DM: As the title of this article states, you were Miss LSU – USA. Take us back to 2009; are the memories still fresh?
Ainsley: Are the memories still fresh… yes… that was such a surreal moment in my life and still is. Just the other day I was sitting in Tiger stadium with my best friend and close to 100,000 screaming fans thinking, Ains, you stood in the middle of that field and had the opportunity to represent this university. I often have pinch-worthy moments like that when people just ask “Did you go to LSU?” I just smile and say, “Yes I did . . . I’m about as LSU as you can get.” And in those moments I can’t help but think, Lord, you have just been so good to me.
A couple of neat things about that opportunity (well there were a lot of neat things), but one was the fact that I actually had a really hard time initially at LSU. It was a big change for this only child, small Christian private school girl, who loved home on the bayou. I make mention of that because most think my time at LSU was all thrills, but there were a lot of tears for me the first few years in BTR [Baton Rouge], which is why Miss LSU was so special to me. My literal walk through Death Valley at LSU was such a depiction of the Lord’s victory in my life. He had never left my side and brought me from the lowest lows to sit me upon the heights for His glory.
The other really neat thing for me with Miss LSU was the fact that I was definitely the odd duck in that competition. I had no previous experience and initially thought it was more like running for student government . . . I knew absolutely nothing about pageants, but felt the Lord calling me to step out and participate. So I went into it with the hope of making great memories and giving my friends something to laugh about. Little did I know it would be a pivotal moment in my life. That night I had the opportunity to talk about my upbringing in the outdoors, my love for Louisiana, and share my faith in Jesus with 1,000-plus people. The memory of speaking to the crowd that night is one I will always cherish. I knew I was right where the Lord wanted me to be.
DM: The photo (above) of you wearing the Miss LSU sash while holding a whitetail buck is certainly an attention-grabber. You must have heard from some haters. How did you deal with them?
Ainsley: Haha, that was a fun hunt and certainly not something you see every day. I had a few opposing fans when that image circulated but hey, we’re the SEC . . . I would expect nothing less than a little friendly competitive banter. Haters not so much; I’ve been fortunate to not receive much backlash from the public when it comes to my growing up in the outdoors. I thank the Lord every day that he silences my enemies and makes the crooked places straight in my life. I am committed to remaining true to who I am because we are all created uniquely for a purpose. And while I’ll always stand up for the things I believe in, I will always strive to have an open arms policy even to those that don’t see life the same way I do. Haters can hate – in the end, kindness is what matters, and I’ve found the best way to silence the critics is to finish the task or strive to live out what you profess.
DM: You basically grew up in a duck blind and deer stand, correct?
Ainsley: I really feel like I had the best of both worlds growing up. I am an only child to wonderful parents who together saw an incredible opportunity to invest in me. My mom knew that my relationship with my dad would be something that would forever mark my life. She knew his love for the outdoors, and she was always encouraging me to go with him on any adventure afield or on the water. I feel like her part often gets left out when my story is told, but what an integral part she played. I’m forever grateful for her insight there.
So many of my morals, values, Godly principles and life lessons were learned with my dad in a duck blind or deer stand. He has set an outstanding example for me in so many areas of life, and I cherish the time we have gotten to spend together marveling at creation and, most importantly, standing in awe of our Creator. I’m so blessed to have a dad that took that time to invest in me, and equally as blessed to have a mom who said, “Ains, you can play with the boys and still be a lady.”
DM: In the About/Biography section on your Facebook page, you list “Disciple of Christ” first, then all of your work-related info later. This is quite intentional, correct?
Ainsley: Absolutely. For me it is all about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. John the Baptist perhaps said it best, “He must become greater, I must become less.” While I am far from perfect, I am so thankful to serve the One who is, and I strive to maintain that “I am second” mentality. You’re just never the same when you encounter the love of Jesus . . . you don’t see life, people, relationships, careers, etc. the same way when you realize the magnitude of His grace. That you are special. That the God of this universe knows your name and cares for you beyond measure. That he has a plan for you and for me. We are all so unworthy, yet still He loves us; how awesome is that?! How could I not put Disciple of Christ at the top of things listed about me?!
The word “Whose” has really been present in my heart and mind lately. I’m convinced when you know Whose you are, your identity is validated. You are no longer seeking to be defined by titles, opportunities, careers, etc. At the end of the day, none of that will matter. As one of my favorite songs says, “I don’t need my name in lights, I’m famous in my Father’s eyes. Make no mistake He knows my name. I’m not living for applause, I’m already so adored, it’s all His stage and He knows my name.”
I know without a doubt, every unbelievable opportunity that has come my way has been 100% the Lord. As a little girl I began praying “Here am I, Lord send me. Use me.” It’s a great feeling to get to answer the questions of “How did you get to do this or that” . . . my hope is that regardless of how glamorized an opportunity may appear, or if I’m behind the scenes in the trenches, my answer will always remain simple and true: The Lord.
DM: Tell us about your trip to Haiti.
