The Beautiful You MRKH Foundation (BYMRKH) is pleased to announce that Miss Michigan 2013, Jaclyn Schultz, is using her platform to bring awareness to MRKH and has partnered with the Beautiful You MRKH Foundation.
Jaclyn is a grad student at Michigan State University, and is working towards her Masters in Advertising. She is also employed full-time at Brogan and Partners; where she is a media buyer. Jaclyn contacted BYMRKH because she wanted to use her year to bring awareness to MRKH and was interested in getting involved with BYMRKH. After several communications between us, we saw that she was enthusiastic about improving the lives for females with MRKH and becoming a positive role model for females of all ages. BYMRKH is excited to be working with Jaclyn and we welcome her to the BYMRKH team!
It has been a pleasure getting to know Jaclyn over the last couple of months. We decided to interview her so that you could get to know her, too. We asked Jaclyn some questions about herself, about MRKH and how MRKH has affected her life. Here is what she had to say:
BYMRKH: Please explain your experience with having MRKH and how it’s affected you:
JS: I’m sure many women will back me up on this when I say that the teenage years were not the easiest. Being a teenage girl is hard! Your hormones are all over the place, you are developing into a woman, you are worrying about having friends in high school, getting good grades, fitting in, boys sometimes teasing you, etc. etc. One day you are going to school, trying to fit in and the next, you’re sitting in a doctor’s office getting the most earth shattering news, which you don’t really even understand. That’s how it was for me anyway. I was 15 years old when I was diagnosed with MRKH. I didn’t really understand what it meant at the time, all I knew was that my parents were devastated; I would never have a period (which was kind of cool) and that I wasn’t able to carry my own children (which wasn’t so cool). I only shared my experience with a few friends during high school because it made me different, and that’s the last thing I wanted at the time. It wasn’t until college that I started to open up about MRKH. I realized that being different was a good thing, and that MRKH is what makes me unique. I got a bit angry, actually. I did not want to hide it anymore, and was mad that I did for so long. For me, making it a secret made it a bigger deal than it actually was. The more I opened up and talked about it, the more at ease I felt with myself. And besides, having kids was many years down the road so I tried not to worry too much about it, and to just live life as it came. Surrogacy or adoption was still an option and whomever I married would love me enough to be fine with either decision. So, I went on with college, graduated, got a job at an advertising agency, went back to school to get my master’s degree and then randomly decided to enter the Miss Michigan USA pageant and ended up winning.
Through all my accomplishments I never let having MRKH, or any other struggle in my life bring me down, or keep me down. I just get mad at whatever or whoever tries to bring me down and then rise above it, conquer it and then smile and say “eat your heart out” J I think having MRKH help teach me that. It made me realize that things and people will always try and tear you down in life, but you have to dig deep within yourself and rise above it.
BYMRKH: Why are you choosing to bring awareness to MRKH?
JS: It took me a while to come to the decision to use my title to bring awareness to MRKH, simply because I’m putting something very personal out there for the world to know. But I knew I had to try and bring light to it because if I didn’t, I would regret it for the rest of my life. Sometimes the hardest things are the most rewarding, and this certainly has been the most enlightening and humbling experience of my life. When I started reading the girl’s stories on the BYMRKH website I knew I had to make this a priority during my year. I hope that by putting myself out there and showing the girls that I have MRKH that they realize how beautiful they are, that they are special in a good way, and that MRKH should not define or consume your life. I hope it shows girls that despite obstacles in life, you can always overcome and be successful – you are the only one in control of your life, always.
BYMRKH: Why did you choose to partner with BYMRKH during your year as Miss Michigan?
JS: I chose to partner with BYMRKH during my year as Miss Michigan, and for the rest of my life because they are committed to changing the way being diagnosed with MRKH is handled, and to help girls become aware that they are not alone. From age 15-24 I had never spoken to another person with MRKH, nor did i know they existed, it was very isolating. I hope that by partnering with BYMRKH, together we can eliminate the feeling of isolation to MRKH girls everywhere.
BYMRKH: Any advice you would give a girl who was recently diagnosed with MRKH?
JS: I know it’s hard, but try not to let having MRKH consume and define your life. There are so many wonderful things that this life has to offer. Don’t let negativity consume your mind. Concentrate on school, getting into college and keep thinking positively. You may not understand now, but everything happens for a reason, and things end up working out.
BYMRKH: Have you been surprised by anything you’ve learned, since joining the MRKH Support and Awareness group?
JS: I was surprised by how many MRKH women were living right in my area! Up until 6 months ago, I had never seen, spoken to or been exposed to anyone with MRKH. It was so nice to join the group and see that there are SO many women just like me.
BYMRKH:If you could have one wish for future generations with MRKH, what would it be?
JS: If I could change one thing for future generations with MRKH, it would be for recently diagnosed girls to not feel like they are 1 in 4,500. The feeling of isolation was the hardest part for me when I found out. I would want them to have a support system from day one and be exposed to women who have MRKH and are doing great things with their life so they could see that they will be okay and things will get better.
BYMRKH: In your spare time, what do you like to do?
JS: I don’t really have spare time right now. I work full-time so that takes up the most of my day, then I have grad school at night or an appearance or event. Weekends are usually for homework or Miss Michigan events. If I’m not doing one of those 3 things then I’m at the gym busting my butt to get ready for Miss USA. So I guess my spare time is spent at the gym 🙂
BYMRKH: Please tell us something that most people don’t know about you.
JS: Most people probably look at me and think I’ve been doing pageants my entire life. This isn’t true. The Miss Michigan pageant was my first one. When I told my parents I entered, it was so out of left field since I had never shown an interest in pageantry before. I am actually kind of a tom-boy. I played basketball for 7 years, volleyball for 4. I also played softball, track and swimming in school. I am very competitive and love what sports taught me growing up. I have to wear heels on stage, but I would take a pair of Nike running shoes over heels any day 🙂
Thank you for a great interview and our first blog post on The Empowerment of the Silent Sisterhood blog. BYMRKH wishes you the best of luck on your journey towards the MISS USA pageant!