Don’t they all say something like this? Nana Meriwether, the world-class beauty from Potomac, Md., who came in second at Miss USA on Sunday, insists that she was a total nerd as a kid.
“I was the most insecure,” the 2003 Sidwell Friends grad told us. “In high school, I had maybe two friends. I couldn’t speak in front of people.”
So how did she end up on live national television in a tiny bikini? After a long career in volleyball — a two-time NCAA All-American and former Olympic hopeful, who played professionally overseas — she retired a few years ago, only to realize “I still felt I needed to be competing in something.” (Read earlier: Nana Meriwether, Sidwell grad, is 1st runner-up at Miss USA)
Entering the world of pageants for the first time in her mid-20s, she had immediate and tantalizing success, coming close three years in a row to snagging the Miss California USA title while doing graduate work out west.
“It’s such a great way to build your character and confidence,” she said. “I’m a completely different person. . . . I’m friends with a lot of people from Sidwell still, and they’re like, who are you?”
For all the physical attributes on display at Miss USA, Meriwether says it’s mostly a mental game. “You’re comparing yourself to 51 girls, you’re looking for signs, like ‘Does [pageant owner] Donald Trump like me? Does the board like me?’ You get wrapped up in conspiracy theories. . . For me, playing sports, I knew how to handle a competitive situation.”
Now that the pageant chapter of her life has closed, Meriwether is working on med school applications, weighing modeling offers and — not surprisingly after her positive new experience with public speaking — “thinking of maybe doing politics in the future,” she said. “I have the ambition for it now.”
Read earlier: Nana Meriwether, Sidwell Friends grad, is first runner-up at Miss USA, 6/4/12 (Elements of these two stories appear combined in Tuesday’s print edition.)
Also in The Reliable Source: