from my Facebook, because I didn’t want anything written about them, because they were associated with me.  It was absolute madness.  The stress from the attacks, my own worries that maybe they were right, and the passing of my uncle from terminal cancer, led me to the ER.  In that moment I understood how celebrities get checked in to rehab for exhaustion, I was two more “have you seen this” weblink texts from being Mariah Carey pushing an ice cream cart on TRL.

 

I’m thankful everyday that I had a solid core foundation of people that helped support me, and snap me out of my pity party.  They brought me back from the brink of quitting, helped me stand in faith and reminded me of the bad mofo I am…I’m forever grateful.

 

What made you want to get involved with Mental Fitness, Inc. and what it is about the mission of Mental Fitness that speaks to you?

I learned so much from my own bullying and body image issues that any time I can help empower and support women from making the same mistakes, I’m all for it.  I could have cured a disease in all the time I’ve spent worrying about whether my thighs look fat…ain’t nobody got time for that!

 

Mental Fitness takes a holistic approach to overall mental fitness, and I love that.  I took a holistic approach to my own stress management and mental fitness, and what Mental Fitness stands for aligns with that.

 

Who were the role models in your life?

My grandmothers Lothaire Green and Ann Caudle are major role models for me.  I never got to meet my Grandmother Green, but I always imagine she was an incredibly strong woman to send her son in to the tumultuous crisis in Little Rock, and have faith that he would come out of it a better person. (Side note: My father, Ernest G. Green, is a member of the Little Rock Nine. As the lone senior, my father became the first graduate from Little Rock Central High School.)

 

My grandmother Ann, who I grew up with, was an incredible source of inspiration.  Even in her twilight years, dealing with severe dementia, she was still the wisest and kindest person I knew.  My role models can be summed up as L.E.A.H., Lothaire, Ernest, Ann, and Harvey, my grandparents.  Obviously my mother and father are my other greatest role models, if I can be half the people they are I’m doing well.

 

What do you define as beautiful?

I define beautiful as that magnetic spirit that someone exudes, and it draws you to him or her.  Just being around their positivity makes you feel brighter and happier.

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How do you define inner beauty?

I define inner beauty with me grandfather Harvey’s favorite hymn, “This Little Light of Mine.” You have to let your light shine.

 

What is happiness?

That depends on the person, happiness is different for everyone. I think its kind of like love; you’ll know it when it finds you.

 

Would you be willing to take the Real Deal pledge?  Thoughts about that? (http://wearetherealdeal.com/about/the-real-deal-pledge/)

Absolutely, and I hope everyone that reads this will take it also.  I think it is great, and it encourages you to live a more fulfilling and positive life.  Most of all, “being unapologetically me,” is one of my life’s mottos.  Like RuPaul says, if you can’t love yourself, how you gonna love somebody else!

 

How do you manage your stress levels in daily life?  Do you use music / art / dance, etc. as a coping tool?  Are there other things that you do to live mindfully?

I meditate, and pray as my primary methods of stress management.  I have a thyroid condition, so stressing out is seriously dangerous to my health.  Exercise is a big stress management tool for me, jamming out to loud music and sweating every problem out through my pores…amazing. I’ve run three marathons, two halves, and I’m training for my fourth marathon now.  I don’t run marathons to lose weight; I do them to stop the body stress.  For me, after running 26.2 miles I appreciate every inch of my body for carrying me through the race.

Any and all forms of dance, especially jazz and ballet. I also play bassoon, so working on complicated pieces, like Mozart’s Bassoon concerto, helps me get out of my own head and focus on something else. And the best form of stress relief, funny movies or YouTube videos…search for bug fly’s in reporters mouth when you feel overwhelmed, guaranteed you won’t remember what you were upset about after you watch it.

 

How do you find a work-life balance — as a woman, relationships, a professional — what are keys to balance?

I’m still working on work-life balance, that’s actually a weakness I’ve talked about in my business school applications.  Once I’ve figured this out, I’ll be sure to let you know.

 

Other thoughts / reflections?

Whom ever you are reading this, just know that you are amazing.  Life is to fantastic to worry about thigh gaps, how many calories you’ve eaten, what your GPA is, or any of that other stuff you can’t control.  Once you realize that you can only focus on the things in your control, and to embrace the journey you’re on to your happiness, you’ll be a much happier person.

 

 

Native Washingtonian MacKenzie Ann Green is a graduate of the University of Miami.  She currently works for Matrix Advisory, based in New York City, New York.  She served on the National board for the National Council of Negro Women, as Young Adult Vice Chair. To commemorate the 57th Anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Ms. Green was awarded the Legacy Award by the Southern Youth Leadership Development Institute, cited as a “Legend in the Making.”

 

Some of her charitable services have included: Relay For Life, team captain; Georgetown University Hospital, patient advocate; Washington Hospital Center, physical therapy volunteer; Reading Is Fundamental Book Drive; Juvenile Diabetes Association; Television Advocacy; and Metropolitan AME Church, Junior Stewardess, WDC.

 

MacKenzie’s Blog

MacKenzie’s Twitter

MacKenzie’s Instagram

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