‘My Steps Are Sure’: Miss Florida Talks Faith, Overcoming Bullying, and Living for a Higher Purpose

Ashley Cariño may be a model and a reigning beauty pageant queen, but she tells CBN’s the PrayerLink life isn’t just about beauty and pageantry. It’s about serving God, overcoming challenges, and living for a higher purpose.
“I was raised in the church, she told the PrayerLink. “For me, God has always been my stepping stone. Religion and faith have been an important part of my life and I know I am not where I am today if it wasn’t for Him.”

The 27-year-old was crowned Miss Florida earlier this year and was the second runner-up in the Miss USA competition, a few weeks ago. 

“I want to thank God for all He has done for me, for His unconditional love and outpour of blessings because of Him wherever I go my steps are sure; I don’t need sight because I walk by faith,” Cariño wrote on Instagram

Ashley explained that when she entered the Miss Florida competition she didn’t pray to win, but simply asked the Lord for more opportunities. 

Cariño said it was a prayer God answered. 

“God has opened doors to so many opportunities,” she shared. “It’s just been a whirlwind.”

The road to becoming Miss Florida has not been easy for the Puerto Rico native.

Ashley suffered from scoliosis in her childhood and had to wear a back brace during middle and high school to correct it. She endured teasing and bullying but said it was her parent’s support and love that helped her during that tough time. 

“I experienced emotional abuse, to name-calling, to pushing and it escalated to physical abuse,” she said during a press conference. “But what helped me is the support of my parents… that they didn’t chuck it up to simply child’s play. The reality is that bullying can have serious effects.”

Ashley is now using her platform to address bullying in all of its forms. She recently joined with Osceola County School district to implement an anti-bullying campaign. 

“Not every child has the same coping mechanism. So it is important that as parents and as teachers we don’t just consider this child’s play or a rite of passage,” she explained. “At our school systems, we will have zero tolerance for bullying.”

Ashley also uses her platform to instill confidence in other women. 

“Pageantry is the opposite of what we think,” he shared. “[It’s about] stepping on stage and knowing how beautiful you are no matter what you look like and knowing how powerful you are as a woman. And that’s the message that I want to come across, the beauty and power that women hold.”

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