From North Texas to the Miss America stage, the newly crowned Miss Texas is making history.
“My name is Averie Bishop. I am the 85th anniversary Miss Texas and the first Asian American woman to represent our state,” she said.
Bishop is also a first-generation SMU graduate and SMU law school graduate.
She’s the daughter of a Filipino-immigrant mother and fourth-generation Texan father.
“It’s such an emotional feeling because when I was a kid, I never dreamed of becoming Miss Texas because I didn’t think that anyone looked like me as Miss Texas,” she said.
Bishop says her mother introduced her to a special pageant circuit as a teen.
“My mom signed me up for an Asian-American cultural pageant within our community, so I got to wear Filipino attire and reconnect with her culture,” she said.
Competing in the Miss Texas pageant over the weekend was also a race against time.
This was the 25-year-old’s last year of eligibility for the competition. She had also been among those participants “grandfathered” into the pageant after the COVID-19 pandemic kept them from competing.
Bishop grew up in Prosper. She participated in and won a pageant to represent the city of Carrollton in Miss Texas. The competition included talent and evening wear portions as well as a Q&A. It did not include a swimsuit portion.
Bishop and a young woman representing Southlake stood together on the stage as the first runner-up was called. Bishop could hardly believe she was the winner.
“It was an out-of-body experience and the cannons went off and all grip of reality was lost at that point,” she said with a laugh. “If I was thinking anything at all, it was gratitude.”
And now the year-long work begins as a statewide ambassador of goodwill.
“I’m the official ambassador of the Texas Cares for Children Program. I get to also expand my social impact initiative which is ‘Y’all Means All’ and it emphasizes the importance of diversity and inclusion in our Lone Star State,” she said.
Bishop has already been active in the community. As Miss Dallas last year, she formed part of the 14-member Dallas mayor’s anti-hate and discrimination council.
The group is able to provide recommendations to improve diversity across North Texas.
Her mission is rooted in a sometimes-painful childhood in Prosper where she says she was confronted with bullies and hateful language.
“From the way I spoke, the shape of my eyes, my flat nose, my upbringing. The financial circumstances I grew up in and sometimes the way that my mom spoke,” she recalled. “A lot of times people are racist or say rude things because they just don’t understand what they don’t know. We fear what we don’t know and my mission as Miss Texas and as a person, in general, is to truly teach everyone in our state that a Texan can look like me and a Texan can look like you.”
Bishop is also dedicated to focusing on her mental health in the year ahead.
She has opted to focus on Miss Texas duties, which include hundreds of school appearances, and take the Texas Bar Examination after her reign is over.
She stresses the importance of knowing your own limits and saying “no” when you know something will not benefit your mental health.
Bishop will immediately begin preparing for the Miss America pageant which will take place in Connecticut in December.
This content was originally published here.