Miss Oklahoma 2020: The Making of a Fairy Tale

Featured Image of Miss Oklahoma USA
Author: C.L. Harmon
Date Published: November 25, 2020

Miss Oklahoma Rags to Riches

It’s a Cin­derel­la sto­ry of sorts, a rags-to-on-her-way-to-rich­es sto­ry. The par­al­lels between this dri­ven young lady and the fabled Cin­derel­la are uncan­ny, with one excep­tion Mari­ah Jane Davis needs no Prince Charm­ing to achieve the hap­pi­ly ever after. At the ten­der age of 25, Davis has dis­cov­ered that the glass slip­per is, at the very least, always half full.

Grow­ing up in the Okla­homa City area, Davis, her sis­ter Erin and her moth­er, Sheila lived a low-income exis­tence and relied on free Indi­an Health Care as the fam­i­ly are mem­bers of the Choctaw Nation. It was a time of strug­gle, Davis recalls. But it was also some­thing else, an oppor­tu­ni­ty to see what hard work and per­se­ver­ance can pro­vide. Her moth­er was that exam­ple. Davis wit­nessed the pow­er that lies in deter­mi­na­tion, grit, and faith in one’s self. 

It was a home filled with love and lessons that would be her spring­board to her suc­cess­es. After many years of strug­gles, her moth­er would take a leap of faith and leave her low-pay­ing employ­ment. She began work­ing in real estate from her home, which turned out to be a rever­sal of for­tune for this strug­gling sin­gle-par­ent fam­i­ly. She had learned that suc­cess was always pos­si­ble from her moth­er, even if not close.

Mari­ah Jane Davis, Miss Okla­homa USA 2020, on stage in fash­ion by Sher­ri Hill, an offi­cial spon­sor of the 2020 Miss USA com­pe­ti­tion, at the Miss USA Pre­lim­i­nary Com­pe­ti­tions, on Novem­ber 6, 2020, at Grace­land in Mem­phis, Tennessee.

“My mom was my exam­ple that you can start with noth­ing and build some­thing if you’re will­ing to work hard. And I was able to see what work­ing hard looks like through my mom,” she said. Soon after, the fam­i­ly finances were on the upswing with her mother’s busi­ness suc­cess and, with it, a move at the age of 13. The fam­i­ly moved to Moore, Oklahoma. 

Pivotal Moment

This was a piv­otal move for the bud­ding teen who had only known the low-income exis­tence. It forced her to start over much the same way her moth­er had done. It was a new envi­ron­ment and, although a bit fright­en­ing to start over, it was an oppor­tu­ni­ty to grow and cul­ti­vate many of the peo­ple skills that would become so valu­able when she began pur­su­ing the dream of becom­ing Miss Oklahoma.

“I start­ed dream­ing big at a very young age and believ­ing it was pos­si­ble to achieve my dreams,” she said. As most young adults do, she real­ized ear­ly that hav­ing dreams is a des­ti­na­tion and not a road map. She desired suc­cess in life but did not know what that looked like for her life. 

How­ev­er, she knew that she want­ed as much out of life as pos­si­ble and that ‘direc­tion’ was the start­ing point to get there. She admits that through most of her years in high school, she lacked that direc­tion to go along with her desire. And to make mat­ters worse, life had thrown her the curve­ball of clin­i­cal depres­sion cou­pled with anxiety. 

For dream chasers, the most dif­fi­cult part is often find­ing that start­ing point even to begin pur­su­ing those dreams. Depres­sion often wors­ens with its role of play­ing keep-away with find­ing that start­ing point. This was no dif­fer­ent for Davis. And yet, she was able to remain focused and, as a junior in high school, fought her melan­choly moods and decid­ed to go after the title of Miss Okla­homa Teen USA. She worked hard, and it paid off when she placed sec­ond run­ner up. She achieved the same hon­or the fol­low­ing year. And though she had not won the title, she won some­thing greater, that elu­sive start­ing point as to how to start pur­su­ing a dream.

Ini­tial­ly, after her sec­ond run­ner-up hon­ors, she had planned to use her momen­tum to move to the big leagues and pur­sue the title of Miss Okla­homa the fol­low­ing year. But with­in that year and her entrance into col­lege, Davis began think­ing about the awe­some respon­si­bil­i­ties of hold­ing such an impor­tant posi­tion and being a role mod­el for many oth­er young women who might want to pur­sue com­pe­ti­tion in pageants. 

She was only 19 and in her heart was aware that she knew too lit­tle about life to hold such a posi­tion. She instead decid­ed to focus on col­lege and allow time and expe­ri­ence to bring her to a place where she felt she was the best per­son for that role and poten­tial­ly for Miss USA after earn­ing that honor.

Mari­ah Jane Davis, Miss Okla­homa USA 2020, com­pet­ing on stage in a Sher­ri Hill gown, an offi­cial spon­sor of the 2020 Miss USA com­pe­ti­tion, dur­ing the Top 5 ques­tion round and final walk, at the Miss USA Com­pe­ti­tion, on Novem­ber 7, 2020, at Grace­land in Mem­phis Tennessee.

