Monday, October 21, 2013

Miss Delaware and her RANDOM affairs.

While preparing for Miss Delaware, I had a large amount of mock interviews.  My interview skills were always very strong but I had one terrible habit.  I used the word random way too much.  I used it to describe my day, my hobbies, my schedule, my feelings, and anything I felt deserved my favorite word.   I can finally say that the only thing random in my entire life is my Miss Delaware schedule.  Every Sunday, I call in to get the following week's schedule.  On this Sunday night scheduling call, I can be sent anywhere from the fanciest of galas to the messiest of fairs.  It makes being Miss Delaware extremely exciting.  Each week is a new adventure and no day is ever the same. 

Since my last posting, I took part in the Townsend Parade and Fair which was a blast.  As a titleholder you experience many different types of parades and everyone has their personal favorites.  I love small town parades.  In little parades you get to connect with every person on the parade route and get to see when you make them smile.  I've met wonderful dancers, pocket bike riders, little princesses, and proud parents. I also am quite a talker during the parades and make sure to say hello to every little prince and princess I see upon the parade route.

Another parade I participated in was the Hollywood Fever  parade.  Apparently no Miss Delaware has ever dressed up in a costume for a Halloween parade so I decided that I could not continue this tradition.  I went in my Show Us Your Shoes Parade outfit, giving another chance to show off Sal Cutrona's fabulous shoes.  This parade had an enormous turnout and it just so happened that many of my friends were there watching the parade!  This parade was special because Milford is Donald's (Miss Delaware's official Driver) hometown and I was able to meet his lovely family.  His granddaughter Taylor even got to ride in the car with me. 
My Pop pop, Nana, little sister and I

I was invited to attend the American Cancer Society Crystal Ball.  The Crystal Ball is held every year to raise money for and increase awareness against cancer.  This has a special place in my heart because  my Nana passed away from breast cancer.  My grandmother and I were very much kindred spirits.  My grandmother marched to the beat of her own drum and never took the constraints of society, her family, or sexism seriously.  We are very similar in these matters.  My grandmother fought cancer for many years but passed away at 74 years of age.  I miss her so much but I know that she is proud of me and absolutely floored that I am Miss Delaware. 

Now that Miss America is over, I have much more time to focus my efforts on my platform.  I was able to attend the 50th Anniversary of Child Inc which is a non profit organization that focuses on "creative prevention and treatment programs that meet the changing needs of families (  At this event I made my first public speech.  It was very exhilarating and a moment I was very thankful for my Miss Delaware title.  I was able to talk about what I love in front the people with the same passion and who are changing the lives of children in the state of Delaware.  Such an humbling experience. 

I had two amazing celebrity experiences; at the Absalom Jones
Senior Center and the Caesar Rodney High School Rider Pride Day.  For the Absalom Jones community, I sang for them at their health fair.  The people were very receptive to my songs.  I even inspired one man so much he decided that we needed to ballroom dance together.  At Caesar Rodney High School it is safe to say that I was completely mobbed by Miss America fans, young princess lovers, and awestruck teenagers.  I was only supposed to stay for one hour but I was having so much fun that time flew by and I ended up spending an extra hour there.

Among the many events I have participated, I attended the opening Del-One Federal Credit Union.  There was a ribbon and a giant pair of scissors that I was able to hold.  The scissors were super heavy!!!  I also spent the day at the Delaware Auto Show signing autographs and having fun looking at the cars.  I even went to the Apple Scrapple Festival and judged my first child beauty pageant.  All of the girls were beautiful and I was so impressed by their confidence.

On the pageant front, I visited the New Castle County/Diamond State Pageant and was so honored to see Rebecca Lusk and Amanda Debus crowned.  I cannot wait to see you both compete at Miss Delaware.  A belated congratulations to Rosa Yancey for her Miss Middletown Title. 

Just this past weekend, I met up with my friend Nikki (aka Miss Iowa) for a New York City
adventure.  We were given a private tour of the Metropolitan Opera House.  I even got to sing on the Met Stage.  We went straight from there to the previews of Little Miss Sunshine.  After the show, we met with the little pageant girls and made their day when we crowned them and let them wear our sashes.  Needless to say, they were floored and were so cute when they asked us if we were offended by the silly pageant scenes.  It was a hilarious show and I recommend everyone go and check it out!

