By Jeff Louderback
On the surface, it appears that Jade Eilers has no inhibitions. In reality, the Centerville High School junior is a self-admitted introvert.
The same 16-year-old girl who was recently crowned Miss Ohio High School America 2020, frequently performs onstage in the theater, and serves as a nationally known advocate for teenagers to lead drug-free lives is most relaxed away from the spotlight. It’s a deep-rooted passion for inspiring fellow teens that draws Jade out of her comfort zone.
Jade is a highly visible figure behind BOLD & BRAVE (Building Our Lives Drug-free & Building Respect And Values for Everyone). Her drug-free activism has led her to share her testimony during the Ohio Youth Led Prevention Network’s “We are the Majority” rally at the Ohio Statehouse and address the United Nations (UN), among other honors.
“I haven’t seen my biological father since I was 3, because of his drug addiction. That is why I am so motivated and passionate about living a drug-free life,” Jade said. “Growing up, I felt like I wasn’t good enough; and I felt like cocaine was better than I was, because it took away my father. Both of my grandmas were lost to addiction too.”
As Jade explains, she decided to turn her pain into purpose when she was a freshman. She started making videos on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube that shared her story and encouraged teens to sign a pledge to live drug-free and treat others with kindness—hence the BOLD & BRAVE platform.
Her resume is extensive, especially for a high school student who will celebrate her 17th birthday on May 17. She shed 30 pounds after reshaping her health and wellness regimen, and was named Miss Ohio Teen International 2019. She is a student ambassador for the “Start Talking” program and features interviews and insight on her YouTube channel about a drug-free lifestyle.
Jade also partners with other drug prevention alliances, including the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids in New York City and the Foundation for a Drug-Free World, which led to her speech at the UN. Later this year she will return to the UN to receive the Gold Presidential Volunteer Service Award for her activism.
As a speaker with Steered Straight, Jade talks to teens nationwide about the dangers of vaping and other drug use. As Miss Ohio High School America 2020, she is magnifying her message through her Ted Talk, called “Goody Two Shoes.”
Jade has multiple years of dance training, acting and singing classes, including the Musical Theater/Acting Preparatory Program (MAPP) at Wright State University. She made her television commercial debut when she was cast as the lead in the Mead® Trapper Keeper “Bounce House” commercial. She even appeared in a movie, Respite Care, as the lead’s younger self. She acts with five accents (Jersey, Indian, British, Southern, and a cartoon voice).
Jade attributes that experience to helping her feel comfortable when she appears on video and in person to promote her BOLD & BRAVE initiative.
“I’m committed to teaching teens to respect and value themselves, by saying ‘no’ to substances without fear of being bullied or teased,” Jade said. “If I get one person to take the drug-free pledge and stick with it, I know I’ve made a different ripple effect in the world. If other people do the same, that can make a monumental impact in every community.”
For more information about Jade’s BOLD & BRAVE platform, visit www.jadeeilers.com.