Growing

While grow­ing into that per­son, Davis con­tin­ued bat­tling her depres­sion, and much like Cinderella’s step­sis­ters who did every­thing in their pow­er to hin­der the hap­pi­ness of Cin­derel­la, depres­sion played the same role in Davis’ life. Although her ill­ness did play a role in her deci­sion to not com­pete dur­ing her years in col­lege, it also allowed her the time to con­tin­ue grow­ing as a per­son. This is some­thing she knew she need­ed to do before com­pet­ing for Miss Oklahoma. 

Depres­sion, how­ev­er, did not present such a pos­i­tive out­come on her col­lege career and would cause her sev­er­al issues, pro­long­ing her grad­u­a­tion by one year. Her men­tal bat­tles play into this mod­ern life fable because of Davis’ desire to over­come it by stay­ing true to her desire and focus­ing on achiev­ing her goals much the same way as Cin­derel­la did after her dress was destroyed by her stepsisters.

As a proud Native Amer­i­can and “Okie,” Davis has shown the spir­it of the Native peo­ples and their unwa­ver­ing desire to con­tin­ue and pros­per. She pushed through, pur­su­ing her pas­sion for film and media while in col­lege and con­tin­u­ing to grow into the per­son she felt would be the best ver­sion of her­self to be Miss Oklahoma. 

Movies had always been her men­tal escape. As such, a career in the enter­tain­ment field seemed a per­fect fit and became her third big dream to fol­low behind her sec­ond of com­pet­ing for Miss USA. But she had to achieve her first, being crowned Miss Okla­homa. That dream that had lain dor­mant for five years was about to awak­en, and awak­en it did!

After grad­u­at­ing from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Okla­homa in 2019, she final­ly felt that she was at a point in her life where she was the per­son she need­ed to be to give the title of Miss Okla­homa with all of the wis­dom and respect the title deserves. 

In addi­tion, as is often life, her aspi­ra­tions in the enter­tain­ment indus­try were not as ini­tial­ly fruit­ful as she had hoped. And though dis­cour­aged, she believed that was a sign to fin­ish what she had start­ed with her pageant goals. With advice and sup­port from friends and fam­i­ly, she over­came her dis­cour­aged and depressed out­look and began prepar­ing to achieve her long­time goal. After much hard work and ded­i­ca­tion, she achieved that goal in Decem­ber of 2019.

Photos Submitted by Miss Davis
Mari­ah Jane Davis, Miss Okla­homa USA 2020, on stage in a Sher­ri Hill gown, an offi­cial spon­sor of the 2020 Miss USA com­pe­ti­tion, at the Miss USA Pre­lim­i­nary Com­pe­ti­tions, on Novem­ber 6, 2020, at Grace­land in Mem­phis, Tennessee.

“Final­ly win­ning Miss Okla­homa was my first time expe­ri­enc­ing a dream come true. At that moment, I could see years of hav­ing that dream, despite the obsta­cles, come to fruition,” Davis said.

Almost a year lat­er now, her reign soon comes to an end. And with that end­ing, Davis did pur­sue her sec­ond goal and recent­ly took her one shot in the Miss USA pageant. She placed sec­ond run­ner-up. Although she did not take the crown, she cer­tain­ly won the hearts of all those who have the courage and con­vic­tion to fol­low their dreams no mat­ter where they lead and how they end. 

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, con­tes­tants are only allowed to com­pete once, and so, with this part of her life now behind her, Davis is look­ing for­ward to pur­su­ing her lat­est dreams in the enter­tain­ment indus­try and mod­el­ing, ever hope­ful where these avenues will take her.

“I’m hope­ful and hun­gry. I’ve always had big dreams, and I plan to chase after every sin­gle one of them,” she said. Cur­rent­ly, Davis works in real­i­ty tele­vi­sion pro­duc­tion in Okla­homa and con­tin­ues work­ing towards her dream of work­ing in enter­tain­ment news.

A final par­al­lel with the Cin­derel­la sto­ry, I think, is the belief that there are hap­py end­ings for those who believe in them­selves and are will­ing to accept the dis­ap­point­ments of life with grace. Like Davis, these are the peo­ple who are proud to wear worn-out sneak­ers while seek­ing glass slip­pers. And when the slip­per fits, a hap­pi­ly ever after is soon to follow.

Unique­la­homa

C.L. Harmon

C.L. Harmon

C.L. is an award-winning journalist who spent many years in the newspaper and freelance fields. In addition to holding reporting and editing positions throughout his career, he also owned and operated a newspaper for several years. He was born, raised, and continues to reside in Oklahoma.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

advertisement

What is Uniquelahoma?

Uniquelahoma is an online magazine showcasing what is unique, beautiful, and positive in Oklahoma. Started by...

Unique Quote

You will never know how much you affect someone’s life. Because knowing how much is not as important as believing that even the smallest of impacts is enough to change the world for them. - C.L. Harmon

X