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Hanley House Journey from Cleveland to Miss America's Teen
Episode 2415th April 2024 • Best of Johnston County • Jonathan Breeden
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Join us on The Best of Johnston County podcast as we dive into the inspiring journey of Miss America's Teen, Hanley House. From her roots in the Cleveland community to capturing one of the most coveted titles, Hanley shares her heartfelt story and the challenges and triumphs along the way. 

Discover how dedication, community support, and embracing every opportunity can lead to unexpected and life-changing paths. Whether you're a longtime resident or just love uplifting stories, this episode promises insights and inspiration. 

Tune in, be inspired, and explore the beauty of growth and community spirit.


Jonathan Breeden: [:

Hanley House: One thing that I found that was actually really fascinating was the interview portion of it all. Learning so many fun facts about the greatest nation that we live in. And then of course, learning so many things about North Carolina was so fascinating to me.

And it made the process go by so much easier because I knew that if I didn't win, I'm getting all of these interview skills out of it so that one day I can walk in for a job and feel confident in my interview skills, knowing that the Miss America opportunity has prepared me for this job.

So I knew something was coming out of it no matter what, win or lose. And that was definitely the best part for me.

n a journey through the area [:

Jonathan Breeden: Hello and welcome to another episode of the Best of Johnston County podcast. I'm your host, Jonathan Breeden, and today we have a special guest, Miss America's Teen Hanley House.

She has recently been crowned that, down in Florida. And we're gonna talk about how you go from growing up in the Cleveland community to Miss America's Teen. And it's a fascinating story. I think you will find it as enlightening and as enjoyable as I have gotten to learn it. And so that's what we're gonna talk about here today.


Hanley House: So nice to be here today. I cannot wait to tell you all about my journey. All about my story. It's gonna be so fun.

Jonathan Breeden: Cool! We'll start with, I guess, we always start biographical, normally we have business people and they went to college here and they moved here. But I think, you were,

u were born and raised right [:

Hanley House: I was born and raised right here in Johnston County. I am Cleveland girl. I've attended Cleveland Elementary School, Cleveland Middle School. I go to Cleveland High School now, and I'm duly enrolled at Wake Tech Community College, getting my college credits.

ollege Board of Trustees from:

es there. Getting my Spanish [:

And so, just really focusing on my education, but co-partnering with the Miss America opportunity as well.

Jonathan Breeden: Well, that's cool. Yeah You know it's, interesting when you say English one-eleven and English one-twelve. You know, now that all these classes directly transfer. Those were the same two Englishes I took at NC State 30 years ago. what,

I mean it's like, it's like I remember English one-eleven, you had to write a persuasion and you had to write an argument and all that stuff.


we have a friend here in the C-community who teaches those classes at Wake Tech. And it's fun to talk to her because it's the same basic syllabus with the same course numbers 30 years later. It's like deja vu.

So anyway, so how many hours of college credit do you think you'll end up with?

You're only a junior by the time this is done.

Hanley House: I am a [:

So I am literally like, I wear sweatshirt, I put my hood on at school, I'm like, nobody look at me, and now everybody's oh,

oh. you're not hiding from us anymore.

ca tomorrow, you would never [:

Jonathan Breeden: you never, You never do. So anyway, when did you decide, or when did you start in the pageant business? Some people start when they're four or five, some people start when they're 15. When did you start?

Hanley House: Well, I would have to say I've always enjoyed watching toddlers and tiaras but pageants have never been my thing.

They've just never been my thing. I've never really found an interest in them. But seeing the Miss Cleveland High School pageant and seeing all of the former Miss Cleveland high schools being able to represent our great school in such a way.

I don't play a sport, I dance 17 hours a week. And so, I stay at the dance studio, I don't have time to play a sport other than I was a volleyball manager my freshman year. And so that was a really fun opportunity. But other than that, I really haven't been able to get really involved in school that way.

Cleveland High School, and I [:

I was like, what if I, thought about it over and over again. I was like, what happens? What will happen? I can't even win my high school project. How am I gonna win a prelim to Miss North Carolina? And I just prayed about it a lot and I have everything. I prepared so much, let's just do it, let's go out on another limb.

th of:

I knew

that that meant I was gonna have to go to Miss America's Teen.

