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Love your selfie: Leadership program spreads self-love

The first attendee at Picayune’s Love Your Selfie Event on March 25 who took a selfie and posted it to Instagram first, while tagging the D.I.V.A. Collective, won a T-shirt from featured speaker Chrissy Miller.
The first attendee at Picayune’s Love Your Selfie Event on March 25 who took a selfie and posted it to Instagram first, while tagging the D.I.V.A. Collective, won a T-shirt from featured speaker Chrissy Miller. The Picayune Item File

“She is clothed in strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future,” reads Proverbs 31:25. It was Rotarian Christy Goss’ inspiration to organize an event to help young women to embrace their inner beauty.

The Love Your Selfie Event celebrated uniqueness and aimed to instill confidence in local young woman, Goss said.

Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Picayune and the Juniorette Diamond Club, it aimed to offer a leadership program for middle and high school girls.

On March 25, about 80 young women participated in the daylong program that featured state Sen. Angela Hill; Pearl River County’s 2017 Distinguished Young Woman Kamryn Clymer; Picayune Memorial High School Assistant Principal/Coach Kristi Mitchell; and Sav-A-Life Director Bonita Wynn.

Three area boutiques staged a fashion show directed by clothing store owner Ashley Breland, Goss said.

The featured speaker’s theme was self-esteem.

Chrissy Miller is the founder of The D.I.V.A. (Daughters of Integrity, Virtue and Accountability) Collective. She is also a music teacher and youth ministry director in Slidell, she said.

After some personal struggle, Miller said, she found a mentor in Cindy Collins, the executive director of the Crisis Pregnancy Help Center in Slidell.

Now, at 31, Miller is working to fulfill her dream of mentoring other young women in the community.

“God reminded me it was the perfect time because we don’t have to be perfect to help someone else,” she said.

She spoke about identity, destiny, values and experience.

“No matter how you came into this world, God has a plan for your life.”

As a child, she struggled with her father’s drug abuse, a dependency on food stamps and those around her telling her she would end up just like her father.

But Miller said she made a promise to herself that she wasn’t going to let her environment determine who she would be.

“I came to a point when I realized God loves me, and how you define me is not how I will be defined,” she said.

Being born into a certain set of circumstances should never limit someone’s dreams or ability to fulfill them, she said.

After deciding to study ministerial services and music at a college in Oklahoma, Miller said, life led her to one phase after the next, eventually managing a New Orleans Jazz orchestra and performing at Carnegie Hall. She’s now back in Slidell, where she hopes to open her own theater and music school.

“Performing at Carnegie Hall was not something I desired to do, but was one of those lagniappe things God blessed me with,” she said. “There’s no limit to what you can accomplish.”

Miller told the girls that ultimately, loving themselves, defining their own value and demonstrating that value to others is going to determine how they are treated.

“There’s a confidence that comes with knowing who you are,” she said. “Everything you need to be is already on the inside. You have the know-how, the capability and the passion — you just have to stir it up.”

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