Monday, January 3, 2011

Final Update before the Miss America 2011 Pageant

Hello everyone,

I wanted to write an update to let you all know what I have been up to since my last post. The past few weeks have been incredibly busy, and yet it feels like they have flown by so quickly. Somehow, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years came and went! And this Thursday morning I will be on a plane headed for Las Vegas, NV to represent my home state in the Miss America Pageant!

November ended as quickly as it began; I celebrated Thanksgiving morning in the Philadelphia Parade on ABC with our own Miss America 2010, Caressa Cameron, and my sister titleholders, Miss New Jersey and Miss Pennsylvania. It was such a treat to spend time on the warm tour bus with the girls, and catch up. After the parade, my Executive Director and I were on the road again, headed home to celebrate all that I am thankful for, with my family. This year I am thankful to have the chance to live out my dream of becoming Miss America. And I am thankful to have loving supporters from all over the world and even in my own small town. And I am thankful for the power of prayer and for the freedom that we are privileged to have every day thanks to the brave men and women giving their lives to protect our country.

After Thanksgiving, I attended a three parades- including the Wilmington Parade where I was so thrilled to share the day with a close friend, Miss DE USA 2009, Julie Citro. I was also able to support a few friends in the Miss DE USA Pageant, speak with several local groups including the Sussex County Council, and even perform in "The Nutcracker" in my hometown company, the Diamond Dance Company. I held a few parts including the "Dream Fairy"- which has always been my favorite piece!

Throughout December I continued to rehearse my talent selection, workout in the gym with Brittany, have wardrobe fittings, meet with mock interview panels, my hair stylist, and a makeup artist (Tiffani Mitchell- check her out!). It certainly was not as easy as that sentence may read, but I know now that all the hard work is behind me and I have done all I can. From here, I plan to do my very best in each phase of competition, stay positive, and give it to God. Because, I know He has a greater plan for all of us.

Some of my favorite appearances this season were spent with the Delaware State Police. No... I wasn't in any trouble! But, I was sure to ask if my crown could ever get me out of a speeding ticket! Completely hypothetical :) State Police Troop 3 from Camden and I visited local special needs classrooms for children of all ages from 5-21, and we even visited the pediatric floor at Kent General Hospital. While there, Santa, Spiderman, Rudolph and myself along with dressed troopers delivered presents and holiday cheer. The next day, members of Troop 1, and all the characters listed before visited A.I. DuPont Children's Hospital with me and we spent the entire day going from room to room sharing the holiday spirit. I had no idea how emotional this process could be, even though I have been through room visits before. One of the children became overjoyed when I entered the room and she had been waiting for me all day! She announced over and over, "Miss America, Miss America!!!" She had lost her hair as a side effect of chemotherapy, and it was a joy to tell her that I, too had lost my hair. Experiences like this just warm my heart, and remind me of the power of the crown. Her entire room had been decorated in a Princess theme and I knew that she dreamed of becoming Miss America one day. I had the unique opportunity to show her that her dream can come true, regardless of how many strands of hair she has right now.

Also, in December I had quite a busy weekend filled with traveling to Johnstown, Pennsylvania to pick up all of my Miss America wardrobe from The Bridal Suite, perform at their town's Christmas Pageant and ride in the parade with my new friend- Cali, Miss West Virginia! My Executive Director and I rushed home to Delaware to celebrate my send-off to Miss America with friends, family and supporters. A new friend, and fellow "baldie", Candie was surprised by her boyfriend with a trip to meet me and see all of my wardrobe at the send-off! I was in tears the minute I heard how far she had travelled just to meet me. Thank you Candie, for making the trip- YOU are beautiful on the inside and out!

In the past few weeks I have been able to visit with all of my incredible sponsors including Salon Rispoli to be sure my hair is perfect, Sun Dazed Tanning to give my skin a healthy glow, Webster Cosmetic Dentistry for a straighter and whiter smile, Brittany Dempsey at Lifestyles Fitness Center for a slim and fit swimsuit body, and celebrity stylist, Christie Maruka from Fashion Fix NJ for providing my wardrobe for the Miss America appearances! Thank you all for your all of your support and for believing in me, even before I became Miss Delaware! And thank you to Ronnie and Deborah from The Bridal Suite for providing my beautiful evening gowns and cocktail pieces that I love so much! I feel like Miss America already!

To bring you fully up to date, I have been on a local media tour lately on local radio stations, television stations and local newspapers to promote the pageant and the chance to vote for the "People's Choice Award". The next two days will be filled with packing, and taking care of a few last minute things before I leave for Las Vegas!

Please know that it has been my honor to be your Miss Delaware, and I get chills up and down my spine with a big smile on my face when I think of the opportunity that lies ahead of me. I still am in awe that I could be your Miss America in less than two weeks. I know that I am ready, and I have done all that I can to be the best version of myself. Your love and support has meant the world to me, and without all of you, I would not feel as confident or prepared as I feel now. Please continue to keep me in your prayers and of course--- keep voting!!! :) If you haven't voted yet, there is still time! Voting closes January 13th!

Be sure to watch me compete LIVE in the Miss America Pageant January 15th on ABC at 9pm Eastern Time. I hope to make all of you proud!

God bless you all and may 2011 be the best year yet!

With all my love-

Your Miss Delaware,

Kayla Martell

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