And one of my thinking in my head, I'm like, oh my goodness. I didn't win my high school pageant, and here I am competing for Miss America. So it's definitely a full circle moment in such a way. And coming from a girl that hasn't been able, hasn't done pageants, but hasn't had somebody telling her how to walk her whole entire life, how to look a certain way, how to stand a certain way, in front of a pond.

So a pond is literally in our backyard, in our neighborhood. And I grew up going fishing in that pond, literally getting my hands in the mud in that pond. That's just been my life, I've spent it at the studio or I've spent it outside at my house basically.

And so, I would never would've thought I would be in pageants, but here I am. And so, I prepared for six months and I won Miss America's teen.

ust maybe a year ago, a year [:

I mean that's, absolutely crazy that

you can, you can go from having not done it to winning a national competition. But that's the thing, you have talent and you do it right, you don't have to do it forever.

he famous The famous thing is Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player to ever to live was cut from his high school basketball team.

Hanley House: I think me and Michael Jordan's story are a lot alike. I like to say, I have a Michael Jordan story, so

Jonathan Breeden: Yeah, he, he is interested if he'd had just gone to NC State and not Chapel Hill.

But anyway, that's another story. But anyway, Chapel Hill? I don't know. Me in NC State graduate, it's tough, but anyway. sort of

a fast rise.

So what were some of the things that you had to do to prepare either for Miss North Carolina teen or for Miss America's Teen?

live in. And then of course, [:

And it made the process go by so much easier because I knew that if I didn't win, I'm getting all of these interview skills out of it so that one day I can walk in for a job and feel confident in my interview skills, knowing that the Miss America opportunity has prepared me for this job.

So I knew something was coming out of it no matter what, win or lose. And that was definitely the best part for me. Just being able to and then also seeing my parents find it so cool that I'm 16 years old and I go into mock interviews every single night at 10 o'clock preparing for Miss America.

And so, when I won, the long nights, the early mornings, it was all worth it. I say, the blood, sweat, and tears just because there was so much work that was put into it and it just felt like it was all worth it.

Jonathan Breeden: Right! So who were some of the people that helped coach you through these mock interviews and what to do that helped you get ready?

y House: Okay. So definitely [:

Coming from a literal girl that just competed from her high school pageant and here I am. I've never done it before, I'm clueless and I'm going to Miss America. And that look was shown on my face many times. They many could see the fear in my eyes, but they could also see how much I loved it and how much fun that I was having, and they never stopped believing in me.

Jonathan Breeden: So what was your, all pageants, I guess contestants a platform, what was yours?

schools in the country. And [:

So like extracurricular activities do, they' re a costly thing. And this meant that if I wanted to pursue my dreams, I would have to help pay for it. So, I created a small business that gave me so much more than just a monetary return.

I learned so many real world skills that I soon learned that many teens lack today. Community reinvestment, brand marketing, financial management, all real world skills that are preparing me to be a business owner one day.

Jonathan Breeden: Right. So what did your business do? And I know you started a business. What all did it do?

Hanley House: Yes. Okay, so it's called Two Little Blondes. Um,

I could start selling these [:

So I created a business out of it and I started making like little girls matching birthday party shirts, matching pajamas like water bottles with monograms on it, labels simple things like that.

Jonathan Breeden: That's cold. Do you still have that business?

Hanley House: I

Will have to say it's on a pause right now.

I'm a very busy girl and so I cannot, unfortunately, I can't do everything at once. But I have to actually wanna be a business owner when I grow up. I wanna own my own business and interior design with a side of architecture. I hope to open up my own business. Maybe I could open up Two Little Blondes back again. Um, So prepare me.

Jonathan Breeden: That could be, and your sister could go in business with you when it's all said and done.

Hanley House: Actually, I don't know, Uh, she'd be like, "Girl, no, I'm not doing that."

Jonathan Breeden: That's funny.

ice, resources, or to book a [:

Jonathan Breeden: So,

um, what were some of your other, goals here as Miss America's Teen over the next 12 months?

