“Just know that you are not alone… and that you are loved.” Rosemary Berg, the current Miss Alaska, shared her encouraging lessons in a recent episode of KNOM’s Story49. Rosemary shared her faith journey to overcome trials and hardship.
Rosemary is from Point Hope, population 700, located on the North Slope on a spit that juts into the Chukchi Sea. “My family raised me to have a deep connection to my cultural background.” Her heritage is African-American and Inupiaq.
Rosemary says she was the victim of a sexual assault during her college years and struggled with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. The assault had “impacted me mentally, emotionally, (and) physically,” she says, and ultimately threatened her life. Seeking counsel and support from her faith, family, and friends, she resolved to re-build her self-image and invited others to do the same.
Rosemary won the title of Miss WEIO (World Eskimo Indian Olympics), and later, Miss Alaska. Her pageant platform helps others. “Even Miss Alaska has struggled with depression… and PTSD,” she says. Sharing her personal pain is frightening and difficult, but doing so makes her stronger, and others are empowered and inspired to overcome the silence that can “eat you up.” Her message to others is simple: know that you are not alone, and know that you are loved. Keep asking for help until someone responds. “There’s a beauty and a warmth that are in the hearts of our people.” Miss Alaska is living proof.
Rosemary’s journey and her messages of faith, hope and resilience are featured in the second half of a recent episode of Story49.