continued “I have a presentation on how media distorts perfection and what it should look like. It can ultimately cripple us,” Paulsen said. “It’s more important to focus on what you’re doing with your life and not what you look like when you’re doing it.”
The newly crowned queen also said she likes to speak at retirement homes to emphasize the impact grandparents have on their grandchildren. Paulsen said she believes there are four influencing voices of body image: media, fashion, family and friends/peers at school.
Since gaining her title, Paulsen has kept busy. She is only taking 12 credits this semester at college because every weekend she embarks on community service events that take place all over the country. She recently flew to Tampa, Fla. to represent Miss USA Ambassador for the Big Brother Big Sisters organization.
“With Alyssa’s passion and dedication to the community that she’s in, no matter where she is, she definitely is a role model to educate young people, how to give in their community, how great it makes one feel and it builds character,” sadi Barbara Thurston, national director of the USA Ambassador Pageant.
Paulsen also partnered with the American Diabetes Association to honor her grandfather, who passed away unexpectedly from diabetes a week before the pageant.
“He was almost like a father-figure in some ways. I was really close to him,” Paulsen said.
With her plate quickly filling up, Paulsen said she wants to spend her year “encouraging the confidence and self worth of young people.”
“Obviously I’m only one person … but I can definitely make a difference,” Paulsen said. “Life isn’t about just us. We need to get out and serve, do good for other people, make a difference.”
Melody Paulsen, Alyssa’s mother, said although she wasn’t sure about the pageant at first, but she realized it had “so much meat to it.” She said her and her husband were overjoyed with their daughter’s accomplishment.
“As a mother, I know her heart and how much she cares,” Melody Paulsen said. “She truly does put others before herself constantly. She’s a role model to our family.”