Tuesday, August 21, 2012

MAOT in Orlando, FL!

Wednesday morning I woke up at 4:00 am, excited and ready to head to Orlando, Florida to watch the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen Pageant. 2 plane rides and a few hours later, I arrived in Orlando with my Mom, took a shuttle to the hotel, and got ready to meet my new Miss America sisters!

I headed to an Artistry consultation, where I got a whole goody bag of my favorite Artistry product, including their Luxury Care Eye Cream, Glitz Light Up Lip Gloss, Balancing Cleanser, Toner, and Moisturizer set, and the essentials kit in Light. I cannot say enough about these amazing products; they really keep my skin Miss America perfect all the time! We took some fun shots with our favorite shade of Light Up Lip Gloss, and had an interview with some Artistry Representatives. I would like to give a big shout out to Artistry, as they just came out with an SPF 50 facial sunscreen that not only protects your skin from sun damage, but also improves your skin quality and clarity! That night I got to watch Delaware’s Morgan Burris light up the stage in her evening gown and onstage question portion of the competition. 

Thursday was a whirlwind of filming for our wonderful Miss America sponsors. There are so many new and exciting marketing strategies that Miss America is adopting this year, so keep your eyes peeled! We also got to peak at the swimsuits by Catalina that will be featured at the Miss America Pageant in January! This is so cool for us, because after the pageant, the EXACT SAME swimsuits you see on the contestants will be available in select Wal-Mart stores and online! They are affordable and super cute!  Thursday night Morgan competed in the fitness portion of competition, and spend more time with my Miss America sisters.

Friday we filmed again for sponsors, had our first contestant orientation for Miss America, and then we headed to Disney World! We were lucky enough to have security escort us to the front of every line so we were able to go on a lot of rides, including the tea cups, It’s a Small World, Splash Mountain, Thunder Mountain, Space Mountain, and a few more! I even rode in the front of Splash Mountain with Miss California, Leah Cecil and we got soaked!  We ended the night dancing with Stitch and headed back to our hotel, exhausted but extremely happy.  

Saturday morning, I was filmed for an interview with ABC, and then got some free time to hang out by the pool with my Mom, and grab some lunch with an old friend, my principal from Southern Delaware School of the Arts, Tim Fannin, who moved to Florida when I was in 8th grade! It was so nice to see someone who was such an integral part of my journey to the Miss America stage. Without my performing experiences and academic achievements at SDSA, I wouldn’t be the performer or person I am today. Saturday night finals at MAOT were such a pleasure to watch. Congratulations to all of the young women who were able to represent at that level, and to Rachel Wyatt, the new Miss America’s Outstanding Teen from South Carolina. She blew me away with her talent, a beautiful lyrical dance to “The Climb,” and she embodies what the organization is all about! 

I am so proud of Morgan Burris, our Miss Delaware’s Outstanding Teen for representing us with grace, poise, beauty, and genuine heart at MAOT. She never fails to amaze me and this week was no different. Though her journey in Florida is over, her amazing story does not end here. She is beginning a new chapter and returning to Delaware to finish her year with the same dedication and passion she has shown thus far. She is making a difference each day in the lives of other children who were adopted like she was, and encouraging other young people to follow their dreams. Morgan is one of the few young women her age who are able to make a difference. She is beautiful inside and out and she has a light that radiates through her smile, her eyes, and everything she says. Morgan truly is OUTSTANDING in every way, shape and form through the message she conveys, the hope she provides to others, the passion she has for service, and her genuine love for others. She is an inspiration to me and I feel so honored to be her “big sister.” 

This week through watching Morgan compete, and meeting my Miss America sisters, I am finally starting to realize that I really will be competing for Miss America in January. This lofty goal that I’ve kept in my back pocket all these years is becoming a reality. I can’t wait to reunite with the other 52 incredible titleholders, and make even more memories in January!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Ferry Fiascos, Photoshoots, and Parades!

I can safely say that this week has been the busiest one in my year as Miss Delaware thus far. I don’t say this to complain because I’m happiest when I’m busy!

