Pageant contestant advocates for the environment
Cover model Libby Hill, whose family lives in Galveston, is Miss Gulf Coast Earth 2019 and is vying for the Miss Earth USA title in an annual beauty pageant promoting environmental awareness. Hill, 27, will attend the competition June 30 in Las Vegas. If she wins, she’ll move onto the international competition.
Family: father Marc Hill; mother Jeffrey Hill; brother Ross Hill; and sister-in-law Safieh Hill
What are you studying and why? I have a Bachelor of Science in Human Biology from the University of Texas at Austin. After graduation, I worked in clinical research and recently have returned to my alma mater to pursue a second degree in dietetics with the goal of becoming a registered dietitian.
How and why did you got involved in Miss Gulf Coast Earth and Miss Earth USA? A recruiter for Miss Earth reached out to me after seeing me compete in another pageant and told me more about their pageant system. I was instantly sold on the concept of “beauties for a cause” and how platform-driven the system is.
What other pageants had you competed in? I competed at Miss Texas USA (Top 15) and Miss Utah USA (Top 3).
What motivated you and why is Miss Earth USA important to you? Miss Earth is important to me because it allows me to share my interest in coastal preservation and get my community involved in a more active way. Pageantry has taught me a new level of self-confidence, the skills to express myself, and provided the opportunity for introspection. I truly believe if you can make it through a pageant interview and a swimsuit walk, you’ll never be nervous for a job interview again.
Is the competition intense? Yes! The week is full of events from photo shoots to media interviews and long hours of rehearsals before preliminary and final competitions. The on-stage events include swimwear, evening gown and on-stage questions, but behind the scenes, we are judged on a longer interview, planning an environmental event, social media engagement and our commitment to community service.
Tell us about your connection to the Texas Gulf Coast? What do you love about it? My family lives in Galveston, and it’s one of my favorite places in the world. I feel so connected to the environment here. I can kayak in the bay, run on the beach and watch birds from the porch. My favorite part of Galveston is what a tight-knit community of neighbors we have and how supportive they have been of my pageant career. I’ve also had the opportunity to work closely with the Galveston Bay Foundation, replanting the marsh, doing trash pickup and educating our community about oyster gardening. They’re a great resource to anyone in Galveston looking to get involved in preservation.
Tell us about your community service. In addition to participating in coastal preservation events and being an oyster foster parent for the Galveston Bay Foundation, I designed a jewelry line called “Crystals for the Coast” with all proceeds benefiting Gulf Coast restoration. They’re available for purchase on www.everlastingchance.com/crystals-for-the-coast. I also volunteer with an incredible veteran-run organization in Austin called The Other 23, which uses wake surfing to build camaraderie between veterans and provide a support system at home.
If you could get one message across about the coastal environment, what would it be? Everything is connected and every little effort counts. The trash we generate inland finds its way into the ocean through storm sewers, the fossil fuels we burn worldwide contribute to ocean acidification and affect biological diversity. Even if you’re not living on the coast, your commitment to living a more sustainable life has a direct impact on its health.
What are your hobbies and extracurricular interests? Wake surfing, barre class, salsa dancing, volunteering and cooking.
What advice would you give other young women competing in pageants? Be confident in yourself and who you are. The women who succeed in pageantry are the ones who embrace their differences and lead with their beliefs and passions.
What’s your idea of a relaxing evening?
I love cooking. So, making a scratch meal to share with good company, followed by a nice long walk.
Your favorite food indulgence? Tacos!
If a movie were made about your life, who would you like to play you? Natalie Portman! She’s talented, smart and an incredible advocate for animals and human rights.
What’s your theme song? “Happy People” by Lori McKenna.
What book are you reading now? I’m in the middle of writing a research article, so most of my reading time lately has been dedicated to scientific journals. Not the most exciting content for some, but I love nutritional science, so it’s pleasure reading in a way.
What’s one thing people would be surprised to know about you? I’m a vegetarian and I can leg press over 600 pounds!
What do you consider your greatest achievement so far? I was working in neurological clinical trial research and decided to return to school in pursuit of a second degree in nutrition. It’s scary to make such a big pivot in life after settling into a certain career path, but as someone who struggled from an eating disorder, it was important to me to find a way to give back in a way I was passionate about. It’s never too late to make a change or follow your dreams.
Do you collect anything? I collect stones from all the places I visit.
Learn more about Hill and the pageant at instagram.com/@libbybhill