The trip was a once in a lifetime experience (literally) and it will definitely stay in my books as one of the greatest experiences of my life. For those of you that want to know the ins and outs of the Miss America experience, I am here to tell you some of the highlights, lowlight, interview questions, what the new Miss America is like and everything in between!!!
The trip to get to Vegas was one for the books! Although I had to leave for the airport at 4am, thus giving me 3 hours of sleep, I met up with Miss Colorado, the beautiful Diana, and got VIP service on the plane! We were escorted on and off, got to meet all the pilots, and even got to sit in the cockpit! (#32 on my bucket list!!)
After getting to Vegas, we met up with other Miss States, as well as our security team (WE LOVE YOU!!!). We were brought to our limos (heck yeah, first limo ride!) and were driven to Planet Hollywood. Once there, I received the best text ever!!! Jennifer Sedler, Miss Arizona, was assigned to be my roommate!!!!! I was so excited, especially since we were praying to the Big Man months prior that we would be roomies!
After arriving at Planet Hollywood, we had to sign in, put our million suitcases in our rooms, then go right to our Express fitting. I got to meet with Express stylists, whom I LOVED and bonded with over our love of everything fashion, filmed a promo, was fitted with my onstage question dress, and interviewed!! Once all the fittings were done, we all had a SUPER quick change to get ready for the Arrival Ceremony, emceed by the FABULOUS Josh Strickland from Holly's World. After introducing ourselves to the world, we had a quick meeting with the Miss America Board, then off to our rooms for the night!!!
SIDENOTE : I am messy. Sorry. I like to blame it on the fact that I am still relatively young.....but I think that it is just because I am too lazy to put everything away. So a HUGE shoutout to Jennifer for putting up with my not-so-clean ways :)
Other highlights of the week?
- We got to flip pancakes at an IHOP that was brought right to us at the Planet Hollywood and meet some of the Miracle Children from the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals!
- We got to watch Phantom of the Opera on the Vegas Strip and have a "meet and greet" with the cast on the stage after the show was over!
- I celebrated my 21st birthday at P.F. Changs with all of my Miss America sisters!
- I got to film with Chaz Dean (and Miss Arizona) for a Wen Haircare commercial and he liked me so much that it looks like I might get the opportunity to work with him at QVC!! No final word yet, but that is on my bucket list too, so my fingers are crossed!
- I had the chance to meet and film Artistry interviews and talk makeup, hair and fashion (I believe I know more about these 3 things than anything else, so I LOVED it!)
- my first club experiences happened in Vegas!! I got to be a part of a music video style filming in 2 different clubs! SUPER COOL! (tons of cameras, crew, lights, smoke......it was AWESOME!)
- Yes, I may have had to sit/lay down during hours and hours and HOURS of rehearsals, but if you just remember the reason why you are there, it doesn't even matter!.....although....I was soooo tired I think I could have slept on rocks. No rest for the weary!!
- THE GIRLS!!!! If I were placed in a room with 52 other girls, 9 times out of 10, I would want to run the other way. That one time exception would be these 52 girls. I suppose when the girls are all incredibly talented, beautiful, intelligent and have the same purpose of community service and love of others, the cattiness disappears. A huge shoutout to Arizona, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, West Virginia and so many other girls for being AWESOME (!!!) and for making my time in Vegas a blast!! :)
MISS AMERICA INTERVIEW -
This phase of competition is one that most people are always dying to know about! Let me tell you firsthand....it was awesome!!!
Some of the questions that I remember getting -
- Were you popular in high school?
- Who do you think will be the GOP nominee?
- You seem very well spoken and confident - what is the one thing you would change about yourself?
- If you could tell President Obama anything, what would it be?
- Why do you want your own talk show?
- Should we take the troops home?
- How did you first get involved in Irish Dance?
- You have had a lot of accomplishments - is there anything you have started, but then quit?
- How would plan on spreading the message of safe driving to teens?
