Nana Meriwether isn’t the typical girl you’d see walking down the street. Or is she? In a world where we see women juggling everything from entrepreneurship to motherhood, becoming earners of both pageant tiaras and doctorate degrees, it’s hard not to celebrate those who pride themselves on being able to wear so many different hats and Meriwether is truly an outstanding example of that. She reveals that, like many women in today’s society, she embodies the character of a true Renaissance woman.
While many know her as former Miss USA 2012, Meriwether has proven to be much more. She used her title as a platform that she says opened the doors for even greater opportunities. The former athlete and All-American volleyball player also used pageantry as a way to continue to fuel her competitive spirit after playing overseas in Puerto Rico and training for the Olympics.
Seeking a career in publishing, she went on to intern at Harper’s Bazaar magazine. She recognized that there was power in the press, and breaking into the fashion industry via a fashion magazine was her ticket. Meriwether humbly detailed how the fashion world can be very exclusive. Although she attended top universities such as the University of California, Los Angeles, University of Southern California, and Duke the beauty queen admits no one cared about that or her pageant title. She knew to get her foot in the door, she had to start from the bottom as an intern and work her way up. Meriwether now graces the offices of Harper’s Bazaar as the assistant to Glenda Bailey, the editor-in-chief of the posh magazine.
If working for a popular fashion magazine wasn’t enough, Meriwether is the editor of her own blog, City Lately. The online publication gives a real look into the lives of New York women. From art to fashion, Meriwether doesn’t settle for a shallow peek into a New Yorker’s life, but instead, gives in-depth information about how to approach art, things to talk about at dinner parties, and appropriate attire for New York City affairs. She hopes her blog becomes an infectious source for those who want to get a taste of the inspiring moments of New York.
So how did the life of pageantry and fashion begin for her? Well, after competing in her first pageant, she was crowned Miss Malibu and went on to compete for the Miss California USA crown six times before relocating and winning Miss Maryland USA 2012 right before aging out. She admits that it was a challenging road, which required hard work and great sacrifice, but she explained that it was not within her character to give up. “I’m not one to take no for an answer. It actually fuels me to try again.”
While Miss Maryland USA gave her the opportunity to compete on the national stage, she, unfortunately, became the first runner-up to former Miss Universe 2012, Olivia Culpo. Although she had a gut feeling that it wasn’t completely over, she still moved to New York to work at the Meriwether Foundation, her families non-profit. In 2007, she co-founded the Meriwether Foundation with her parents, an organization that focuses on education, nutrition, and development. She is the Director of Development and continued her duties even after she returned to the Miss Universe organization to be crowned Miss USA when Culpo took on her Miss Universe title. Some of the Meriwether Foundation’s success can be found in the many schools and clinics it opened up in South Africa as well as its expansion to five other countries around the world.
Yes, Meriwether does it all, and when asked how she juggles so many jobs she explained that it’s something that a lot of women are doing these days. “Never do just one thing,” is her advice to anyone taking notes on her. She also shares with us that young women should never have just one goal. “A lot of us are Renaissance women. A lot of us are lawyers, a lot of us are teachers. New York does that to you. You’re always inspired to do something bigger.” The soft-spoken yet vivacious young lady encourages women to always plan for the next thing and look to do more after accomplishing it.
Her impeccable journey and achievements, she tells us could not have been possible without her parents. Through her various professional and leisure activities, Meriwether built skills in time management and leadership and explains that throughout it all she felt empowered to do more. “Doing one thing can be short lived. So it’s important to always keep learning and preparing for the next chapter in your life.”
By Lisa Green | Photos: Courtesy of City Lately