CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – It was a surreal moment on stage in High Point last month.
“And then to hear your name, it was pure shaking, right?” she recalled.
Miss Uptown—Jordyn McKey of Charlotte—ran the gamut of emotions after winning the Miss North Carolina USA title.
“I showed up very raw; I showed up very emotional,” McKey said.
It was especially stunning because of the circumstances.
“Earlier that week, my boyfriend had been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor, which was a huge shock to all of us. I obviously, at that point, knew that I wasn’t going to be competing and that this wasn’t going to be something I’m doing this week because how could I?”
Her boyfriend’s tumor was the size of a baseball. Days before the pageant, he had brain surgery.
“He opened his eyes, looked at me, and said, ‘Why aren’t you in High Point?'” she said.
He urged her to chase her dream while he remained in the hospital in Charlotte.
“And I think this year I really showed up very candid. Like, ‘This is me, and this is what I’m going through, and this is what my week has looked like,” McKey said. “But there’s something so relatable in being so beautifully broken and being human.”
Video from her preliminary interview shows McKey speaking openly to the judging panel.
“My boyfriend earlier this week was diagnosed with a glioma—brain cancer—and had surgery 48 hours ago,” she explained.
“Oh wow,” a judge is heard saying.
“Yes,” McKey continued. “And I wouldn’t be in front of any of you today had he not told me to go to High Point 45 minutes after he woke out after brain surgery.”
“This is a heavy crown to bear, and I can bear that in the face of adversity as Miss North Carolina USA,” she boldly said to the judges. “I found out this week; I got it!”
“It was very difficult,” she said about the interview. “But I think that’s what made it relatable.”
That evening, tears of worry merged with tears of joy when she was crowned the winner.
Her boyfriend watched the live stream with his family. Afterward, he and Jordyn spoke via Facetime.
“You look amazing!” he said.
“I told him, you know this is all for you,” she remembered.
The crown is hers.
“I mean, I’m all about being transparent; it didn’t fit!” she said with a laugh. “Kind of an example of what my week looked like; it was topsy-turvy, so that’s okay!”
Earlier this month, McKey’s boyfriend had a second cancer surgery at Duke Cancer Center, where he’ll continue to receive treatment.
Winning was not exactly like she imagined, yet it was more than she had ever dreamed of.
“To get all the way to the end, to be the last one standing knowing that that was my circumstance that week—it’s God,” said McKey.