CARLY PEETERS Miss Teen credit Clay Spann

Most of us are lucky to have been born into this world with one superb skill set. We may play football, write music, take pictures or make a mean latte. Then there are those who seem to have been blessed with multiple disciplines in which to excel. So what is one to do when multiple hobbies become multiple passions? Well, that’s when you thrive and dive into your passions while creating a well-rounded world.
This month, Up & Coming sat down with the reigning Miss Teen International Carly Peeters. Carly, who is well known for being an international beauty, has recently made the move to become an international music sensation. She was kind enough to share some of the hopes, dreams, and motivations behind her music.

At what point does an actress and reigning Miss Teen International decide to make music?
Some people journal, I music.  I moved to Los Angeles from Hawaii for my music, but along the way made a detour into acting and pageantry.  But through it all, there is always my music.  I play piano, guitar, and use – some of it self-taught.  I can’t really get into journaling as much as my mom and my teachers would like me to; instead, when I’m feeling emotional especially in the middle of the night, I take my guitar and words just flow.  It’s like my release.  My journal book is actually filled with songs I’ve written.

Did you write Stuck On A Feeling by yourself or with a co-writer?
I wrote Stuck on a Feeling based on my experience, but I collaborated with some talented musicians to edit the words to fit into the structure and beat of this song.

Carly Peeters photo credit Austin Ryde I

How did the writing and producing process work for you?
I love the whole creative process.  We created the song in just a couple of hours and it was exhilarating.
Can you share a little about the song and the story behind it?
This song was inspired from when I was stuck on this high that you get from being in a relationship with someone.  Everyone has had that relationship that you’re so in love with the other person, even though you know it’s bad for you.  So even though all my friends were telling me it was a toxic relationship, I kept making excuses to stay in it.  I’m the kind of person who forgives and forgets easily, so when he did me wrong he would somehow talk his way out of it and I ended up staying with him because I was stuck on that high of the idea of the relationship. But even when I was writing the song, my focus was on the positive side of it which is that feeling of being in love that we all get addicted to.

Will you be hitting the road to tour and promote your music?
I have no plans to tour right now unless I get enough interest for the song, of course.
How does it feel to be Miss Teen International?
It feels great!! Being Miss Teen International has been an incredible journey but it has definitely been a big responsibility.

How did you become interested in pageants?
It was actually by accident.  I was responding to a casting call three years ago when I was quite new to acting.  We thought it was for an ad to get people to compete in the pageant, but it turned out it was a sponsorship to enter into the actual state pageant.  I found out only after I was selected and they gave me a crash course on pageantry and incredibly, I won the title of Miss Junior Teen California and placed in the top 16 in the Nationals.  I never thought I would ever be in pageants but that experience really opened my eyes to the incredible things that pageant girls do for their communities.  It is inspiring to know these girls who are passionate about service.
Do you feel different when you wear your crown and sash?
I do feel different, in the sense that I know I am scrutinized on everything when I am wearing my crown and sash – everything from what I’m wearing, my posture, walk, words, actions – they all matter
How many steps did it take to get to Miss Teen International?
Typically, three.  You compete for a regional title, then the state title, and then you go to the international competition where you compete with girls from other states and other countries.

Carly Peeters by Austin Ryde

Does being in a pageant require you to have a charity?
No pageant requires you to have a charity.  However, every pageant looks at how well-rounded you are, including what your platform is.  Having a platform means choosing an issue that matters to you which you want to impact as a titleholder.  It does not preclude you from working with all other charities that don’t fit your platform.
How did you get the idea to start a charity about literacy? How did the name come about?
I wrote a research paper in school on mediocrity and literacy and I found it mind-boggling that 1 in 4 kids in America grow up without learning to read, that 1 in 2 women in South and West Asia cannot read or write, and that 60% of all inmates, as well as 85% of juveniles awaiting trial, are functionally illiterate.  Literacy can solve problems with poverty, crime, and health; basically, every aspect of society is impacted by, literally, literacy.  That is how I came up with the name because literally, literacy is the answer to many things.  I started the charity because I decided that this is going to be my lifelong work and I wanted to be able to channel my efforts through one organization that would promote literacy here in the US as well as the rest of the world.

CARLY PETTERS by Taili Song Roth

What one word describes best describes you? What inspires you?
Optimistic.  People inspire me.  I just came back from a service trip to the Philippines where I stayed in this remote village called Sitio Lipata and no you won’t even find it on google maps.  From Manila it was an hour plane ride to Naga City, then a 2-hour car ride to Caramoan, a 15-minute trike to the port, a 2-hour outrigger boat ride to get near the town and a 45-minute hike into Sitio Lipata.   They had no electricity and I slept on a hard bamboo bed.  But the people there were so genuine and shared what they had.  It was a fishing village so they fed us their fresh catch. They were all so grateful and eager to learn, young and old.  You can’t put a dollar amount on that joy you feel looking at the gratitude in their eyes and knowing you made some impact there.
Who are your top three idols and why?
Alicia Keys, Angelina Jolie, Elon Musk.  Alicia Keys because she’s the real deal, incredibly talented and beautiful inside and out.
Angelina Jolie, I know she is a bit controversial and people either love her or hate her but I like the fact that she has a huge generous heart and she does not do things just for the benefit of social media which is the bane of my generation. Plus, I just watched Salt and hope she will not leave me hanging and actually make a sequel!
And Elon Musk because I am really a nerd and Elon has a brilliant mind.

What do you consider your biggest struggle?
I have so many interests and there are only so many hours in a day and so many days in a week.  My parents exposed me to a lot of activities as a kid to see what would stick.  Unfortunately (or fortunately), everything stuck which is why I sing, act, do pageants, compete in showjumping and do community service.  The struggle is real.

What advice do you have for kids and teens out there with dreams like yours?
Turn your cant’s into cans and your Dreams into plans.  Jay Shetty said that.  Your path is your own so don’t compare what you’re doing with someone else.  Not getting what you want, that win you’ve been working for, actually opens doors for you that you didn’t know was there so just keep trudging towards your dreams.  Your next step may just be that last step to get you there.

Tell me something your fans might not know about you?
– I love ramen and will drive miles to go to a good ramen place
– I also love poke and coming from Hawaii where they make real poke I am offended by all these places that sell poke because it gets me all excited and then I go and realize it’s not really poke
– I fall asleep in moving vehicles very quickly.  I went to London with a friend and she has videos of me sleeping everywhere we traveled – planes, buses, the underground – and it’s not pretty.  All my friends have travel-sleeping pictures of me.

What advice do you have for others pursuing your field?
Get focused.  Write your ultimate goal and when you are deciding whether to do something or not, hold it up to your goal and see if it will advance you towards it.
What’s Up & Coming?
I’m actually leaving in the middle of June to help build a school in Haiti.  After that, It’s off to college for me.

CARLY PEETERS photo credit Austin Ryde

To follow Carly on her exciting life journey:


Instagram:  @carlyonsugar
Facebook:  @carlyonsugar
Twitter:  @carlyonsugar
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