Sunday was the day of the ferry fiasco. After planning ahead (for once in my life) and booking a ferry ticket to work with my INCREDIBLE Miss America choreographer, Jamie Ginn, Miss Delaware 2006, I arrived an hour early for my ferry to Cape May, NJ. Once 7:25 am rolled around and the gate still had not opened, I realized I had booked the ferry backwards, from NJ to DE, and the first ferry from Lewes wasn’t until 9:15 am! Luckily the incredibly understanding customer service employees exchanged my ticket free of charge and helped me along my way. Misfortune over? Not quite. I have been on my fair share of boats in my life, I live near the water and I spend as much time on it as possible. Never before have I been seasick, but Sunday, of all days, my stomach got the best of me. I arrived in Ocean City, NJ slightly green, nauseous, and flustered, but excited to get to work. The session was incredible and I cannot wait to perform my new routine at Miss America!

The day ended with my Outstanding Teen, Morgan Burris’s send-off to Orlando for the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen Pageant! Morgan emulates everything the MAOT program is about, she is kind, compassionate, incredibly talented, intelligent, and well spoken. I can’t wait to watch her work that stage in Florida. GO DELAWARE!

Monday was a super intense, rope climbing, kettle bell flinging session with my official Miss DE trainer, Paul Timmons at The Firm in Rehoboth Beach. Tuesday I headed to Harrington for the Delaware Electric Cooperative dinner, Wednesday I visited Sal Cutrona, my Miss DE hair sponsor and Gloria, my nail sponsor at Michael Christopher Salon in Wilmington to get pretty before Orlando. Thursday I went to the Eagles vs. Steelers football game with a friend, totally unrelated to Miss Delaware, but totally AWESOME.

On Friday I participated in Trash the Dress for Charity. Lead by photographers Sam Ellis and Anne Donaway, young women can donate an old prom or homecoming dress to those who are not able to finance their dream dress. Sam and Anne take pictures of the models on the beach and gradually making their way into the water. They then dry clean these dresses and get them to those who need them! I had an extra dress hanging around in my closet that I hope someone will love! Nothing better than modeling and swimming in a gown for a great cause! I was honored and excited to be a part of this project.

Saturday I had an interview with Prita from PageantProfessors.com in Washington, DC and tomorrow morning is the Bower’s Beach  Parade!

This week was a busy/hectic/fun one, and I can only hope I stay this busy throughout my year as Miss Delaware!

P.S. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out Maria Cahill, Miss Delaware 2011, on Life on the Rock on EWTN! She was a total natural and I’m super proud! 



Friday, August 3, 2012

The Big "Thank You" Post


I want to say a quick thank you to some important people before I blog about anything else.

Without God, nothing in my life would be possible.

Thank you to my family for being so supportive in every way possible. My Mom, who has never missed a recital, performance, swim meet, or pageant, Dad who supported me financially and emotionally through my journey to Miss Delaware, my step-mom Karen, step-dad Dan, Floyd, Mom mom and Pop pop, Aunt Lisa and JP, my big brother Cory, my sister Remi, my step-brothers Ben and Zach, you are the best big happy dysfunctional family I could ask for.

To my friends, thank you for being there for me. Shelby, Abby, Taylor, thanks for being there for me since elementary school.

To my sorority sisters who have supported me every step of the way, a huge thank you. Ali, Steph, Kayla, my sorority family who stuck by my side, Veronica who I don’t know what I would do without, Marykate, who came all the way down to watch and cried more than I did over the win, all of the girls on exec. for the thoughtful and delicious edible arrangement. I’m so happy I have about 140 of the best sisters in the whole world.

Dillan, thanks for coming the long distance to watch me, and for putting up with me when I was going a little crazy preparing.

All of the Miss Delaware 2012 girls, I love each and every one of you. Thank you for making this experience unforgettable. Alix, thanks for being the best roommate I could have asked for you. I loved our late night talks and getting ready together. Becky thanks for being a sister to me all year. You have a very special place in my heart and I miss our Newark breakfast and protein shake dates.

