Rare AKA “America’s News Feed” has recognized 40 individuals between the ages of 18 and 39.who are, well, rare. These people are not just journalists, digital natives, and celebrities. They are inspirational leaders in their communities. Some of these winners include Modern Family‘s Ariel Winter and former President George W. Bush’s daughter, Barbara Pierce Bush. You can see all the recipients here.
We were given the opportunity to talk to one of the recipients of the #RareUnder40 Awards, Alexandra “Allie” Curtis.
Allie is a 20-something, just like the rest of us, and she is certainly rare. A graduate of Syracuse University, the 24-year-old has been a titleholder in the Miss America Organization for the past three years, currently holding the title of Miss Rhode Island. On top of all this, Allie is currently getting her Masters in Public Affairs at Brown University, and after will attend Salve Regina University where she will get a Master of Science in Administration of Justice and Homeland Security.
But crushing academics and winning pageants is not all Allie does (although we’re not quite sure how she has time to do anything else!). She also promotes her platform, “Leading Ladies: Equipping Young Women With the Skills to Lead,” with a mission to encourage women to break gender barriers and successfully enter industries that have typically been dominated by men.
Impressed? So are we. Check out our interview with Allie below.
So you are a recipient of one of Rare’s 40 under 40 award. Congratulations! Can you tell us more about your platform, Leading Ladies, that helped you win the award?
Leading Ladies is all about inspiring young girls from elementary school to high school to do things like run for office in school or the community. I want to help woman from an early age see that they are capable for running for office. Women tend to see public service roles as ‘man jobs’ because of gender biases – but I help woman see themselves in these roles and get rid of the biases in place in any male dominated field.
On top of leading ladies, you are Miss Rhode Island — and you are still in school. How are you able to do it all? Do you have time for any hobbies?
Basically I’m in school forever. I get through it all with coffee, to-do lists, and hope. I need to do-lists. Life is hectic and stressful, but its training for the future.
As for hobbies, it’s few and far between. Miss Rhode Island is a hobby, but it’s also a job — a rewarding one. I also write a blog, but its cathartic. I share different stories of young woman in leadership, all from different backgrounds. I believe that all voices matter. Looking what the woman I’ve featured have done, and seeing their views on why female leadership is important, is so inspiring to me.
Are you ever able to take a breath and unwind?
Gym time is my undwinding time. I have my hustle hobbies, but if those things aren’t happening nothing else matters. I’m also a huge foodie, and being in Rhode Island, I’m definitely in the right place for it.
What do you think made you different, or ‘rare,’ when you were a young girl? Is there anything you did as a child that almost predicted your future?
I never saw gender barriers. Growing up, I played in the boy’s world. I grew up in Washington D.C. and I fell in love with politics and government. Public service has always been a huge component in what I’ve done. It wasn’t until college that I understood that public service wasn’t a friendly place for woman. I experienced this realization first hand when I was running for office in college. Some people would act shocked when I told them I was running for office. They would say, ‘you don’t look like someone who would do that,’ and I would be like, ‘what does that mean?’
Now that you’re older, do you still experience situations where you feel that public service isn’t a friendly place for you?
Im 24 – and there are other woman my age or younger already serving in elected office. What makes me different is that I’m a campaign manager for a 26 year old’s campaign. What makes this more unique and rare is that I’m a republican and she’s a democrat. Woman have historically shown that they can solve issues when the men are throwing up their hands. Woman can come together and make a difference. We’re extraordinarily dividing and we need more woman at the table.
Some people have asked if I am working on the campaign I’m working on because she is a woman. That is not why. It is because she has a heart for service and is dedicated to bipartisan solutions.
My hope is that one day it will not be rare for democrats and republican to work together, and that it won’t be rare for young woman to be in office.
Turning things back to you, what quality do you think you have that helped you accomplish all these things you have before turning 24?
My motto that has inspired me is ‘do one thing a day that scares you.’ Over the past eight years, I’ve lived by that. There have been a lot of times where it would have been easier to take the short way out, especially with so much on my plate, but I haven’t.
There was a brief period of time where I almost gave up because I didn’t want to deal with the critism, but I was like no — you can’t give up.
You need to be able to handle whatever life throws at you. Looking at life and knowing who I am and what the power of courage is has all propelled me forward. I can get knocked down, but I always get back up. I will continuously pursue things. Resilience and courage are the two most important things I have.
At Forever Twenty Somethings, we are all about empowering each other to successfully navigate life. Success is different for everyone, though. How do you define success?
To me, I’m most successful when I’m helping to improve the lives of others. That’s why I’ve been so driven to public service.
What advice do you have for our 20-something readers who are trying to adjust to the working world and become successful – both in their personal and professional lives?
Like I said before, do one thing a day that scares you. We are the authors of our own lives. Even on the most critical moments, always take things on head first. Say YES. Put yourself out there. Be resilient.
Millennials really are able to write their own stories. It excites me to see other people with this outlook on life. I will continue to live by this. It’s woven into who I am. Make the most of your life.
…We certainly will. Thanks, Allie!
The awards ceremony for the Rare Under 40 Awards is taking place on April 16th, 2016. Read more about Allie and the rest of the winners here!
This post is sponsored by Everywhere Agency on behalf of Rare; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.