Hanley House: For sure, we do have many sponsors and I hope to visit all of our sponsors, and give them, highlight them as much as I can. That's a big goal that I have, as well as growing the following for the Miss America's Teen social media.

So if you guys wanna go follow Miss America'sTeen on Instagram, and Facebook, and TikTok, all of our social medias.

And that's a big goal for me is just to keep growing that social media platform, just to get people to know about Miss America again. That was such a big thing and it was lost throughout the years, but now it's back and I cannot wait to continue rebuilding the Miss America brand.

And then also, traveling so much, I can't wait to see the world. I feel like growing up in Johnston County has been great. Do not get me wrong, but I can't wait to see the world.

than Breeden: The world is a [:

And the one thing you will learn and I've been fortunate, I don't know how many countries I've been in, but I've been in a lot and is that people are people. And they are genuinely good people all over this world and some may not have as much as others, but they're all kind and most will give you the shirt off their back. And I've been in third world country, second world countries and I think you'll find that.

And the more you travel around the world, I think you'll see just how good human beings just are in general. There are some bad apples, but in general, human beings and citizens all over the world are great people and I think you'll really enjoy it.

e world over the years. It's [:

So, what were when you're in the pageant? I don't know, what are the different competitions within it? Is there talent? And I don't know how this works.

Hanley House: Yeah, so there's different phases of competition.

In the Miss America Organization, we have talent, which is a huge portion, we have interview, we have fitness, and we have evening gown. And so, these all play into the overall score in the Miss America opportunity.

There's such thing as Miss America Fit, and that's where the fitness comes into play. Having a fit lifestyle is very important, this doesn't mean just physically fit, it also means mentally fit and having a healthy body is really important.

You can't do the job, you can't get up every single day if you're not healthy. And you can't be ready to work if you're not healthy and you're not in it for the right reasons.

nization, and then of course [:

Jonathan Breeden: That's a lot. That's a lot of dancing.

What do you believe you have learned? you Different people have different opinions on pageants. You are new to the pageant scene, very new, but now you won a major,


What do you believe you have learned from it and why would you encourage other people to go into it? If you would.

I, I don't know if you would. I'm assuming that.

Hanley House: Of course. There is the stereotypical pageants all is only about the way you look, and that could not be furthest from the truth. That is not the truth at all, and being in a part of pageants, I've learned that for myself.

, how to look a certain way. [:

I've earned so much scholarship money over the past year being a part of the Miss America opportunity. I have $76,000 to go to school, and that's something that has made an everlasting impact on mine and my family's lives. And we are so grateful for those scholarship funds.

And that's just another reason why it is just not about the way you look, it's really about the interview skills. It's about the talent, and I've made so many friends during the whole entire process from being at Miss North Carolina and making forty-one other friends going to Miss America and making fifty other friends is crazy.

Jonathan Breeden: Right. So, you have a positive look on it. You're brand new at it, but it's a positive view, that's awesome.

Well, let's talk a little bit about Johnston County.

What are some of your uh, favorite restaurants?

ounty, I could talk about it [:

But my favorite part? I love the restaurants, Redneck BBQ Lab has my heart, I love the Ugly Mug. I take all my friends when my friends are in town, I always take them to the Ugly Mug.

And I love the people here, the community is a huge part of where I am today. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for the Johnston County community rallying around me, non-stop. I just wouldn't be where I am.

Jonathan Breeden: What is some places? I like Redneck Barbecue Lab. As well at Exit Three-Nineteam, Ugly Mug, Jeremy, and those guys are great there.

I enjoy going to the Clubhouse, which is right there as well.

Hanley House: Yeah. Love the clubhouse.

Jonathan Breeden: Yeah. And of course now, Clayton is gonna get an Outback Steakhouse and a Popeye's Chicken on L.A 70. Right next to Gold's Gym.

So more and more things are coming. There's gonna be a mellow Mushroom and Flowers Plantation. They're building that as well as another Biscuitville out forty-two East on that side of Johnson County. Lots of stuff.