Maria Cahill, I can’t even say “thank you” enough. I know you would make fun of me because I’m tearing up while I’m writing this. I knew when I met you last year, you were the kind of friend that only comes along once in a lifetime, and I’m so proud to call you one of my best friends. Thank you for setting such a great example for me to follow, and thank you for being so helpful to all the contestants this year. Let’s go get froyo.

To all the former Miss Delawares, thank you for being role models and inspirations to me. Kama Levandis, thank you for being my idol and encouragement, even though you didn’t know it.

To the best board in the whole World, thank you for all of your hard work and dedication to this program and your girls. You treat every one of us like your own, and we all love you for that.

Marcellus Beasley at B-Fit Enterprise, you believed in me from day one. You told me the day we met that I could do it and you stuck by me, not only as a trainer, but as a friend. I can’t thank you enough for all you have done for me.

The fabulous Tony Bowls, Josh Cody, the Perfect Dress in New Jersey, and Chris Saltalamacchio, thank you for making me feel like a princess while I was picking out my gown. Y’all rock, and I couldn’t have done it without this team.

David Button and Jen Hayward, thanks for being such awesome local mentors, and for believing in me from the start.

Everyone who was involved with my journey, thank you for helping me achieve my dream.

I am incredibly blessed to have so many people in my life who have been so fundamental in reaching my dreams. I am so grateful to everyone who helped make this possible.


Until next time,
Alyssa

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

My FIRST Blog Post as MISS DELAWARE!


HI EVERYONE! My first blog post as Miss Delaware, how amazing/unbelievable is this? Every morning I wake up and I still have to double check to make sure I’m not in some incredible, ridiculous, inception-caliber dream. 6 weeks after being crowned, I am finally having a few quiet moments to reflect on the week that has forever changed my life.

Just 2 years ago I was an awkward, self-conscious, and quirky college freshman at the University of Delaware (GO BLUE HENS!) trying to find where I fit in, when I received a facebook message from Mama Sandy Soucek, telling me I should compete for a preliminary pageant to Miss Delaware.

I have grown more in the past 2 years through my experience with the Miss Delaware/Miss America Organization than I have in 18 years prior. After placing 4th runner-up to the fabulous Maria Cahill, a best friend of mine, I decided that I was going to put myself out there this year and leave everything I had on that Miss Delaware stage. I prepared like I never had before.  I lost 2 dress sizes and about 20 pounds, improved my talent and selected the wardrobe of my dreams.

For the first time ever, I was 100% confident with my body when I stepped on stage Thursday night for swimsuit. I felt completely confident with my onstage question (it probably didn’t hurt that it was about my platform) which I have been involved with for 8 years, (more on that later). Friday night I was so ecstatic to receive the evening gown preliminary award and my talent went even better than I  hoped.  Saturday night was a complete whirlwind. Out of the top 11, guess who was number 11. Yup, this girl right here. If you thought I was a nervous wreck, you should have seen my poor Mother! She just about had a coronary right there in Dover Downs. With the announcement of the top 5, I was at peace. Did I want to be Miss Delaware? You bet. I had put a year of hard work and dedication into this and I knew I was ready for this job. Having said that, there were 4 other beautiful, intelligent, and well rounded young women in those hot seats with me that would have made a wonderful state titleholder.

The crowning was an absolute blur. All I remember is hearing names called, and thinking “that’s not me.” I was so happy I got to share that moment with Renee. That girl didn’t win Miss Congeniality for nothing. She kept all of us smiling and laughing all week. I don’t remember what song was playing, I don’t remember what I did, and I certainly don’t remember hearing my name called out, but I eventually realized I was still standing there. Judging by the pictures from Miss Delaware, I think I held it together pretty well, and I was so happy to see the positive reactions from every other contestant. These girls are like my family now and I am so thrilled, honored, and humbled to be a representative for this class of young women.

I am sorry this is such a long post, but there is no way to shorten what was the single best week of my entire life into a short paragraph. I am so thrilled to start my reign as Miss Delaware, and I hope you all follow my adventures on this blog!

Until next time,

Alyssa



                           Check out this slideshow from Miss Delaware week!


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