Thursday, September 2, 2010

August 23- August 29

Dear Friends,

August 23rd may have been my mother's birthday, but that did not mean it was a day off for Miss Delaware! I went with my mother to get our nails done and try to relax in celebration of her special day. Then I worked out at the gym, and ran several errands to prepare for my trip to Orlando, FL! In the afternoon, I visited my newest sponsor, Sun Dazed Tanning in Milford to make up for lost time in the sun this summer! Their facility is so lovely, and they have several options for tanning safely.

After leaving Sun Dazed Tanning I headed to Sunnybrae Mansion in Milford for my "Walk for a Miracle" Fundraiser to benefit the Children's Miracle Network. As a Miss America contestant, I have adopted the national platform of the Children's Miracle Network and I will fundraise for them, and volunteer in their hospitals during my year as Miss Delaware. And should I become Miss America 2011, I will inherit the title of Goodwill Ambassador for CMN!

Even though the rain clouds were making their way to Milford, many friends and family joined me at Sunnybrae Mansion for this terrific cause. We walked around the beautiful property and fellowshipped for as long as we could. The rain inevitably came, but only a few moments after everyone had begun to leave!

Tuesday I was in the gym and received the wonderful news that I am a finalist for the L'Oreal Paris's Women of Worth Award! My telephone interview was at 1pm that day, and they asked all kinds of questions regarding my commitment to creating positive change, and to volunteering in my community. To even be nominated is quite an honor, and to know I have been selected as a finalist is simple indescribable.

Tuesday night and Wednesday morning I packed with the help of Mrs. Gillis, for my trip to the Miss America's Outstanding Teen Pageant! I was so excited to meet my Miss America sisters, and to cheer for Miss Delaware's Outstanding Teen, Katelynn Mayers. By Wednesday afternoon I was en route to Orlando, Florida with my travel companion and Miss Delaware's Field Director, Dulcena Kemmerlin. Our flight was on time but we arrived in Orlando with nearly twenty minutes to check in to our hotel, change our clothes, grab a quick bite to eat, and walk to the convention center. We arrived a few minutes late to the preliminary competition, so I was unable to officially meet everyone until after the pageant. Katelynn's talent was terrific and I was so proud to see her shine on that stage! Later I learned from Katelynn that she had broken her toe, but I had no idea while I was watching her perform! After the preliminary competition Mrs. Kemmerlin and I spent time with Katelynn and her family in the visitation/meet and greet. Katelynn was in good spirits and seemed to really be enjoying herself!

This group of contestants in the Miss America's Outstanding Teen Pageant was phenomenal! Some wanted to be doctors, lawyers, or performers and so on. One contestant had already graduated high school and completed two years of college at the age of 16. And many of them had GPA's above 4.0! Plus, they were all extremely talented, philanthropic and beautiful young women!

Wednesday was a late night, and the next morning I had my video shoot with Tall Pony Productions (the Miss America Production crew) bright and early. Check back in the coming weeks to see if the videos have been released and to learn what they will be used for! All I can is that my shoot went well, and I had a great time! After the Tall Pony Shoot, I was surprised to hear I had been selected as one of ten contestants to film a video interview for Artistry Cosmetics- Miss America's Cosmetic and Skincare sponsor! While the other contestants had known about the interview, Debi, my Executive Director, decided to surprise me with the news. So I rushed to the Artistry bus to have my makeup done, and to learn all about their newest cosmetics! Their light-up lipgloss is my new favorite, go-to beauty tool! Check out their website later this month to see their all-new cosmetic line!

After the video shoot, Mrs. Kemmerlin and I spent some quality time together, catching up, eating lunch, and visiting the trade show! Before we knew it, it was time for me to change for dinner! Mary Sullivan, the Executive Director of the Miss Florida Organization and Regalia hosted our dinner at Maggiano's that evening and it was delicious! The lemon cookies were to die for. Thank you to Mary and everyone from Regalia for such a lovely meal! After dinner, we made our way to the convention center to support our 'little sisters' during the third night of preliminary competition! Katelynn participated in the Evening Gown and On Stage Questions portions of competition that night and she was stupendous! I was beyond proud of her poise and grace. Katelynn was asked about funding in public schools, and she showed that she could personally relate to school funding issues. That night, one of the contestants also performed to Michael Jackson's "The Way You Make Me Feel" on pointe and she was terrific! As a dancer, it is fun to see another person's interpretation of a song and how they display that with movements. During the pageant, all 53 of us competing for the job of Miss America 2011, introduced ourselves on stage. As I left the stage I slightly tripped over a cord! I had a big smile, laughed at myself and kept on walking :) I told myself that this was a good thing- God would never let me trip at MAOT, and then trip again at Miss America!!

Friday morning at 6:45 am, all of the Miss America contestants were on a bus and headed toward.... Disney World!!! It was a warm day, and in spite of the heat we all had so much fun channeling our inner child! My group was able to ride Space Mountain, Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain, Buzz Lightyear, The Haunted Mansion, and the Tea Cups! We each filmed a quick video interview with a representative from Disney World and spoke about our favorite Disney memory. I had a difficult time deciding between the time I was able to ride the rides with a friend visiting from my hometown through the Make A Wish Foundation, and the memories of visiting with my father who loves Disney just as much, if not more than I do! My dad's favorite character is Goofy, and so we covered every inch of the parks in search of one man- Goofy! My dad's biggest concern was getting a picture with Goofy, and hopefully getting his autograph :)

After we had too much fun at Disney World, we headed back to the hotel to prepare for the rest of the evening. That night we attended a fantastic fundraiser for the Miss America Organization at the Segal Estate. This was a fun and relaxing evening to spend time with my Miss America sisters. Caressa Cameron, Miss America 2010 was in attendance as well as most of the Miss America staff. Everyone had a great time dancing, eating and mingling! Many local restaurants brought their specialty dishes and we were able to have quite the variety of delicious, 5 star food! My favorite part of all was the chocolate fondue! Thank you to Mr. and Mrs. Segal for hosting such a wonderful event, and for raising money to help young women, like myself, achieve higher education!

Saturday was the big day! In the morning I attended the Miss America Orientation where Caressa Cameron spoke about the ins and outs of the Miss America job, and we learned all-new details regarding the pageant in January. I will keep you posted on the exciting things to come, but for now just trust that this will be a show you will not want to miss! Being that this is Miss America's 90th Anniversary, it will be a big celebration!

After orientation we changed and headed to the convention center to take part in an autograph signing just before the final night of competition. I was a nervous wreck for Katelynn, whom I am certain was calm as a cucumber! But I could not wait to see her on the stage once more! Even though Katelynn did not make the top 10, I am beyond proud of everything she has accomplished this year. For those of you who could not attend the pageant in Orlando, I know you would have shared the sentiment. Katelynn worked very hard and I am so blessed to call her my 'little sis' this year. Congratulations to Miss Oklahoma's Outstanding Teen, Lacey Russ, on becoming Miss America's Outstanding Teen 2010! I know she will do an incredible job this year.

Sunday morning, Mrs. Kemmerlin and I flew back to Philadelphia and returned to home, sweet home. Happy Birthday to Debi Wilson and Aimee Voshell-String, two active members of my Miss Delaware family! I hope you both enjoyed your special days and took some time to relax! And to Carol Stevens- thank you for giving Debi the best gift of all- A Tom-Tom!!! :)

Have a beautiful day everyone!

Warmest Wishes,

Kayla

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