Lanie Hudson is a 25 year-old, South Carolina native, currently living in the Queen City of Charlotte, NC. After graduating from Clemson University and serving as Miss South Carolina 2014, she is continuing to pursue her dreams as an intern for the Carolina Panthers. When she’s not working she enjoys watching football, shopping for great deals, and power-walking with her best friends. Read more about our time with Lanie on Empower Hour at Seacrest Studios in Charlotte and how the Miss America Organization changed her life:
What’s your story? What makes you unique?
Well, I was born and raised in Spartanburg, SC and a third-generation Clemson tiger. I grew up a competitive clogger which led me to compete in the Miss America Organization. In 2014, I was honored to win Miss South Carolina and serve as an ambassador for the state, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, DonateLifeSC, and PalmettoPride. I really love Chick-fil-A sweet tea, football, and shopping for a great outfit. Currently, I am interning for the Carolina Panthers (which I love) and have enjoyed getting to learn so much more about sports communication, events, marketing, and player/alumni relations and am SO excited to see what is next!
What motivates you?
The ability to learn new things has always intrigued me. It’s fascinating that regardless of whether you are in school, the work force, volunteering, etc... You always have the ability to learn something new about the world. Learning new things and challenging myself really motivates me to be a better person and in turn help others.
Who is a hero of yours?
I’ve always looked up to my former YoungLife Leader, Katie Landon Fitch. From the very start when I met Katie in middle school, she would remind us each day to “live life to the full.” (John 10:10) I’m thankful to have such a wonderful mentor like Katie in my life to look up to!
What’s your future plan? Your goals?
That’s a great question—if you know the plan, please let me know! Haha, I know what I enjoy, what I like to do and what I “think” I am good at, but I really enjoy helping people and trying to make people’s day a little better. I enjoy communicating and working in the sports industry so my “goal” is to continue working in that realm. I have grown up around football, so would like to combine my love for sports, people, and communicating into my “dream job.” Currently, I’m working for the Carolina Panthers which is fantastic place to work & have learned SO much over the last six months. I’m just taking each day one step at a time to see where the Lord’s work is going to lead me!
If you could give one piece of advice, what would it be?
My life mantra I guess you could say is to “Be Kind and Have Courage.” Ever since I was little, my parents always reminded me on how important it was to be kind to others, because you have the ability to make a difference in their day. (My mom still to this day tells me to ‘be sweet’ as I walk out the door). I often think we are afraid to be nice because it’s not always the “norm,” however, can you imagine how amazing the world would be if we all had a little more “courage” to accomplish our dreams and were nicer to one another on a day to day basis?
What is something you feel strongly about? (a cause, belief, etc)?
A big passion of mine is bringing awareness to organ and tissue donation and educating others on how they can become a donor. My drive to work for the cause of organ and tissue donation began when a close friend of mine was in a fatal car accident. After the doctors pronounced her brain dead, her family made the selfless decision to donate her organs to individuals who were in dire need. My family has also experience the gift of organ & tissue donation as my uncle was a recipient of a kidney and pancreas. I know that without the sacrifice of strangers, he would not have been with us an additional 15 years.
As a titleholder in the Miss America Organization, I made it my mission to initiate the conversation across the state of South Carolina as to why we should choose to “Give Life.” By signing up to become an organ donor, one person can save up to eight lives and with over 100,000 people across the United States waiting for a transplant it is so important to me that we continue educating on this life-saving issue. I’ve partnered with the non-profit organization, “Taylor’s Gift,” whose mission is to regift life, renew health, and restore families. What I love so much about this organization is their unique ability to reach people by polishing their nails with the OPI polish, “Taylor Blue.” By “painting in forward” this simple act continues to share Taylor’s story which inspires others to give back, pay it forward, and become a donor.
What’s one of the coolest things you’ve ever done?
I think being a contestant on America’s Got Talent is up there as one of the coolest things I’ve done (especially on a whim). My clogging team, TNC Elite, and I submitted a video through their YouTube contest, and somehow made it through to the top 15 acts of all submissions. They flew us out to Los Angeles, we had to audition the day we arrived, made it past that round and were able to stay for an additional two weeks. Having the opportunity to compete on a live-reality television show really teaches you a lot, especially as a college kid! You can check out our appearance on America’s Got Talent here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Hk8WE_RBzs .
Anything we haven’t asked you’d like to talk about.
Over the last several years I’ve volunteered with local children’s hospitals across South Carolina and love the partnership Miss America Organization has with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. I’m really excited to continue my work with CMNH, in particularly with Levine Children’s Hospital here in Charlotte. CMNH is the National Platform of the Miss America Organization, so as Miss South Carolina I had the honor of serving as a state ambassador for the organization. It’s truly rewarding to witness the little bit of happiness you are able to give to a Miracle Child in one of these hospitals and am honored to continue being a voice and advocate for this organization.