I can hardly find the words to communicate the appreciation I have for where I am today. I have so much love for my hometown of Concord and the small town pride atmosphere, and I am thrilled to be contributing to the city by providing another "mom & pop" shop. Each phase of my life has played a strategic part in the path I am now on. It was all a part of a greater plan that began unfolding in June of 2018 and came to life when we opened on November 18, 2018! It's fascinating to me, and honestly why I'm so determined to keep the brand very, "me." Not because I think I'm the coolest person ever - because hello, do you know me? lol - but for the fact that my 24 year old self is here as McKenzie Jade by the grace of God and the faith I put in Him to lead me where I am meant to be.
A little personal background about myself is that I come from a HUGE, very close nit family and am a middle child of 6 - Maddie, Dillon, Jake, Jerod, and James. I graduated from First Assembly Christian School, and attended the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. As a competition dancer since the age of two, I took my dancing career to the collegiate level and cheered on the sidelines as a Charlotte 49er Gold Duster! I now have the pleasure of teaching the most amazing kiddos at the studio where I trained - Dance Productions the Remix.
My past pageant experiences have always been an influential key to my life. I won the NC Cinderella State title in the year 2000 (gee that makes me feel old), and my mom actually took over the directorship, which only made me eligible to compete at the International pageant each year. I did participate in local "Little Miss" pageants here and there across our region of the state, but it wasn't until November 2010 that I ventured out to compete in my first MAO preliminary. I went on to capture the title of Miss North Carolina's Outstanding Teen in 2011, and proceeded to make Top 12 at Miss America's Outstanding Teen. I then held the title of Miss NC Teen United States in 2012. During my freshman year of college, I shifted back to MAO and continued to serve as three local titles - Cabarrus County, Queen City, and Mecklenburg County. The amount of growth I gained throughout those years prepared me for the moment I was crowned Miss North Carolina in 2016. I was awarded as a Non-Finalist Talent Winner, and was happy to come home to our great southern state that one of the most amazing years of my life!
A common theme while competing in Miss North Carolina was and is something near and dear to my heart - racing! The "Home of NASCAR" just so happens to be my hometown, and I am a huge fan of the sport because my dad was a driver himself! His pursuit of his dreams meant that I spent a lot of time at the Concord and Charlotte speedways cheering him on, and still do today for him and Dillon. I used my Miss NC experience as my "race" - not to be in a hurry to finish, but to grow as a young woman through trial and error. The pageant was the race, and that's what began #RacetotheCrown. My pit crew was the team of people who helped me get there. I had the adrenaline and the drive to be my best self, and the flags, guidelines, and rules kept me on track. There were practice runs, test laps, and plenty of mistakes to help me work out the kinks that made me anything less than myself. I had sponsors and coaches who had my best interest at heart, and people who cheered me on start to finish (oh, and wore t-shirts with my name on it hehe). I raced my final lap as I gave my farewell as Miss NC.
So, as you can see, racing was is foundation! I'm either going to give it my all, or not do it at all. It's unique dynamic is what I knew I wanted to build MJ's upon. I would be nowhere if it weren't for my parents, family, and supporters who have been on this ride with me. There is a deep value in learning while experiencing - you work by testing, absorbing, and tweaking what is holding you back from reaching your goal. Every single detail counts! That is exactly how I want to always bring what's best to the table and keep the store growing and thriving always!!
xoxo, Kenzie Jade