Graceann Hammer

Miss Illinois Princess

I can’t believe how fast this year has gone, and all that I was able to experience!!  I had the exciting privilege to go to NAM Nationals and spend a day at Disney with my sister Queen and my directors!  I also placed 4th runner-up at Nationals and was blown away, I will remember that forever!  I have had the privilege throughout the year doing what I love - public speaking as NAM Illinois Princess, and also donating water bottles and Gatorade to first responders. NAM has truly given me some amazing opportunities.


I want to thank my amazing directors Mr. Scotty and Rebecca and Macy - they have spoiled me throughout the year with gifts and mail! I want to thank my sister queens for all the FaceTime hangouts during COVID! I also want to thank my mom, daddy, brother and sister for allowing me to do everything I love. God is so good! Until we meet again, I will forever be…


Your 2019 NAM Illinois Princess

Graceann Hammer 

Ava Gresser

Miss Illinois Jr. Preteen

Hi, my name is Ava! I am 10 years old and representing the great state of Illinois as your Jr Preteen.


My National American Miss journey began at five years old when I was hoping to be a real-life princess. It was my one wish every time I watched "Tangled", "The Princess and the Frog" and "Beauty and the Beast". I loved the movies and wanted to be a princess like them. One day we received a postcard in the mail from National American Miss and my mom asked if I was interested. We had a lot of fun the first year and continued to go back. I competed three times before I was crowned the Illinois Princess. I still have the picture with the surprised and shocked look when they called my name!  In 2019, I came back and competed for Jr Preteen and now on my way to Nationals.


NAM has taught me so much about myself. A fun fact! My first year, I didn't say my personal introduction. Not even close. I stood in pretty feet and then left the stage. I came back on stage and when I was asked if I wanted to say my speech, I said smiled really bright and said, "no, thank you". Everyone clapped for me like I was a rock star and my mom stood up and cheered, because she knew how shy I was and even getting on the stage was a huge achievement. 


Year two, I said my personal introduction, but the interview was a little rocky with my one-word answers. Going into my third year, my shyness was still a challenge, but I knew I could do it and I was learning goals at school so it helped with planning. I also met my Queen friends for life, Ava from Indiana and Shyanna from Illinois who rooted for me. My mom, dad, baby brother and my grandma were also there. My baby brother fell asleep and even through the clapping, crowning and music, continue to snore and sleep. Some things never change.


In my spare time, I dance, model and act, computer code and volunteer in my community. My future goal is to become the President of Disney, an outcome of watching all those movies! My hope is that everyone can enjoy the magic in their lifetime.


My advice for other girls is never give up. No matter how many times it doesn't end the way you imagined or you get knocked down, get back up and go for your goals.


Shyanna Patterson

Miss Illinois Preteen


My journey started one day when my mom and I received a letter in the mail from NAM about a local workshop.  We attended and thought how fun – let’s go for it!  We then went to St Charles Illinois and although I didn’t win the title that year, I came away with several optional awards and such a great

experience that I had to go back the following year - which I did – and I then won my Jr Pre-Teen title.  It’s just been an amazing journey since then! Being a part of NAM has built my confidence and given me a voice I’m not afraid for any new challenge. I actually welcome the challenge.  I definitely have made so many new friends along the way.


I have been able to go out in my community and converse with people that I never would have talked with before. I volunteer a lot more and try to teach young girls my age what I’ve learned.  

I am involved with my personal platform entitled “Just Enough Love".  I collect stuffed animals and take them to the kids who are unable to leave the hospital due to severe sickness and I hand the stuffed animals out and hope to bring a smile and happiness to the children.  I also am a black belt at my Karate school called “Leaders for Life”.  There we also teach and talk about bullying and setting standards in life. I also enjoy working with the Special Olympics throughout the year.  I absolutely love kids and enjoy watching them and teaching them the simplest things like playing sports and just being able to be active.  


My goals for the future is to graduate high school with Honors and then attend college with an academic and/or sports scholarship. 


The best advice I could give an upcoming girl or next queen is to just be ready to have the time of your life. You will make some amazing friends and be part of a wonderful NAMily.  You will learn so much about yourself and really challenge yourself and build your confidence.  You will always remember the NAM experience!”

Livia Nieves

Miss Illinois Jr Teen

My journey with National American Miss began when I received a letter in the mail six years ago. After my mom pushed me to go to the open call, I put on a cute dress and headed to a local hotel. The open call was set in a huge ballroom with over 100 girls. After being interviewed and talking in a mic to all of the parents, I finally went home and loved it! About a week later, we received a call that I had made it! I decided to go for it and the rest is history.