Have you had a chance to go to the North State Food Hall in Selma yet?

Hanley House: I have not.

Jonathan Breeden: Yeah, there's a lot of good vendors in there too.

So, I would encourage you to stop by there.

Hanley House: I'll have to [:

So that's, I can't wait to go home and tell my family about that.

Jonathan Breeden: Right. There's a ton of great new restaurants coming here. What are some other things you like to do around Johnston County?

Hanley House: Oh my gosh. I love hanging out with my friends. Whenever I get the chance, my friends always text me. They're like, Hanley, can you hang out? Hanley, we miss you so much. And I miss them so much. I miss hanging out with them every single day.

But being on the job, I do stay very busy, but my friends will always have a special place in my heart.

Jonathan Breeden: Right. Are there any um. parks or businesses that you visit?

Hanley House: Okay. Broadmoor Recreation. I love going to the pool. It's right across the street from where I live.

Jonathan Breeden: Right.

Hanley House: And I'm a pickleball girl. I love playing pickleball. My Um, friends would not tell you that I'm very good at it, but I love to play, I think it's so fun.

And playing pickleball has always been so fun for me and my friends, so that's definitely something I love to play.

Jonathan Breeden: Oh, that's awesome.

So, [:

Hanley House: So you can find my Instagram, which is Miss America's Teen, just on Instagram. have a pretty big following right now, but like I said, I would love to continue growing our following. So if you all could go follow our Instagram, that would be fantastic.

you wanna follow my personal page, it's Hanley_House on Instagram as well, and Facebook. And so, those are the main platforms and then there's also TikTok as well.

It has some fun videos and things that you can learn more about the Miss America Opportunity if you are looking to compete in a local prelim and just get started like I did.

Jonathan Breeden: That's cool. And what does Miss America, they have something to do with American Heart Association. What are some of their philanthropic, I can't say it. Uh,

But I thought it was the American Heart Association, but I could be wrong.

Hanley House: Oh, yes. So the Miss America Opportunity, it's not called organization anymore.

we have a new CEO and so all [:

But just being able to where the American Heart Association motto across our chest at all times, sharing that heart disease and stroke are the number one cause right now for cause of death for women today.

And so, being able to just spread awareness for that and make sure that you know you're paying attention to your body, paying attention to your heart, and always doing the right things to keep yourself healthy.

Jonathan Breeden: Cool! Well, thanks a lot.

Hanley House: Of course.

Jonathan Breeden: Um, I guess the last question we always ask everybody is, what do you love most about Johnston County?

Hanley House: Oh, I think I said this already, but the people.

The people have always had a very special place in my heart and I cannot wait to continue making Johnston County proud.

n: Uh, well That is the most [:

Hanley House: Of course.

Jonathan Breeden: Cool! Well, we would like to thank Hanley House for coming on to the best of Johnson County Podcast.

Hanley House: Thank you.

Jonathan Breeden: If this is your first time watching or listening to this podcast, if you would do us a favor of liking, follow, or subscribing to this podcast and wherever you're seeing it, whether it be on Apple Podcast, Spotify, YouTube, or you're watching any of our many clips that we put out on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook so that you'll be aware of future episodes of the best of Johnson County Podcast.

If you would also be kind enough to give us a five star review down at the bottom, wherever you're seeing this podcast, that helps with our visibility so other people will learn about the best of Johnston County Podcast. We have new episodes that come out every Monday.

ad. We've had Representative [:

Talking about why they love Johnston County. We had Adrienne O'Neill, the Johnston County Parks and Rec Director talking about the new park and the Cleveland community and the mountains to the sea trail.

All of these can be found at the same place you found this podcast. And you can learn more about Johnston County and why I and Hanley love Johnston County so much.

Until next time. I'm Jonathan Breeden, your host.

That's the end of today's episode of Best of Johnston County, a show brought to you by the trusted team at Breeden Law Office. We thank you for joining us today and we look forward to sharing more interesting facets of this community next week. Every story, every viewpoint adds another thread to the rich tapestry of Johnston County.

corner at www. breedenfirm. [:





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