Dream Ambassador ‘Job’ For Oakdale Seventh Grader

Some might say Maya Baza is living a
“dream year.” In the day and age of celebrities, with adults and children alike
proclaiming living their “best life,” the Oakdale 12-year-old is well on her
way.

Maya, an Oakdale Junior High School seventh
grader, was named one of six winners earlier this year in a “Dream Big”
Competition hosted by Claire’s, a worldwide fashion jewelry and accessory
company.

“It was what your dream is when you grow
up and how would you achieve that dream,” Maya said of the online competition.

Participants submitted writings based on
a list of questions, as well as a video submission.

A total of six young women from
thousands of submissions were chosen, three from the United States and three
from the United Kingdom.

“My dream is to become a pastry chef,”
Maya said, recalling little of what she actually wrote in the spring, but much
of what transpired after learning she was a winner.

As reward for her submission and to kick
off her position as a Claire’s Brand Ambassador, Maya, along with her mother
Sarah Walther were flown to Los Angeles. The all-expense paid five day trip
included hotel and accommodations, shopping, fun with her fellow winners, as
well as photo shoots and the Claire’s Dream Big Awards.

“It was a private event at the Beverly
Hills Hotel,” Maya said of the awards event.

“They paid for everything,” mom Sarah shared
of the memorable experience with her daughter. “We didn’t spend a penny.”

“Claire’s also had a pajama party with
the six of us and three social media influencers,” Maya stated of spending time
with her fellow winners. The event doubled as a photo shoot, which may be used
at a later date for promotional graphics on the Claire’s Style Book website or
in stores.

In addition to being named a brand ambassador,
Maya was also asked to be a part of the Cybersmile Foundation collaborating to
prevent cyber bullying.

“I was chosen as one of the Dream Big
Ambassadors for the Cybersmile Foundation,” she said, noting that in her
writings/blog entries she encourages kids to speak up when bullied.

It’s not all work and no fun for the
seventh grader, however. She regularly receives packages of current merchandise
from the accessory retail store. Most recently one package contained a mermaid
costume and accompanying accessories. The request that came along with the
product … simple; bake up three original Halloween-themed cakes, write a blog
about her creations and submit to Claire’s with photos for the website.

As both a typical tween girl, as well as
a lover of all things baking, this hardly felt like work.

“I just really love baking a lot,” Maya
said of the recent assignment, as well as the cakes she created herself.

“My favorite thing to bake is triple
chocolate chunk cookies,” Maya shared.

That comes from a recipe she created
herself at the age of eight and has “tweeked” a few times. The recipe includes
semi sweet, white and milk chocolate chips. She and her mother further shared,
nothing is ever written down, but rather committed to memory.

Maya describes the overall experience as
both fun and rewarding.

Now with that support, some fun exposure
and a bright future ahead of her, the 12-year-old has her eyes set on pursuing
her dream.

“I would describe myself as determined,”
she said. “I’ve applied for the Kids Baking Championship Show two years in a
row now and I keep trying. I’ve been baking since I was four years old and by
five I was baking independently.”

Getting to bake as part of her
ambassador ‘job’ is truly icing on the cake.

“I feel happy about it,” she said of
being selected. “I feel really happy and I feel inspired to go achieve my
dream, because I know there’s so many people supporting me now. I also like it
because I’ve made some lifelong friends that I’m best friends with now.”

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