The biggest difference I have found since starting NAM has been my confidence! I was super shy when I first started and was too nervous to even talk to my parents, but now I can talk to my entire junior high as the student council president (and play a super embarrassing game of Ships and Sailors in front of my entire junior high and high school and win!). My ability to talk to others that are both older and younger than me has also been a skill that has proved to be super important! After I began doing pageants, I started doing shows at a local theater and found my biggest passion!

I am an eighth grader who’s involved with the dance team, speech contest, band, choir and jazz choir, track team, and also starred in my school’s junior high musical. Out of school, I take voice lessons, dance classes, and I’m a part of a program for students to have the ability to create magic on a stage called Hoogland Education. 

One day, I hope to either star on Broadway or become a broadcast journalist. But even if neither of these things work out, I hope to be a positive influence to others and do something that I am passionate about every day.

The biggest advice I have for someone thinking about becoming involved with NAM is to go for it! National American Miss most definitely helped me find myself, confidence, and friends that I will have for a lifetime - not to mention the connections I have received throughout my time to competing and my reign. And if pageants helped me, they will no doubt help you too. It is never too late or early to start pageants and National American Miss’ positive atmosphere will make it a weekend you will never forget whether you take home a sparkly hat or not. 

Aaliyah Archibald

Miss Illinois Teen

My NAM journey began when I was 9 years old and I received the infamous letter in the mail that was actually meant for my older sister, but I decided to take that opportunity. NAM has taught me public speaking skills, and not only has this program helped me prepare for the real word but has also made me grow into the confident woman I am today.


I am involved in my school's color guard in the fall and winter guard in the spring, I am also in various choir groups, and I love volunteering. In the future, I plan to attend the University of Arizona to become a project manager for Walt Disney World.


What advice would you give to a girl wanting to participate in NAM? If I could talk to girls who want to participate in NAM, I would encourage them to be themselves, and not to be scared of learning new things through this system. You might also meet your new best friend!”

Syna Vohra

Miss Indiana Princess

This was my very first pageant and I am so glad I started this pageant journey with NAM. It was such a wonderful feeling to hear my name and I was delighted to earn the crown. NAM has helped me grow so much in my confidence, taught me how to speak in public, how to feel comfortable in interviews and present myself in a refined manner. 

I enjoy making art, playing the piano, swimming, playing basketball and dancing. I enjoy volunteering at the local food pantry, serving meals at the Ronald McDonald House and in my local community events. When I grow up I would like to pursue passion for art. I also want to be able to invent something! 


If you are thinking to participate in NAM, I would suggest to just go for it. Each and every one of you is capable of winning the title! As Walt Disney once said, all your dreams can come true if you have the courage to pursue them. 

Justice Holben

Miss Indiana Jr Pre-Teen

I have loved being your 2019-2020 Miss Indiana Jr Pre-Teen. When my name was called I was so excited I cried. What can I say, except NAM has a special place in my heart. NAM was my first pageant, and I had so much fun I couldn’t wait to compete again. I have met the most amazing people and made lifelong friends. I have the best sister queens, and we have so much fun together, whether we are helping at open calls or preparing meals at the Ronald McDonald House, we are laughing and enjoying our time together. Thank you to my sister queens and our wonderful directors Rebecca and Scotty for making this a year I will never forget.  To the state finalists, good luck and never give up on your dreams and in the words of Shakira, “Try everything!”  .

Madison Lee

Miss Indiana Pre-Teen


My NAM journey began when I received something in the mail and was instantly interested. I went to an Open Call in Evansville and immediately had to sign up. I was nervous at first but all of the staff, girls and families there make you feel so welcome and at home. It is so fun to be a part of something so special and I’m so happy I took a chance on NAM. Best choice ever! I’ve learned that you always just need to be you and that you don’t need to be someone else because you are amazing just the way you are. Knowing this, I have stopped trying to worry about what others think about me.


I’m involved in my school’s volleyball and basketball teams, Student Lighthouse Team, Broadcast Team and local Make-A-Wish Ambassador and Wish Grantor. In the future, I strive to take joy in the little things in life and to become President of the United States of America!


What advice would you have for a young lady considering participating in NAM? Just have fun! Make memories you will cherish a lifetime and make lots of new friends! Let loose, enjoy yourself and all of the events. You will love NAM, it’s so wonderful and such a blessing to be a part of it!

Jackie Rivera

Miss Indiana Jr Teen

I started NAM six years ago when I was 9 years old and participating in the program taught me many valuable skills. For instance one is my communication skills. I used to be very shy and I could never hold a conversation or be able to ask someone for help and NAM has helped me break out of my shell and be able to talk to anyone.


I am involved with my school's Student Government, I am in my school's Marching Band and I play the clarinet,  I am a volunteer at my local Girls Inc., and I am a tap and jazz dancer. In the future I hope to become an Orthodontist.


