Now's Your Time To Shine

Jade Harris, Plus Teen USA, 2011-2012


Hello everyone! I am so excited to have been given this opportunity. To God Be the Glory! I would first like to extend my congratulations to my fellow Plus Teen USA contestants for all the hard work that they put forth. I wish you success in all of your future endeavors.

So…would you like to get to know who the real Jade Harris is? Let’s get started!

I was born in Orlando, Florida. The Sunshine State. Mom and I relocated back to her hometown of Clairton, Pennsylvania when I was about one year of age. Clairton is approximately a 35-minute drive from downtown Pittsburgh. They have an awesome high school football team. GO BEARS !  Yes, I am a Steelers fan all the way!  I am a senior attending Faith Christian School in Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania. I am the co-captain of the girl’s volleyball team. I have played the sport since the 5th grade and I absolutely love it!  GO FLAMES! After high school I will attend college and pursue a career in medicine.  I currently reside in Swissvale, Pennsylvania with my mom, my step-dad, Tim and my three younger brothers, Timothy, Matthew and Luke.

My brothers’ names being biblical names, I cannot help but be directed to another important aspect of who I am…and that is, a young lady of faith. I am a Christian who loves Jesus with all my heart. I actively serve in my church as the co-director of our youth choir and as vice president of our youth group. 

I want to share with you how I got started on this road to becoming Plus Teen USA 2011-2012.  I am actually a pretty shy person. My mom told me that I needed to work on my interviewing skills and my level of confidence when dealing with others up close and personal.  At that very moment the style network’s “Ruby” was showing the Plus Teen USA pageant.  Being the shy person that I am, I had absolutely no intention of doing a pageant, but mom talked me into it saying that “it was just what I needed” and I am so glad that she did. 

My platform is “Mentoring at-risk youth.”  I have always been concerned about the choices that many of my peers were making; choices that have not been in their best interest.  Having someone with whom you can talk and truly relate to your struggles can make a huge difference.  I am a youth mentor for both the Goodwill Good guides mentoring program of Southwest Pennsylvania and for The Shore Project on the Northside of Pittsburgh. I have had the pleasure of meeting some great young ladies and we always have a great time whenever we are together.

I realize that this title of Plus Teen USA carries with it a significant responsibility. There are many people who feel that a pageant such as this should not exist. They speak of the obesity rate among teens being at an all time high.  They are correct!  Obesity is at an all time high.  However, so is the rate of plus size teens that are being bullied, tortured and seemingly forced to take their own life because they feel that doing so is their only means of “escape”. They did not find that safe place that said, “We can help.” My job as Plus Teen USA is to educate the public that the pageant does not promote unhealthy habits of ANY kind. It promotes the fact that regardless of the size that an individual is they are WORTHY to be treated with respect, love and simply given the chance at opportunities that everyone else has. 

The pageant provides a venue where plus size teens can begin the process of reversing the mindset that they are “less-than.” It encourages an environment of fitness and healthy living in a non- threatening way.  Let’s face it my fellow teens, life is hard enough as it is. We do not need any additional hindrances. It will always be in our best interest to take care of our bodies and adopt a healthy lifestyle. Most of us will never be a size 2 nor should we want to be, if that is not how we were designed to be. God created each of us to be unique. “We are fearfully and wonderfully made.”   Therefore, we should desire to do what is best for our bodies, our health and our future. Lets make wise choices.

I wish those of you considering embarking on the road to the crown much success. Be courageous and bold with your ideas. Be confident in your ability and let all that you attempt to do truly be the best that you can do.

I ask for your support over the coming year through prayers.

In conclusion I would like to acknowledge some of the people who have poured into me all good things.


Timothy and Tiffany Jenkins- DAD and MOM

Arthur and Tammy Jamison- Dad and Step-mom

Millie Harris- Grandmother

Lessie Jamison- Grandmother

Dorothy Jenkins- Grandmother

Alaina Berkley- Best Friend

Marshayla Brown- Best Friend

Imani Motley- Best Friend

Hanna Reis- Best Friend

All of my Aunts, Uncles, friends and my church family