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Whiteville woman to compete for Miss North Carolina crown on June 22

Story by Grant Merritt, The News Reporter

With a desire to cure cancer, instill confidence in women and improve her dancing talent, Whiteville native Maya Campbell has her eyes set on becoming the next Miss North Carolina on June 22. As the reigning Miss Wilmington, Campbell has met all requirements and has an extensive history of competing on stage for various crowns. 

Campbell started her pageant career at six years old in a Fourth of July pageant, but she took a break and started competing in pageants again during her middle school and high school years. Her most recent pageant titles include the 81st N.C. Strawberry Festival Princess, Miss Wilmington Outstanding Teen, the 84th N.C. Strawberry Festival Queen and now serving as Miss Wilmington.  

Whiteville native Maya Campbell has her eyes set on becoming the next Miss North Carolina.

Whiteville native Maya Campbell has her eyes set on becoming the next Miss North Carolina.

Campbell, the 21-year-old daughter of Melvin and Barbara Campbell, is an East Carolina University student working toward a degree in public health with the intent of attending medical school after graduation. She is a 2016 graduate of Whiteville High School. 

The Miss Wilmington pageant is open to Columbus County residents, and Campbell said she worked hard to improve her tap dancing talent and interview skills to get where she is today. She said the road to becoming Miss Wilmington came from countless practices and trusting in God.   

“The night of the Miss Wilmington pageant, I was pretty much running on muscle memory from that point,” Campbell said. “It was simply my timing, and I couldn’t be happier with the results.”  

Her dancing talent blossomed in training at Amy’s Academy of Dance Arts in Chadbourn during Campbell’s younger years in pageantry. By her senior year of high school, she trained at Simply Dance under Staci Ezzell. She said that tap dancing was her “baby” and favorite form of dance to express herself.

During the week of June 17-22, Campbell will compete for the Miss North Carolina crown. She will go through several phases of competition throughout the week with a 10-minute private interview, on-stage interview, talent showcase, evening wear and social impact statement made on stage. Under the new Miss America 2.0 re-branding, the swimsuit phase of the competition was eliminated. Campbell explained the new ideals for Miss America 2.0 emphasizes the empowered woman from all walks of life to further highlight the four points of the Miss America crown: scholarship, style, service and success.   

Campbell’s favorite part of preparing for the Miss North Carolina pageant is the sheer amount of things thrown at her at once. Being able to keep up and grow as a person has helped her be herself on stage. Her favorite pastime with her titles is being able to attend events like the North Carolina Strawberry Festival and interact with the community while feeling the support and motivation to keep competing in pageants. 

“Being able to come home and feel the love and support is really great for me,” she said. 

Campbell recently attended Camp Miss NC, a pageant designed to help contestants bond and learn about each other in a casual environment with no makeup or evening gowns, Campbell explained. She said the camp is a reminder that each contestant is unique and has all the tools to be their own Miss North Carolina. 

“I’m learning so many skills that will help me way after the crown, regardless if I was crowned Miss North Carolina or not,” Campbell said. “I’m able to work on my interview skills and public speaking on my social impact initiative platform which is Relay for Life. I’m able to show off my talent and my sense of style.”

With the support of all contestants in the Miss North Carolina pageant, Campbell said everyone has learned to be just as happy as the contestant who is crowned on June 22. She said everyone feels like sisters and will support each other no matter who wins. 

“I’m able to speak about the Miss America organization which is the largest scholarship foundation in the world for women,” Campbell said. “I’m able to go out and be spokesperson for so many different things.”

Campbell’s social impact initiative is called Relay 365 where she advocates for 365 days of support for Relay for Life – not just the once-a-year local Relay event in each community. She explained that her initiative calls for all-year support of cancer cure research with the American Cancer Society.    

Campbell said that feeling comfortable in her own skin and being confident are things she has learned over her years of pageant competition. She has been able to overcome any fears on stage and add skills to her toolbox that will help her in front of the judges. It is her hope to teach other women how to be strong and confident if she wins Miss North Carolina. 

Campbell urges everyone to visit abc11.com/missnc to vote for her as the People’s Choice to ensure her spot in the top 15 of the Miss North Carolina pageant on finals night.

Stuart Rogers