To any girls participating in NAM, I would say to definitely go for it! NAM is such a great organization that lets your inner beauty shine and teaches you many valuable skills. I would also say to just be yourself because you are unique in your own way!!

Kenydee Otto

Miss Indiana Teen

Six years ago, I received a letter from National American Miss in the mail. Turns out, a dance friend had recommended me! I then proceeded to go to a NAM open call, where I learned about this amazing system, and instantly fell in love!!! I competed year after year, chasing that crown; but more importantly, I gained life skills that have shaped me into the woman I am today. I sometimes ponder on how my speaking skills, poise and confidence would be if I never joined National American Miss when I was 12 years old-I am so blessed to be able to say that National American Miss is a part of who I am!

Like said earlier, I am extremely blessed to have been able to learn so many life skills throughout the years due to National American Miss. Each area of competition has taught me a different life skill, one that I have now developed into who I am. I am comfortable in my skin, not afraid to talk to large groups, and am always prepared for an interview of any sort! I cannot thank National American Miss enough for shaping me, and most of all, believing in me.

I am a sophomore at Trine University in Angola, Indiana. I am in an accelerated program, Doctorate of Physical Therapy 3+3, that allows me to graduate with my doctorate in physical therapy in just 6 years post-high school graduation. Though I am very dedicated to my academics, I am also very involved on my university’s campus. I am the captain of the High Voltage Dance Team, a Student Ambassador, and active volunteer for a variety of events that Trine offers throughout the school year. Outside of college, I commute to my dance studio once a week and instruct students about a variety of styles including: jazz, lyrical, tap, ballet, pom and hip-hop.


After I graduate from Trine University, I will then move onto the graduate program for my Doctorate in Physical Therapy. Post-graduate school I would love to have the opportunity to rehabilitate athlete’s post-injury, so I could return them back to their field-of-play. I would also love to continue my inspiration through the art of dance at my former competitive dance studio.

What advice do I have for anyone considering participating in NAM? Three words: Go for it!!! I would never in a million years trade back the time that I spent with National American Miss. National American Miss believes in you, and who YOU are. Be yourself, that’s all that NAM asks for! If you are uncertain about joining the NAMily, come to an open call, I would love to talk to you!

Hannah Ashby

Miss Indiana

My journey with National American Miss began when I received a letter in the mail inviting me to an Open Call at 12 years old. NAM has since transformed me from a shy, reserved child into a young woman with goals, a vision, and the skills needed to accomplish those dreams. I have been a part of this organization for the past eight years, working towards my goal of becoming Miss Indiana. After many years of first and second runner-ups, I was finally able to achieve my dream and capture the title on my eighth attempt. Because of NAM, I have excelled in scholarship interviews, ran for a national campaign delivering a speech to a crowd of 20,000, and lead many service project initiatives, striving to make a difference in the lives of those around the globe.


I am currently a sophomore at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana studying Marketing and Strategic Communication. I am a member of the Butler University Student Foundation where I serve as the Membership Committee Head, striving to connect past, present, and future Bulldogs through educating my members on various topics including diversity, advancement, and philanthropy. I also serve as the Event Captain of the Butler Catholic Community Peer Ministry Team, planning events that foster a community atmosphere with individuals of all affiliations. In addition, I am a member of Scholars for the Advancement of Business Leadership and Alpha Phi Sorority.


My goal is to mentor other individuals to strive for success, no matter what their definition of success may be. Through delivering presentations to elementary schools around Indiana on my Steps to Success, I hope to encourage all people, young and old, to work hard, be persistent, and give back. My most recent service project is hosting a collection for Dress for Success Indianapolis, an organization that empowers women through economic independence and professional development. As a small, faith-based business owner, I am very passionate about this cause.


My advice for any girl who is considering competing in NAM is to DO IT! I was not educated on pageantry when I started and had some concerns, but I am so thankful that I did not let those hold me back. A lot of who I am today is thanks to National American Miss. You gain the friendships, skills and opportunities of a lifetime.

Lily Versmesse

Miss Indiana Pre-Teen Cover Girl

I have participated in NAM for eight years and when I first started, I was very shy. Then, I made lots of friends and my confidence grew! That's what I love most about NAM - it gives girls an opportunity to make new friends and to grow in confidence.


Some of my hobbies are baking and swimming. One of my community service projects is my organization called Lily’s Care Bears. It is when I collect stuffed animals and give them to children in Riley’s Hospital. 

In the future, I want to attend medical school and become an orthopedic surgeon.


For any girls thinking about participating in NAM, I think you should join. I promise you will make tons of new friends and have a great time!