From July 16th-23rd I was extremely busy and visited five states (DE, MD, VA, PA, NY) in one short week! I was interviewed on Channel 6, the morning of the 16th for a Prospective Delaware piece. I had the fortune of traveling with my longtime friend, and Miss Delaware Board Member, Chuck Ivins to Philadelphia that day. It was wonderful to be able to catch up with Chuck and talk about everything from Miss Delaware, to my normal, daily life as just Kayla. That afternoon I had my pre-interview on the telephone with producer, Ruth Chenetz for the 20/20 piece. I appreciated how thorough Ruth was, and I could tell she was most concerned about making me feel comfortable.
That evening I drove to Virginia and taught my students at Barbizon all day Saturday and Sunday. Even though we had so much information to cover that weekend, my students found time to ask me questions about the Miss Delaware pageant, and my life since then! I have missed communicating with them as much as I normally had, since my life has changed quite a bit over the past few months! But, my students and their families have been very understanding and I am so proud of how hard they are working!
Sunday night, I left the Barbizon school in Virginia and drove directly to Delaware where I met Georgeann, the Miss Delaware Public Relations Coordinator. She and I hopped in the car and were dropped off just in time to catch our train in Wilmington- thanks to Mr.Gillis who got us there in one piece! We arrived in New York City very late that evening and rested before our early morning the next day!
Monday morning a car picked us up outside of our hotel at 7am, and chauffeured us to the Wendy Williams Show Studio. I had a blast being there, and enjoyed a delicious breakfast with Joey King, the star of the new film, Ramona and Beezus! My hair and makeup was done in a beautiful dressing room that had my name on the door! I was able to meet and chat with Lucy, the Editor of Self Magazine, of which I am a longtime subscriber, and also the host of the show, Wendy Williams. We talked wigs and New York, and food- which you all know, made my day! The filming was a great experience and I felt very blessed to have that opportunity. Sheila, the wig stand, concurs as she was also featured on Wendy's show that morning! :)
Immediately after being interviewed by Wendy Williams, I had to leave the filming early to catch a ride to ABC Studios at noon. I wish I could have stayed to see Jennifer Love Hewitt's interview with Wendy, but Susan, my Business Manager was able to fit everything into one day and we were sure to be on time! Georgeann and I enjoyed lunch at ABC Studios with several of their staff and were even given the opportunity to see Barbara Walters' office! I'm not sure how Barbara would feel about this, but I was so excited to take a picture in her chair!
We met Deborah Roberts before the interview began and I was quickly put on the set of 20/20 doing mic checks and lighting adjustments. The interview was a terrific experience, and Deborah was sure to leave no stone unturned. She asked some tough questions and challenged me to dig deeper to share my personal story. I saw this as a wonderful opportunity to prepare for the job of Miss America.
Georgeann and I were then rushed to Penn Station to catch our train that evening and were back in Delaware by 9pm! Talk about a big 'day trip'! Tuesday the 20/20 film crew met me at the Delaware State Fair Grounds to film me judging 4-H State Fair entries. Low and behold, the minute I entered the 4-H building I saw a HUGE picture of myself across the room! All week I referred to this as my 'shrine' :). The Delaware 4-H Staff decided to honor me as the first known 4-Her to become Miss Delaware and I am proud to represent them throughout my year of service. So much of who I am was shaped by my experiences in 4-H- plus I am a 3rd generation 4-Her! The biggest honor of all came from having my 'shrine' next to that of Joy Sparks. Joy was the leader of Delaware 4-H for many years, and she gave every piece of her heart to that organization. A few years ago, Joy passed away and I can only hope to grow to be half the woman she was and impact half as many lives. Having my photo next to hers was very emotional for me, and I will never forget that.
The 20/20 crew filmed me judging 4-H science entries, and even interviewed a young 4-Her with more spunk than you could imagine! My lifelong friend, Justin Pink was even shown in the piece as he judged with me!
From the Delaware State Fair Grounds, the film crew followed me to Giaccamo's on Forrest Ave. in Dover to eat a yummy lunch before the rest of the afternoon! Immediately after lunch, the crew and I headed to Lifestyles Fitness Center to catch a glimpse of the workout routine I used to prepare for the Miss Delaware pageant! I probably shouldn't have eaten such a big lunch right before a workout! Thank you to Brittany, and everyone at Lifestyles and Kent General Hospital for working with me and ABC's crew that day! Brittany was sure to not go easy on me, of course! She had me sweating and out of breath on national television--- thanks, Brit!!! ;)
The film crew said farewell to us at the gym, and I headed to visit Dr. Robert Webster Dentistry to receive my first set of Invisalign! And from there I was on the road to Wilmington to meet with Debbie from Lady's Image, a sponsor of the Miss Delaware Organization. Debbie had me try on several dresses to model at the Best of Delaware event a few days later! She was very efficient with our time, and we selected the first three pieces I tried on!
Workouts and correspondence filled the next two days before Delaware Today's, Best of Delaware event at Dover Downs Hotel and Casino that Thursday evening. Thank you to Lady's Image for inviting me as your guest and allowing me to model three beautiful pieces that evening. I tasted lots of DELICIOUS food that evening from all over the state of Delaware and all in all, had a really great time.
The best time of year had finally arrived---- the Delaware State Fair week!!!! Any 4-Her, or lifelong Delawarean knows, the Delaware State Fair is the place to be this week! Friday, Jul 23rd I had the fortune of meeting Paula Deen and her husband and dining in a private reception with her, before her cooking/comedy show that evening. Let me tell you- she is a hoot! The minute she walked into the reception she saw my crown and exclaimed, "Oh my goo'ness, you brought me Miss America!!!" I looked at Chuck, and thought to myself- do I correct Paula Deen the first second I've met her?! I opted to say nothing and let her know later that I am Miss Delaware, not Miss America just yet. Later, I had the chance to actually chat with her and Michael, her husband, and to say she was interested in my platform would be an understatement. They both asked me so many questions about Alopecia Areata, and they did not believe that I was wearing a wig, until I wiggled it a bit to prove I wasn't lying! They wished me well in preparations for Miss America, and said they felt certain I would leave Vegas with a smile and a new crown. :)
The show was terrific, and she kept me laughing, that's for sure! Be sure to check back to read how the rest of the Delaware State Fair went for me, and what I have been up to since! In the words of Paula Deen, "See ya later ya'll!"