Media Literacy Now is partnering with a social entrepreneur, activist, and local celebrity in Florida, Michaela McLean. In 2016, Ms. McLean co-founded Brave and Beautiful, a non-profit advocating for a more hopeful vision of the future for the self–esteem of women and girls. Since then, she has visited Africa, Central America, and other regions to talk to girls about positive body image and media messages.
Additionally, Michaela recently won the title of Miss Florida and will be in the Miss America competition in December. But if you think you know what goes into winning that title, think again! As of 2018, the Miss America organization — and all state competitions that are part of the process — have undergone big changes. First, they have officially shifted from a beauty pageant to a scholarship and job competition. Moreover, physical beauty is no longer a part of the scoring system. Bathing suit parades are gone and evening gown attire is now optional. Most importantly, personal and academic accomplishments matter more than ever, as well as commitment to work that has a social impact.
Michaela wants to make a social impact by advocating for media literacy, so she sought out advice and support from Media Literacy Now. Tamara Sobel, MLN advocate from Massachusetts and founder of The Girls, Women + Media Project, met with Michaela to provide resources and support.
Michaela then began visiting the Florida Statehouse, where she met with highly influential legislators who pledged to support local media literacy education. Additionally, those leaders agreed to take a further look into why Florida, one of the few states with a statute that requires media literacy in K-12 curriculum, seems to be at a standstill in making that requirement a reality.
Michaela will be competing in the Miss America Competition, televised live by NBC, on December 19th, 2019. She will be sharing her passion for media literacy and her advocacy experience with the judges — and if she advances to the finals, with millions watching on TV.
We wish her luck!