She can be dubbed as a pageant veteran. Miss Earth Water Brittany Ann Payne has a series of beauty pageant titles to her name. She was the second runner-up at Miss California USA 2015, the first runner-up in Miss California United States 2013 and the second runner-up in Miss Racing Queen 2014. She represented Bakersfield in Miss Hooters International 2013, became a Hooters Calendar Girl and represented HOA in billboards, posters and online advertisements.
“I competed in my first pageant when I was 18 when my focus was on the pretty crown and wearing a big dress. After I attended Miss USA 2011 in Las Vegas, I fell in love with what pageantry has to offer. I have worked extremely hard each year competing, becoming stronger, better and more focused and doing my research on every aspect of pageantry. It is not only a strong passion, but an important part of my life,” says the beauty who hails from Central California and was the second runner-up at Miss Earth 2015. She was recently in Sri Lanka, accompanying Miss Earth 2015 Angelia Ong to crown Derana Miss Sri Lanka for Miss Earth 2016.
Brittany is hoping to compete for the Miss USA title for Miss Universe 2016 next. If that does not open doors to new experiences, she wishes to move to Spain for a stint.
Q: How has your life changed after the Miss Earth pageant?
A: This is my first international title. I feel happy with myself because I know that I took my country to another level by bringing back a title home. It is also an inspiration to others because it shows that if you can put your mind into something, you can achieve great heights.
I have gotten the opportunity to travel a lot and see many places. I took part in a lot of projects which I can put my heart into and make life better for all those living on earth.
Q: What is your most memorable moment in your tours?
A: Wow, that’s a tough one… Honestly, I think it is the night when it all began. It is the night when we were crowned. It is like no other experience I have had during my life. You were on a huge stage and live on TV. When Angelia Ong was crowned and the four of us came together, there was a lot of celebrations with music, clapping and cheering. We were all stunned and emotional. We did not understand what was happening but we did know that from that moment on our lives were going to change. I would like to relive that moment any day! (Laughs)
Q: Describe your experience in Sri Lanka in a few words.
A: Sri Lanka is incredible. I loved every moment during my stay here. We were able to see Colombo, Galle and many more places. We realized how much the country has to offer. I have been to about 13 countries and I have met the nicest human beings in Sri Lanka. They are so friendly, sweet and honest. They would give you anything – even the shoes off their feet, just to please you.
And, on my word, it is such a clean country as well. I wish I was going to stay longer here.
Q: How do you spend your free time?
A: I am an outdoor person. I like to horseback ride.
I am an avid and extreme hiker. I go to national parks in different countries and climb mountains. I love to swim, run and read.
Q: Tell us a bit about your family.
A: My grandparents are my best friends. They are pretty much my parents. I moved out of my parents’ home when I was very young. I have three siblings.
There is a point you believe that anyone can be your family whether they are really your family members or not. I keep contact with my grandparents all the time.
Q: Three fashion tips you would like to share with our readers.
1) Always have pantyhose with you when you travel because if you get deodorant on your clothes, it will come right off.
2) Always use lotion on your hands and face in the mornings.
3) Always wear sunscreen.
Q: If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?
A: I would change the course of nature so that I could live forever! (Laughs) I would not want to change anything about myself since I am here today because of who I am. I am 22 years old now and keep maturing and learning about myself.
Q: How important is it to have a beauty ambassador for water?
A: We are suffering from the drought in California for the past couple of years. So we know the importance of conserving water. We shut off sprinklers, fountains and did not even serve water at restaurants. Life is very difficult especially because the opposite side of the USA was suffering from floods! The climate change has affected us very differently but life has to go on. Since our city shut down sprinklers no one had nice grass. Once water is gone, it is gone. Man cannot create water.
Q: What do you love most in being a human being?
A: I love the fact that man has the freedom to choose what he or she feels for. Man can show love as well as give love. Emotions are the most important thing when it comes to being a human being.
Q: Name three things you absolutely hate.
A: Goodness, there is a long list! (Laughs)
1) Traffic because it is time consuming. People are terrible drivers!
2) I don’t like small bugs. I fear ants! (Laughs) Don’t ask.
3) Sand. It is like litter and it follows you everywhere. You cannot get rid of it easily.
Q: What is your favourite ice cream flavour?
A: Cookies and cream hands down!
Q: Are you a good cook?
A: I am still learning. My grandmother has a famous cookbook which she shares with me. I am very innovative when it comes to having five ingredients which do not really match but you can make anything out of them. I am good at making anything which has avocados, eggs, cheese, and tomato. (Giggles) I will work on it and find a recipe which will be my favourite dish.
I am a vegetarian so it is difficult to cook at times but now a days there are many options available for us. I want to become a better cook. I am not a good baker though.
Q: What is the most difficult choice you had to make in life?
A: It is the decision to leave school and continue in pageantry. Most of my friends have already graduated with their degrees or higher degrees.
It is hard being put in a different category knowing that I am not in the level that they are in but I have had so many experiences that they have not had.
I hurts me that I did not choose to continue schooling because I could have already gotten a full time job. However I do not regret my decision because pageants have given me so many opportunities. It is difficult when you go back to school when you are older. You have to relearn everything between High School and College.
Q: What does it take to win the Miss Earth Water crown?
A: To win any Miss Earth pageant you do not have to be an expert on anything environmental. You just need to have the passion for change. I wasn’t aware of many of the issues happening when I competed at the competition from my state.
It was only when I went overseas after being crowned that I understood the reality of our crumbling world. It takes drive to inspire others to never stop and become a role model to anyone. You have to really believe in yourself.
Q: How do like to be remembered by the public someday?
A: I would love to leave a legacy of positivity that you can pursue absolutely anything. Each person has his or her struggles to overcome, but I want everyone to know that there is light on the other side. My legacy would be positivity and never giving up.
Pictures by Sarath Peiries