Interviewed by: Jordan Strope
"I believe that our differences truly do make us beautiful."
–Lulu Hamm, Gladys Girl of the Year 2013
Q. What has being Gladys Girl of the Year 2013 meant to you?
A. Being Gladys Girl of the Year for 2013 has been one of the greatest honors I have been so blessed to receive. Modeling has always been a strong passion of mine, and upon being featured in the 2013 Wedding & Couture Issue as May Gladys Girl, I was overcome with excitement and glee. However, after being chosen as Gladys Girl of the Year, I am at a loss of words to explain my emotions. To be able to represent something that is so relevant to such a massive sum of people is truly heartening. Knowing that Gladys was created out of pure inspiration set forth from one person to another, and that now that legacy has spread nationwide; it is a very powerful concept. To me, it emphasizes the importance of our obligation to give hope to one another, and to be that warm light in the lives of those surrounding us. Believing that I share the same values and beliefs as Gladys, being the Gladys Girl of the Year will always be something very special to my heart.
Q. Gladys is a magazine dedicated to anyone who has been inspired to pursue their dreams by someone they love. Who is that person for you?
A. My Gladys are my parents. I could talk about them forever, but for the sake of keeping this interview short; I will try to give you a synopsis of whom I consider the greatest human beings on Earth. My parents are the most generous people I know; they are always giving more than they receive. They live for signs of happiness and joy on the faces of the people around them. There is one quote I have learned from them that will always stay with me:
"The greatest thing you can do for yourself is to be selfless."
This is how my parents have taught me to live. I am so thankful for my family, who inspire me everyday to be a better person and a greater force of good in the world. They are my greatest blessing, and I will live my life forever paying my blessings forward, as they have taught me.
Q. What are your future plans?
A. I am currently entering my senior year of high school, and upon my graduation I plan to attend the Pennsylvania State University to major in English. After I obtain my bachelor's degree, I plan to attend law school. Law has always been a strong field of interest for me, and I aspire to be a lawyer so that I can insure justice is delivered to the right people.
Besides college and careers paths, I plan to continue pursuing modeling and pageantry. They are my passions, and have both allowed me to grow in so many ways. Through competing in pageants, I have been able to discover new levels of confidence within myself. My experiences in pageantry have allowed me to see myself clearly for exactly the person that I am, and have given me the confidence to believe in that person and all that she stands for. Pageants have also helped me create many lasting friendships that I am so thankful for.
Q. Who do you strive to inspire?
A. I strive to inspire anyone who has ever felt lost or out of place; anyone who has ever felt as though they are different. For many years when I was younger, I was heavily bullied and it has always held a dramatic effect on me. I never want another person to feel as though they do not have a place in this world simply because they are different from those around them. It may sound like a cliché, but I think clichés are wonderful, and I believe in them. I believe that our differences truly do make us beautiful. Whether we are young, old, male or female; we all have the freedom to choose the kind of people that we want to be. I want to inspire those around me to never be ashamed of what they want themselves to be, and to never feel defeated by falsely imagined limits, but rather to embrace themselves and their differences. Then hopefully, that can inspire all of us to accept people for the wonderful individuals that we all are.
Q. What inspires you on a daily basis?
A. I am inspired daily by a profound line in a book that I am reading, or perhaps a short motivating quote that I will stumble upon. People of all sorts and kinds inspire me on a daily basis; whether it is through writing, spoken words, or actions. I am inspired by my family, by my friends, or by the kind stranger that held the door open for me. I am inspired daily by people who live their lives with a kindness in their hearts that never runs out. People that follow their dreams despite their fears, or perhaps people who give courage to others following their dreams inspire me. People everywhere inspire me: with big dreams to chase and with great love to give.
Q. How has your life been impacted since you became a Gladys Girl and Gladys Girl of the Year?
A. Being the Gladys Girl of the Year has greatly impacted my life, mostly on a personal scale. It is very humbling, yet at the same time inspiring to have myself included in such a strong family like Gladys. Knowing what this magazine brings to people and what it has allowed me to give to those around me leaves me with such a tremendous feeling of pride and gratefulness. By seeing how Gladys has inspired others, and how I too can inspire those around me, is a gift that I can never repay.
Q. What has been your favorite experience with Gladys so far?
A. My favorite experience with Gladys was shooting for the editorial "Glitter Girls," in which I was able to model for photographs featuring pieces from the Charles Winston Jewelry Collection. The jewelry was absolutely gorgeous, and working with Sandycreek Studio was such a great pleasure. I had a wonderful time meeting with all of the other models working for the shoot, and I was overwhelmed with excitement when I first saw the photographs featured in the 2014 Spring Edition of Gladys Magazine announcing me as the Gladys Girl of the Year! It was truly an amazing opportunity and a very memorable experience.