Fabulous Friends Feature – Miss Maine USA Marina Gray

I had the honor of meeting Marina at the Miss Pink Pageant this year.  Marina radiates compassion and was so sweet and genuine that I instantly fell in love with her.  Don’t let the crown and gown fool you, Marina is tough as nails serving our country as a member of the Maine Army National Guard.  We are thrilled to feature Marina this week as she heads into the national Miss USA pageant on Monday May 21 which will be aired live on FOX.

Q: Where are you from? Where do you call home?

A: Trenton ME, but I call Mount Desert Island my home

Q: What do you do for “work”?

A: Director of Marketing for Hair Product Company, Sergeant in the Maine Army National Guard

Q: How long have you been doing this?

A: Marketing, 1 year, ARMY 5 years 8 months

Q: How did you get started?

A: Joined US ARMY for college education. Knew that higher education would help me with a public speaking career.

Q: What inspires and motivates you?

A: To inspire and motivate others

Q: What tips do you have for anyone looking to get into the same thing?

A: Everyone’s journey is different, once you find your passion you’ll find an abundance of opportunity to develop your passion.

Q: What distracts you from your goals? How do you overcome those distractions?

A: Over thinking is my biggest distraction. When I focus to much on HOW I am going achieve something I end up getting anxious and over thinking… this takes time and effort away from me doing progressive work to get things done. When this happens, I try to look at the overall picture and trust that hard work and time will bring me where I want to be, and faith of course.

Q: Do you have any daily routines or rituals that help you to be at your best?

A: Gratitude for those in my life and for my life in general. I write in a journal every day and call/ face-time or text those close to me. To me it is important to see every single day as a blessing.

Q: What are your non-negotiables in life? How has keeping these things a priority helped you to be successful?

A: Staying true to who I am is my biggest non-negotiable. My morals and work ethic are a huge part of who I am and I’ve always tried to do the right thing. Karma is real in my world, so I always try to do the right thing even when no one is looking.

Q: What do you like to do for fun?

A: I love going hiking and being out in nature. I am from Acadia National Park so I was raised in a very natural environment. I find that hiking is the best way for me to relieve anxiety and take a break from work and business.

Q: Do you have any pets? If so, tell us about them

A: My roommate has two cats, but I call them my pets too! Their names are Harry and Dexter. We have had them for two months so they are still learning the rules of the apartment but they are very cute and love to cuddle.

A: How can our followers find you (website, social media, etc)?

Q: Check out Miss Maine USA on facebook or instagram my personal accounts IG: @marinaagrayy or Facebook: Marina (Rosie) Gray

 

We are so pleased to feature an article written about Marina on the national army.mil website.  You can find the original article here

Defying the odds: Soldier goes from humble beginnings to Miss Maine USA, national advocate

By Sgt. Sarah Myrick March 6, 2018

Sgt. Marina Gray, a petroleum supply specialist with the Maine Army National Guard earned the title of Miss Maine, USA on November 26, 2017. Gray will go on to compete at the national level Miss USA pageant this summer for a chance to represent the United States in the Miss Universe pageant.
Sgt. Marina Gray, left, a petroleum supply specialist of the Maine Army National Guard's Forward Support Company, 133rd Engineer Battalion conducts sling load training with a UH 60L Blackhawk Helocopter as part of the company's annual training at Camp Dodge, Iowa September 9-22, 2017.
PORTLAND, Maine — Sgt. Marina Gray, a petroleum supply specialist with the Maine Army National Guard, earned the title of Miss Maine USA on November 26, 2017. Gray will go on to compete at the national level Miss USA pageant this summer for a chance to represent the United States in the Miss Universe pageant.

The Mount Desert Island native comes from humble beginnings, overcoming many challenges that she says helped shape her into the strong, independent woman she is today.

“I felt when I was younger that I wouldn’t be able to achieve what I wanted because I came from a low income family,” said Gray. “I didn’t think my life would be as fruitful as it has been, but I just kept fighting for a better life.”

Gray said above all she wants to give hope to children who grow up in situations like hers — that they can still go after what they want and should never feel like they can’t achieve their goals.

“I left home when I was 16 years old,” said Gray. “When I joined the Army at 17, the military immediately became my family and has supported me through the years.”

Gray became legally responsible for herself through the emancipation process and graduated from high school in just three years. She left for Army basic combat training two months after her 17th birthday.

“I definitely think the military helped shape me into the hard working, moral person that I am,” said Gray. “I’m thankful that I have the military in my life and everyone backing me.”

Gray has been in the Maine Army National Guard for five years. She spends one weekend a month with the 133rd Engineer Battalion’s Forward Support Company in Brunswick.

“Once I put my military uniform on, that is what takes precedence over my life,” said Gray. “I know that the military comes first and it always will.”

On a typical drill weekend, Gray and her fellow soldiers conduct bulk transfers for different units throughout the state, including dropping off anywhere from 200-1000 gallons of fuel to help support other units.

She also conducts truck maintenance, performs preventative maintenance checks and service on vehicles, conducts driver’s training and load handling system training, does flat rack loading and unloading, and participates convoy operations and battle drills.

“It’s a lot of hands-on work,” said Gray. “We’re normally out working on the vehicles and making sure they’re up to standard and making sure that everyone is proficient in driving them.”

Gray joined the National Guard to help pay for college. In addition to her military duties, she worked as a waitress while she attended the University of Maine in Orono. She balanced a full course load with both jobs and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications.

Gray was inspired to enter pageantry by Deshauna Barber, the 2016 Miss USA title holder who, at the time, was currently serving as a captain in the United States Army Reserve. Barber was the first Miss USA to actively serve in the United States military.

“Pageantry was never something I imagined myself doing, but I think this is going to take me exactly where I want to go with my career,” said Gray. “I’m super excited.”

Gray said there’s a lot of media interaction involved in pageantry and she’s excited about the networking opportunities she’ll have with the Miss Maine title.

She started prepping three months before the pageant and committed every single day to gaining experience walking in high heels and learning about stage hair and makeup.

“I’ve always been afraid that physical beauty can overtake who you are as a person and I now understand that’s not true,” said Gray. “You can be both. You can take charge of your beauty and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. You should never be ashamed of feeling beautiful.”

Gray said she received a lot of help from the other women competing with her. She discovered that many women competing in the pageant had overcome adversities of their own.

“It’s really worth it to get to know the women you’re competing with because they’re amazing,” said Gray. “The pageant system is a platform for them to share their stories and get other women to feel confident with who they are.”

Gray said she’s excited to compete on the USA stage and represent Maine.

“I’m thankful for the opportunity as a whole,” said Gray. “It’s honestly an amazing community of people.”

Gray said she’s excited to inspire other young women to join the military. They can still be as feminine as they want and not be afraid of what other people think. They should still go after whatever profession it is they want, even in a male-dominated career field.

“It’s been extremely overwhelming to have people tell me they are inspired by my story,” said Gray, “It’s motivating me to continue this journey of sharing and helping other people.”

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