Before she was Miss Michigan, I first met Alyse in January of 2015 at the beginning of my second auto show season. She walked onto the show floor, dressed for the new, luxurious brand added to the FCA team, Alfa Romeo. At some point, I introduced myself and immediately noticed how beautiful she was. As I invited her out with myself and some other coworkers, I half expected her to already have plans or feel little to no interest. Yet, her soft voice revealed a woman who was sweet and eager to get to know her team.
Years later, Alyse retold this story to other coworkers, how myself and one other girl on the team were her first friends. Hearing this interaction told from Alyse’s perspective magically warmed my heart and broke it at the same time. I had no idea the loneliness this gorgeous, genuine woman had felt before that day. Her smile was so bright, it blinded anything dark hidden behind it.
Since then, Alyse has always been a friend to everyone. Throughout the entire time I’ve known her, she competed for the Miss Michigan title. Each year she placed closer and closer until finally, she wore the crown. Alyse is the true epitome of perseverance. Now she shares her story on what it took to make her dream into her reality.
How long has your journey been to become Miss Michigan?
My journey began in 2011. I competed for the Miss Michigan title four times after that. In total it was a journey of about seven years. Quite honestly, it was the best journey of my life and made the title so much more worth it, than if I just won right off the bat. I could never imagine going to Miss USA without the experience I have now.
When did you first realize you wanted to compete for the title?
I was a self-conscious 17-year-old scrolling through Facebook when I saw a photo of a former Miss Michigan USA. She was the most confident, elegant woman I had ever seen. I thought to myself, “How do I get that much confidence?” So I researched the pageant, took the risk, entered, and fell in love with the experience.
Do you feel like you had a moment at a job where you decided to do Miss Michigan or something else entirely?
Like most young adults, I worked multiple mediocre jobs to get myself through school, pay for my car, etc. I was working at a restaurant and a clothing store running myself ragged and left totally unsatisfied. I thought to myself, “You need a break. Go change your life.” So, I told my bosses I was going on a trip. I booked my spokesmodel career with Alfa Romeo, left for my first auto show, and never looked back. Sometimes you need one of those moments cleaning toilets in a restroom to realize your inner potential. Always be more than what society says you can be.
Did you always know you wanted to take the stage for Miss Michigan or be in the entertainment industry in general?
Absolutely not. As a young adult and child, I was fairly reserved. I had no idea what it meant to be famous or to entertain others. Nor did I care. What I did know though, was that I was different. My heart held a magic that was always different from others and I knew that my story was meant to help others conquer their dreams.
How did you learn to compete for Miss Michigan USA?
Trial and error. The first time I competed for the title I had no prior pageant or entertainment experience. I walked on stage like a baby giraffe, and just had fun. Throughout the years of competing, I watched other contestants, winners, Miss Universes, and took their skills to create my own. I cultivated who I was by trying again and again. I think the only way to really be prepared is by learning who you are, and what makes you authentic to the judges. It took me a while, but I finally figured out the secret: be polished and be you.
What’s a typical day for Miss Michigan like?
I generally spend about 1.5 hours a day answering emails and text messages. Amongst the constant communication with fans and my Miss USA team, I have appearances normally about twice a week, weekly sponsor visits, Miss USA paperwork or media obligations, creating social media content every three days, and if that doesn’t seem like enough, I work out and have to take care of my physical wellness every day as well. In a nutshell, it can be busy, but completely worth it. You get one year to live and love your title, so I make the most of it every day.
What’s your favorite thing about being Miss Michigan?
There is so much to love about this title. The absolute best thing though is the smiles I am able to put on peoples’ faces. When you walk into a classroom to read or send an Instagram video to a fan, it can change their whole day. That is the best part, using your dream to fill others with courage and joy.
What have some of your struggles been in pursuing Miss Michigan?
To be honest, it was never really a struggle. It was a journey that completely evolved my inner self. Were there times I had to look in the mirror and ask myself who I was and why I wanted this? Absolutely, but never once did I break down or feel sorry for myself. It is a fun competition and I never took any minute of it for granted. Stay relaxed, have fun. At the end of the day, you’ll never be able to get into a judge’s head and choose the winner. You just have to be your best self and leave it to the universe. Enjoy the journey.
How do you balance everything?
Every day I wake up and write a list of things I have scheduled to do or errands that need to be completed. When I feel worn out, or like I cannot do it all, I put the items I didn’t finish on a new list and start again the next day. It can be difficult to finish everything with my hectic travel schedule, so I just remember to give myself rest and peace when needed.
Who do you hope to inspire?
Other individuals who have struggled with suicide and depression like myself. I want to show people struggling with their mental health that you can survive your circumstances. Every day has a new challenge and a new reward. To teach people how to cultivate their passions and overcome their obstacles is what this title is all about.
What can your followers expect from you in the future?
I will be getting more involved with mental health organizations across the country, so definitely stay tuned for ways you can get involved too. Amongst that, keep following my journey to the Miss USA title and hopefully the Miss Universe title.
I can’t say enough good things about Alyse. The sound of her sweet voice greeting, “Hi friend!” will forever echo in my head. After knowing Alyse as a person and being a witness to the journey she took to get here, there’s no doubt in my mind that she deserves to win.
Don’t forget to tune in tomorrow, May 2nd to watch Alyse compete for Miss USA Live on FOX at 8 PM EST!