Cameron Leary hopes to bring awareness about mental health as she represents Sussex County in the Miss New Jersey USA pageant this week.
From Thursday through Sunday, 127 contestants from throughout the state are meeting at the Hilton in Parsippany.
Leary is a 2020 graduate of Sparta High School. She works in commercial loan servicing at Lakeland Bank.
She was selected to compete in the state pageant after she completed a selective application and interview process.
“I’ve always been a huge fan of Miss USA and it has always been a big dream of mine to be able to compete one day,” she said.
The annual event aims to empower women to elevate their voices regarding important issues.
According to the Miss New Jersey USA website, pageant officials “are looking for diverse young women who are not only beautiful but intelligent and willing to share their hearts and minds as ambassadors to our state and nation.”
Leary hopes to inspire others to prioritize their mental wellness and to understand that there is hope and support for those struggling.
She has done this by creating a blog, titled “The Happy Hour,” where she shares her experiences struggling with anxiety and Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and provides tips and resources for self-care.
“I started a blog to document the things that would have helped me while I was going through a really hard time. I share self-help techniques and mental health awareness,” she said.
“I think that there’s a lot of stigma around going to therapy, but it’s so helpful even if you’re not struggling. I’m a big advocate for getting help for yourself.”
“The Happy Hour” blog recently was acquired by Lakeland Bank and is being sent out as a monthly newsletter.
“As a state finalist in the Miss New Jersey USA pageant, I hope to use my platform to bring even greater awareness to the importance of mental health. I plan to continue using my blog and social media platforms to share my message and provide support to those in need,” Leary said.
Voting for the People’s Choice Award is taking place online until 11:59 p.m. Saturday. The recipient of this award is guaranteed a spot in the Miss New Jersey USA semifinals.
Each vote costs $1 and there is a limit of five votes each. Voting is online at www.missnewjerseyusa.com/miss-contestants
I’ve always been a huge fan of Miss USA and it has always been a big dream of mine to be able to compete one day.” - Cameron Leary, who is representing Sussex County in the Miss New Jersey USA pageant