Since she was crowned Miss Florida Seminole in July, Destiny Nunez has appeared at 11 events in Florida and Oklahoma. Representing the Tribe is part of her responsibilities, as is vying for Miss Indian World during the Gathering of Nations Pow-Wow in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The April competition will feature contestants from throughout Indian Country who will be judged on tribal knowledge, public speaking, dance, traditional talent and personal interviews. To prepare, Nunez has been training with an experienced pageant coach since November.
“I’m more confident, there is no shakiness in my voice and I don’t get as nervous as I used to,” Nunez said. “I’ve learned to manage my nerves and gotten progressively better.”
One of Nunez’s biggest events to date was speaking to about 50 fourth-graders and teachers at a Fort Pierce school. Nunez said she would not have spoken so well without help from her coach, Jules Meyer.
Meyer, of PR Pageant Coaches, leads a team of experts who advise contestants and teach techniques necessary to command the pageant stage, which include interviewing skills, stage presence and public speaking. Meyer said Nunez can use the skills for the rest of her life.
“I’m so proud of Destiny, she’s been working hard,” Meyer said. “Every day she is getting stronger and becoming the best version of herself, which is what this is all about.”
During a Jan. 24 coaching session, Meyer’s team worked with Nunez on her onstage walk, one-on-one interview and talent presentation. At the end of the day, a mock panel of judges asked Nunez questions under pressure.
Nunez is the first Miss Florida Seminole to receive coaching prior to Miss Indian World, a decision Council made to help prepare her for the competition.
“They wanted to build up her confidence and speaking abilities,” said Wanda Bowers, Miss Florida Seminole Pageant Committee chairwoman. “Hopefully we will send her all polished, and she will be prepared. It’s a big contest and is intimidating, so this year we are helping her.”
By the time she joins other Miss Indian World hopefuls in New Mexico, Nunez will know exactly what to say and do so eloquently. Meyer has been working with her on storytelling skills, which will be her talent for the pageant.
“There is storytelling and there is a way you can impact people with your words,” Meyer said. “She will do that if she is passionate about it and can deliver it from her heart.”
Nunez said her confidence has spilled over into other areas of her life, including at the University of Central Florida where she is a junior majoring in education. She said she would have dropped out of a speech class if not for the coaching.
“I would have taken something else, so I wouldn’t have to speak to everyone,” Nunez said. “Instead, I have the confidence to give it a shot. I realize I am able to stand up in front of people and talk to them, converse one on one and not shy away. This is helping me in my life every day.”
Meyer felt confident she would see positive changes in Nunez. When she first met Nunez at the Princess Pageant in July, Meyer said she saw a young lady with incredible potential.
“She is taking so much initiative in the community,” Meyer said. “The only way to get stronger is by doing these public events and telling people who you are and what you represent.”
Meyer said she teaches personal growth; she shows her clients how to be their personal best.
“Winning is all about believing you can win,” she said. “The more she embraces the journey, the more she loves it. I want her to know I’m on team Destiny.”