Get to know Madeline Powell - Distinguished Young Woman of Alabama 2014

Name: Madeline Powell    
Age: 18
Hometown: Birmingham, AL
College: University of Alabama
Major: Biology, Pre-Med


What is your favorite food? I love anything chocolate that will satisfy my enormous sweet tooth.
What is your favorite TV Show? Grey’s Anatomy is my current addiction. I’ve started re-watching the entire series on Netflix, and that occupies a lot of my free time.
What is your favorite Olympic Sport? I get so excited to watch Olympic Gymnastics. The amazing physical feats these girls perform are so fascinating to watch, and I love getting into it with my family.
What is the current #1 most played song on your iPod? “No Good in Goodbye” by The Script, which is my favorite band by the way!
What is your favorite time of year? Always Autumn! Leaves changing, cooler weather, scarves and boots season all make for a very happy and content Madeline.


Plan Ahead or Procrastinate? I feel a small amount of shame to admit that I am much more likely to procrastinate, but as I’ve entered college, I need to plan my assignments more often. Even so, I always plan to procrastinate.


Paper or Plastic? Paper…I guess.


Glass half-full or half empty? Always half full. I’m a strong believer that “happiness is in the heart, not in the circumstances.”


Introvert or Extrovert? I’m a solid mixture in between! I need to be around my friends, and I love meeting new people, but I also need plenty of my alone time.


Cats or Dogs? Dogs!! I have a doggy named Beau, and my brother has two labrodoodles that I claim as my own, Calvin and Ralph. I love them so much, and they never fail to make my life happier.


Morning Person or Night Person? I’m always a night person, and it takes a fair amount of effort and several alarms to get me up in the morning.


If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three things would you absolutely need for survival? If I were trapped on a desert island, I would bring my sister (if I could count her as a thing), my phone, and a lifetime supply of Quest bars. I would need my sister for emotional support and because she usually makes wherever I am a much happier place. I would need my phone hopefully to call for help but mostly because it holds all my music, and I could amuse myself for days singing and dancing along to the music on my phone. The quest bars are to eat, of course. They’re strangely addicting protein bars that are delicious but still mostly healthy for you.
What would we find in your refrigerator right now? If you were to check my tiny refrigerator, you would find a strawberry yogurt, three cookies & cream Hershey bars, and what little is left of a bag of dove chocolates. I already mentioned my sweet tooth, and the chocolate is for my random treats and/or cravings. I eat one piece about every day as a treat, and I love it! You would also find my lovely roommate Giulia’s three bottles of orange juice and one Dr. Pepper. We don’t eat meals in our dorm room, so we don’t keep much food there.
If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional, with whom would it be? If I could trade places with any one person, it would have to be Tanya Burr. Most of you have probably never heard of her, but she is a British beauty blogger and YouTuber. I’ve followed her blogs and videos for a very long time, and her presence has allowed her to sit front row at London Fashion Week, be featured in a campaign for Mulberry, and start her own make-up line. I find her life fascinating and totally different from mine, so I would love to get to experience her world for a day.


What is the one thing you wish someone had told you about college life that you had to find out on your own? One thing I wish someone had told me about college life that I had to find out on my own is that college is not always fun. Placing yourself in an entirely new environment is a large adjustment for any person. Emotionally it takes a toll on a person, and that’s okay. It’s okay to feel lonely, stressed, or homesick, and everybody does to some degree. All of these emotions are a normal part of adjusting to a new life, but the fun parts will always outweigh the not so fun parts in the end.
Sum yourself up in three words. I’m going to give three words to describe myself, but I don’t want to give any explanation. I think it’s fun to let the words speak for themselves.
determined, curious, and compassionate


Describe your single-most favorite moment from your Distinguished Young Women experience. Distinguished Young Woman was a bit of a stretch for me as it was outside of my comfort zone, but it was also simultaneously the perfect program for the young woman that I am. I had never danced alone on stage before my local program. I have been performing all of my life in recitals and dance team competitions but never by myself. Needless to say, I was nervous about performing my talent. I picked out the song and had my favorite dance teacher choreograph the piece in plenty of time so that I had ample time to practice and perfect my talent. However, the very first time I performed my dance for judges, I fell. I fell hard and flat on my bottom. Whether it was the too bright spotlight, the bad surface I was dancing on, or simply my mistake, I was on the floor. alone. on stage. It’s all a blur for me what happened from that point until I walked off the stage. I remember thinking, “I have got to stand up off this stage! I have got to get back up!” I remember rolling on the ground, fanning my legs and standing up like an Olympic gymnast who just nailed her vault with both arms in the air. No part of what I did was choreographed; I just did whatever popped into my head at that moment of panic.
I ran off stage into the arms of my best friend just knowing I had ruined any chance I had of fulfilling my dream to become a Distinguished Young Woman. As that night went on, I had newfound determination as I competed in the other phases of competition.  I realized that night that I was mostly mad because I wanted to prove to myself that I could complete a solo dance. I resolved that I only wanted a second chance in the finals to perform my talent, but only to prove to myself that I could do it. To prove to myself that I could stand on my own and more importantly, stand back up when I had fallen. I got my second chance the next night, and while I still had a few mistakes, I finished without anything major. Later that night, I was named the Distinguished Young Woman of Shelby County in Alabama. I had proven to myself that I could over come the obstacles, and believe it or not, this was not the greatest unforeseen obstacle in my Distinguished Young Woman experience. I had a unique Distinguished Young Woman experience that I could not be more thankful for, and hopefully I can share all of that experience here!

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