Medina began her pageant circuit as a child with her aunt coaching her and her older sister. Medina said back then pageants were far less competitive.
“The pageant’s back then were not what you see on ‘Toddlers and Tiaras,’” she said. “I didn’t have fake teeth or that much makeup.”
After years of pageants, Medina has plenty of titles and crowns to show for it, including Miss Asian 2010, Miss Atlantic International 2012 and Miss Escambia County USA, which led her to Miss Pensacola USA. But Medina receives far more from these pageants than sashes and crowns.
“When I began to work with more young girls through mentoring programs, volunteer work, and teaching I saw how low their self-esteem is,” Medina said. “I wanted to show them by example that beauty is so many things. I tell them I’m a five foot model and pageant queen, if I had a dollar every time someone told me I shouldn’t or can’t or don’t deserve it, I’d be rich. I think it helps them see as long as you believe in yourself no one can tell you you’re wrong.”
As well has accepting crowns, Medina is a freelance model, full-time nanny, a varsity cheer-leading coach at PHS and has just started working with Pace Center for Girls.
“At the end of the day I’m just another girl with a big dream I just have the courage to keep going for it when others would quit,” Medina said. “I’m still the underdog. Being five feet tall I have to work twice as hard to get half as far in pageantry and modeling but I do it because I love what I do and can give back.”
She’s also gained a following outside of Florida with her pin-up work with Alley Kat Photography and landed a job as a VIP model at Sean Combs’ (a.k.a. P. Diddy a.k.a. Puff Daddy a.k.a. Diddy) Grammy party.
No matter where the Miss USA hopeful ends up, Pensacola will always be Medina’s home.
“Every time I leave Pensacola I miss it,” she said. “Nowhere in the world do you get out beautiful beaches without a big city or crazy traffic. It’s a low key paradise. Inexpensive, cultured and still a hint of southern hospitality you can only find in the south.”
When she comes back to Pensacola, with or without another crown, she wants to continue to work with charities.
“I want to stay and teach and I would love to work for the Pace Center for Girls,” Medina said. “I mentor ladies and those girls I definitely can relate to because of my own childhood and experience with domestic violence which is why I am an Alpha Chi Omega. Our philanthropy is promoting awareness for domestic violence and raising money for the FavorHouse.”
MISS FLORIDA USA
WHEN: 6 p.m. Saturday, July 14
WHERE: WEAR/ABC or WFGX My TV 35