- What is your guilty pleasure?
- If Vanessa Williams- type pictures came out of you if you won Miss America, what do you think should happen to you?
- Did you learn about politics for this interview or have you always been interested in them?
I believe I got a couple more questions, I just cannot remember them off the top of my head.
Not too many political question, just ones to get to know me! I don't know if I was more excited that my 21st birthday was the day of my interview, or that I was standing 5 feet away from Lara Spenser and Kris Jenner! I felt really good coming out of my interview, which was the only birthday present I wanted!
ONSTAGE COMPETITION -
A BLAST!!!! No other way to describe it! To be honest, I am not sure if it has really sunk in that I was on the Miss America stage, yet......hopefully it will.....who knows....
I will say, however, that watching the pageant on tv and actually walking and performing on it are two totally different feelings.
TALENT: As some of you know, I have not danced competitively in four years......
SIDENOTE: Something that no one really knows is the reason why I have not competed in so long. Yes, I took time off to strictly teach Irish Dance classes at the Ryan-Kilcoyne School of Irish Dance, but there was one other reason why, which I talked about in my interview. I was a great Irish Dancer for a long time, winning championships and doing extremely well. At 16, I went through a major growth spurt and all of a sudden my dancing was not as good as it used to be. I had all this pressure on myself to continue doing well and, in all honesty, at that age, I was totally unable to handle all that pressure. My way out was to start dancing just for fun - sad, I know. I knew that at Miss America, I would have the chance to work to finally redeem myself for the "quit" in the 16 year old me, in what I told myself was the ultimate dance competition!!
Not only did I feel the best that I have ever felt after dancing on preliminary night, but it was so emotional after I walked off because I knew that my first time back competing on a national stage was at Miss America. Yes, there was a lot of emotion all week! Winning non-finalist talent Saturday night was the cherry on top of the 6 months of work cake. Knowing that the judges saw something in my Irish Dance that I had been working so hard to get back after all that time off was truly incredible.
SWIMSUIT AND GOWN- Yes, I was excited to worrrkkkkkk my Komplique swimsuit. I had also been working out with a trainer for the first time in my life. Paul Timmons, of Rehoboth Beach's The Firm, dedicated months (3 days a week) INTENSE sessions to get me into the best shape of my entire life. I have never been so happy to see muscles after all the calluses and bruises and pulled muscles. I was truly proud to walk on that stage. I was also pumped to rock my Mac Duggal gown! Yes, it may have weighed as much as a small elephant, but I really did feel like a million bucks, which is all I wanted!
annndddd...you all know that I LOVE anything runway related :)
The final night, I was completely at peace with whatever happened. I knew that I had done the best that I possibly could. Coming into this entire Miss America experience, my entire goal was to come out with NO regrets and I accomplished just that.
For anyone that saw the broadcast, you could probably see me rocking out to "Tonight, Tonight," and having a great time. I was so excited for my friends that had made the top 15 that I could only focus on the AWESOME competition that was happening in front of me!
SIDENOTE: YES, the "save a contestant" portion after swimsuit was completely unrehearsed and kind of sad. We loved every single one of those girls!
MISS AMERICA - our new Miss America is AMAZING. Hands down. She was quieter, but sooooooo incredibly kind, nice and absolutely gorgeous! She is the most wonderful person to represent the organization that meant so much to all 53 of us. I do not have one single negative thing to say about Laura. I am so happy for her and will support her whole-heartedly throughout her year!
I am a firm believer that God has a plan for each and every single one of us. I know that I have been put on an incredible, life changing journey and each and every moment that I have and have had has changed me and made me a better person in some way. No, I was not meant to be Miss America, but this ride has made me want to become the best Miss Delaware for the next six months and the best person I can be for the rest of my life! I am excited to continue on with the next chapter of my life. Thank you to Debi, the rest of my board, my family, and the rest of those that continue to inspire me each and every day.