Melissa Nicole Ocampo was born and raised in
How did you decide to join the beauty pageant?
I grew up watching pageants and, in 2007, decided to compete in one. From there, I was hooked.
How did you prepare for your most recent competition - swimsuit, talent, formal wear competition?
I competed in the Miss New York USA pageant. From past experience, I knew that the USA/ Universe system is based solely on appearance, so I focused my preparation on working out. Out of all the pageants I've competed, the Miss USA system is by far my favorite production to be a part of. However, platform-wise the International system is my favorite. That is why I wanted to compete one last time. I had a blast seeing my pageant sisters again, and being back on the stage is thrilling and exciting.
I explain to people that this pageant is based on appearance and how you present yourself in runway modeling. Preparing for this type of pageant made me more health conscious. Exercise and better food choices are important in preparing for the pageant.
I enjoy competing in pageants that focus more on your platform than your physical appearance. If you are deciding to compete in the Miss USA/Universe system, it is important to know that this is a “beauty pageant.”
At what age did you start joining beauty contests?
Did you get negative feedback because you were competing in the contest? How did you handle those?
Yes, all the time. I understand why people believe beauty pageants are outdated and degrading women in a way.
There are different types of pageants. Pageants allow you to present a positive platform of awareness for your cause or charity. However, people don’t usually see that aspect of the pageant.
I was very shy in school and hated public speaking. Beauty pageants helped me find out who I am, and gave me confidence in dealing with large groups of people.
It helped me prepare for real life situations. I can accept rejection and walk away with a positive mindset. Beauty pageants helped me become a stronger woman and created a space for me to continue to spread awareness about my platform. Competing in pageants afforded me the opportunity to meet some amazing young women who are passionate about changing the world. That is what motivates me to keep going.
What's your daily beauty regimen?
I just wash my face morning and night, and drink lots of water. I don't wear makeup every day. I only wear makeup if there is a special event.
What's the best advice your Mom gave you?