Ainsley: Haiti (photo above) holds a very special place in my heart. One of my very best friends – probably my oldest best friend, we’ve been close since preschool – really has a heart and a calling to that country, and I’ve been blessed to spend some time with her over there. A few years ago during her time there, she fell in love with a tiny Haitian baby girl and went on to adopt her and step into motherhood on her own. I have great respect for my friend Jess and her willingness to answer whatever the Lord calls her to do, despite the world’s view of how life should be. She’s dedicated her life to making sure mothers receive proper care during childbirth so that children like her precious Phoebe Kate are not left as orphans. I love Haiti not only because of Jess and Phoebe, but the Lord revealed to me during my visit that there is freedom in surrender. The beautiful smiles on the faces of a people lacking so much forever marked my heart. We are so incredibly blessed. I will go back, sooner than later. Excitingly enough, Jess and Phoebe Kate will be moving back in 2017! Learn more about their story by clicking here.
DM: How did you get involved with Ducks Unlimited TV, and what is your favorite part of the job?
Ainsley: When I think about my role with DU, I think about God’s perfect plan for us. I can remember as a little girl, sitting on my papaw Beeman’s lap, flipping through DU magazines identifying different birds on the page with him. My dad was an avid duck hunter. I loved our black lab named Satch. I fell asleep more than once hearing dad tune a duck or goose call. I spent a considerable amount of time in a duck blind with him and his buddies as a very young girl. I learned about conservation and hunting that way.
As I pursued a career in medicine at LSU, I had what some would call a “come to Jesus” moment when I felt the Lord put upon my heart that I could indeed pursue a medical career and be successful, but it would never be what the Lord had called me to do. My trip to Haiti and participating in Miss LSU were key components to the Lord making my paths straight. I was terrified to let go and let God take control, but the second I did, He was faithful. He showed up in great and mighty ways . . . positioning me in the right place and in community with the right people. I can only assume that those people were able to learn a little more about who I am, my character, upbringing and knowledge of all things outdoors. Perhaps that’s why they felt confident enough to take a chance on me.
I was fortunate to get further exposure through Moose Media, Outdoor News Express, North American Hunter, Browning Trail Cameras, a few amazing blog opportunities from a mentor, and further exposure to the industry from my employers out of college. Despite what some may think, I have no inside connection whatsoever. Again, I’ve just surrendered to the Lord and His plan for my life. One of my favorite quotes says “If the Lord has called you, he will pick you and place you where no marketing plan of man can take you.” I truly believe that. I’ve seen it happen in my life, so when any opportunity presents itself, I’m committed to showing up early, working hard, always putting my best foot forward while being present in the now because I believe the Lord has placed me there for such a time as this.
You never know how long or short an opportunity may be. So often I find we are looking forward to the next step, but I think if we are present in the now while giving our best, the Lord will not only prepare us for the next step, but he will reward us both in the here and in our next season. For me right now that season is with Ducks Unlimited TV and Moose Media. DU is comprised of outstanding people, and my cameramen and producers are second to none. They’ve become more than coworkers, they are my friends and I am committed to giving my very best to the people who have given so much to me. All of that being said, the people, that is my favorite part. Everyone has a story, and a duck blind is the perfect setting to listen and learn as one shares their own. The greenies and orange feet aren’t so bad either, haha!
DM: You are co-owner of a full-service marketing company called Purposed Communications. Do you focus on clients in the outdoors?
Ainsley: That is correct. I am fortunate to co-own a business with my best friend, Margot. It was a dream that the Lord placed in both of our hearts, and it has been incredible to see how he has weaved the pieces of the puzzle together in order for it to be brought to fruition. Margot and I come from different backgrounds and career opportunities, but we share a passion for serving people and doing things in excellence. We have been blessed to provide services in various industries including the outdoor industry, and quite naturally that is an arena I pray we have the opportunity to expand in. Whether it be writing, editing, design, social media, email marketing, hosting video segments, etc. . . . you name it, if we feel as though you can benefit from a service our business provides, you can be confident we will deliver. Good intentions are easy; great execution is essential.
DM: Final question – If you could take part in only one more outdoor adventure, where would you go, what would you do, and who would join you?
Ainsley: One more trip, that’s easy – it would be a trip with my future children and my dad, maybe in a duck blind, deer stand or bass boat, but one where we got to come back home and tell my mom stories of the trip. While I’m not a wife or a mother yet, I so desire to be and allow my children to learn from my mom and dad. They have both instilled in me and poured so much love into my life; I pray that my future children will one day get to glean from them as well.
Author’s note: Be sure to watch Ducks Unlimited TV for free on CarbonTV! In the episode below, Ainsley Beeman kicks off the 18th season of DU TV with Wade Bourne, Zach Pederson and Field Hudnall. Ainsley is up first with her father, Scott, at Honey Brake Lodge in Louisiana.
P.S.: Check out the original “Women Who“ series on CarbonTV that explores a woman’s take on typically male-dominated pursuits. Whether it’s shooting, hunting or farming, these women make no apology for who they are and aim to inspire the same passion in others.