By Nadya Hubbard
Miss Earth USA announced their newly crowned 2022 winner, Natalia Salmon. Before being crowned Miss Earth USA, Natalia Salmon was Miss Pennsylvania Earth. I had the pleasure of speaking with Natalia and asking her a few questions about her journey to get here. When you hear the name Natalia Salmon it is important to know the support she provides for communities. Continue reading to hear about Natalia’s plans after being crowned Miss Earth USA.
How did you get introduced to pageantry?
“This was back in I believe 2017. I did my first ever pageant, it was Pennsylvania Teen USA. I’ve always watched, Miss USA, Miss Universe, or Miss America on TV with my parents. It wasn’t until Miss Teen USA that year that I really wanted to get into it. I saw a not very diverse top five, and in my head, I was thinking, you know what let me try to do this. I felt I could make it up there and stand there with those girls.
So, I asked my mom and she had said yes, and I was just completely surprised. We didn’t tell my dad though because he would have been like, “oh you know, pageantry.” We filled him in after everything was paid for. I completed that pageant in December of 2017 as a semifinalist. Just the whole experience and how I felt on stage and finally learning what pageantry is all about got me hooked and the rest is history.“
What made you decide to participate in the Miss Earth USA pageant?
“I’ve heard all about Miss Earth and Earth USA, of course, it wasn’t really until my state director Miss Terry got in contact with me, and I was really considering it. I’ve known Miss Terry; I know she’s a great director and I thought this would be a great opportunity. One to work with but also to learn of a whole new organization that you know, I think I could really be a part of. So, I competed for the Pennsylvania title and won that, and it’s just been a great experience so far working with the Miss Earth USA organization.“
As you know, social media can be super influential especially to millennials and Gen Z. How do you think you can incorporate the message that Miss Earth is trying to get across to those people, of why we should act now for a better and sustainable future?
“Social media has become even bigger, especially when it comes to COVID and the times that we’re living in, so I’ve already been using social media a lot to help promote just different kinds of environmental advocacy. As well as emotional intelligence, which is my more personal platform on really just trying to find different organizations that match up with our environment and mental advocate advocacy. Reposting them as well as trying to do my own research, seeing different news outlets here and there, and reposting the sharing, making sure that we’re getting the message across is definitely a great source. I am trying to become better at it myself, I’m not going to lie I could do a lot better. It is a lot of hard work, but it just takes time and dedication.“
When you mention your more personal platform, are you talking about Squad Limitations?
Do you mind telling me about Squad Limitless?
“Of course. So, it’s been almost two years now. I created Squad Limitless, and it’s a community organization where I introduce children, teens, young adults, or really anyone of any age to their true identity and limitless potential. And I use emotional intelligence. A squad one gives everyone an introductory course on different workbooks, age-appropriate depending on elementary, middle school, high school, and early college. Older people of course can always use the early college age. It’s the introductory course to emotional intelligence and becoming more self-aware of who you are and controlling your understanding and controlling your emotions.
For those who don’t know, emotional intelligence is understanding your emotions and being able to control them, and understanding the emotions of others. That really leads to self-awareness as well as empathy. That’s really what I’m all about and what I’m trying to bring to the Miss Earth organization. Just a better love for one another on earth and in general. That’s really how change happens is if you care about something. So, for us, the Earth, we have to care about one another because we are part of that. That’s what Squad Limitless is all about and I’m excited to continue building it up and to work more in-depth with it this upcoming year.“
Yeah, I agree with you.
“Yeah, and that’s what people don’t understand. Like I was saying, you know, the Earth can be facing a drought over in Asia somewhere or even just here in the United States. We are facing water issues with our crises. Unless you care about the people that it’s affecting, you’re not going to want to help and that’s what I’m trying to get at.“
What are some of your interests outside of pageantry?
“I am a huge sports fanatic and I love anything sports-related, I just haven’t gotten into hockey. I grew up playing three different sports, volleyball, basketball, and track and field. Eventually, I ended up coaching the University of Maryland’s men’s club basketball team for a semester. That was a great experience. I think I’m a huge foodie because I love experiencing different cultures of food. I travel a lot so I got to experience a lot in my lifetime, and I can’t wait to experience more.
Also, I guess you could say I love anime. And call me cliché but Naruto is my favorite. I guess it’s a cliché because everyone knows Naruto but it’s a classic and I think the storyline is great. And I aspire to be like Naruto, motivated and determined you know? I just like someone could find something out of that show that they at least are in touch with and it’s just great.“
What would you say your mission as Miss Earth USA is?
“To get people excited to start making a change towards a greener Earth. I would say going hand in hand with emotional intelligence and Squad Limitless. Having people love each other more and be more united and mostly I guess having a more open mind. That’s a huge goal. I want people to see what’s going on in the world, to see that climate change and the environmental crisis are material issues. Most importantly, showing them how easy it is to make subtle changes that can have a huge impact“
Is there a final message you want to leave our readers with?
“I leave a lot of people with one of my favorite quotes, “embrace the glorious mess that you are” by Elizabeth Gilbert. I truly embody that quote. My life can be a mess sometimes, but I sit back and enjoy the journey and stay motivated and determined. Whatever you set your mind to you’ll accomplish.”