But the reigning Miss Fayetteville is not intimidated by the competition, which includes several women with ties to the
"I feel like I've been building a toolbox for this pageant my entire life," said Naylor, an
Naylor, 21, has been on stage since the age of 5, when she took up dancing at her mother's studio in
With a bachelor's degree in hand, she feels confident in her ability to effectively communicate, a skill she considers essential to becoming Miss North Carolina.
The pageant is at
Here are four things you need to know about Naylor:
She's a brainy beauty
As a North Carolina Scholar, Naylor was a finalist for the prestigious Morehead-Cain and Park scholarships at the
After graduating from
Naylor, who graduated in May from
Naylor said she thinks it's important for Miss North Carolina to not only be book-smart but knowledgeable about what's going on around them.
"They need to know what's happening in their community and in their state," she said.
She lives her platform
"Alive or Thrive," which encourages people to discover what makes them passionate, is not just a platform for Naylor. It's a way of life.
"I live my life encouraging the people around me to find something that will motivate and fulfill them," she said.
For Naylor, it has been frustrating to see students graduate from college with skill sets but no zeal for their particular field.
"Without this passion, they are left to wander through the rest of life with a job that can only reward them financially," she said.
Naylor hopes to promote creativity and ingenuity among students.
"I plan on using the Miss North Carolina title to instill a burning passion inside of students and give them the instructions on how to nurse their passion into a sustainable profession," she said.
A heart of gold
Naylor founded "Project Princess," a dance program for underprivileged girls.
"It feels good to be able to give something to other people," she said. "For me, that means teaching dance."
Naylor said she is not only teaching the girls the right moves, she is instilling in them a sense of confidence.
Naylor is fluent in sign language and served as a coordinator during a 10-day service trip to the
She also makes it a point to save turtles from the sides of busy roadways, which is why about a dozen of them reside in her backyard.
She's got the moves
Naylor has been perfecting her moves for the talent portion of the competition since the Miss Fayetteville pageant wrapped up earlier this year.
She switched to a "fast, upbeat, energetic" song that will reflect the fun that goes hand-in-hand with tap dancing.
"Tap comes easy to me because I use it as a way to express myself," Naylor said.
She participated in a summer intensive with the Radio City Rockettes and hopes to try out for the team in the future.
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