The life of Miss Delaware is sporadic but I am loving every moment of it.  Every "random" encounter can be a connection with a beautiful person, create music, share laughter, and inspire others.  When wearing a crown randomness is part of the deal but also part of the joy. 

Many more adventures to come!
Rebecca Jackson
Miss Delaware 2013

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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Miss America

"People are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of."
Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

Heading Miss America

Growing up, I had never dreamed of becoming Miss America.  My parents discouraged me from playing with Barbie Dolls, cable television, and the Miss America pageant as a whole.  I grew up seemingly not preparing for pageant life but the lure of scholarship money caught my attention and I decided to compete in locals. I competed at my first local using my Senior Prom dress as my gown!  While competing, I had still never seen a Miss America Pageant, meaning I had no idea I that I was given the opportunity to change my life. It wasn't until I was competing for Miss Delaware 2012 that I envisioned myself becoming Miss Delaware and later competing on the Miss America stage.  From that moment on, I worked hard preparing to be Miss Delaware.  I learned how to put on makeup (brow pencils? who knew??), the hair (there is no such thing as too much hairspray), the walk, the health and fitness, and the interview skills that would help me to become Miss Delaware.  This preparation also seeped into my life as a performer, working woman, and as a person. The people in this organization have changed my goals, my passions, and my outlook on life.  All those who came and supported me in Atlantic City... thank you from the bottom of my heart.  Seeing those faces gave me hope, purpose, and smiles during one of the greatest whirlwinds of my life. 

 While I did not manage to place in the top 15, I can honestly say I would not change anything about my experience.  I love my wardrobe, feel confident about my interview, swimsuit, talent, and evening gown phases of competition, and most importantly I have made some of the best friendships that I could have ever imagined.  A giant shout out to Miss DC, Miss New Mexico, Miss South Carolina, Miss South Dakota, Miss Iowa, Miss Colorado, Miss Puerto Rico and my Taj Mahal Girls: Miss Rhode Island, Miss Kentucky, Miss Wisconsin, Miss Michigan, and Miss Missouri.

The week leading up to Miss America was such a blast! For all those competing, be prepared for no sleep, lots of rehearsals, filming, sickness, injuries, but most of all the time of your life.  Most days we would report to Boardwalk Hall by 7:30 am.   We would rehearse the dance numbers for the Parade of States, walking patterns, and the opening number.  While we all look very polished on television... sweats, yoga pants, and flats were extremely popular starting day two of rehearsals.  We would usually finish around 5:00 and head off to events.  We went to the Phillies Game and watched the game from private boxes with wonderful ballpark food.  We had a shopping spree at the Pier Shops in Atlantic City and we were all given Michael Kors sunglasses, True Religion jeans, Guess dresses, and gift cards to many of the stores in the mall. We ate at Hard Rock Cafe, Buddakan, and the Clam Bake. We had a wonderful party at the Golden Nugget and a dance party at Boogie Nights.  We also all took part in the Show Us Your Shoes Parade.  Two of the events particularly stood out to me, the first being the Phillies game.  I was chosen to sing take me out to the ball game with a couple of my fellow sisters.  It was such a rush to step out onto that huge field and sing on national television!!  My other favorite event was the Show us Your Shoes Parade.  My legs were shaking by the end of the trip but seeing how excited people got when I showed them my shoes gave me such joy.  Thank you Sal for creating my outfit and I hear the shoes were one of the favorites of the parade.

On Stage Question
The competition was exciting and a brand new experience for me.  The energy surrounding the Miss America Pageant was so high.  You could feel how much everyone wanted to do their best.  My interview went well and I was able to talk about my life as a performer, my love of music, and my platform.  My first phase of competition on stage was talent.  Before each night the organ would play and my sisters and I would sing backstage to get pumped up!  When it was my turn to perform, I surprisingly did not feel nervous before my talent and I was very proud of what I accomplished on the stage.   I was awarded a Non-Finalist Talent Award at the Miss America Pageant which I was proud to bring home to Delaware!  My second night was on stage question, which I can honestly say is one of the weirdest nights because you have about 30 seconds on the stage and then you are done!  My final night was swimsuit and evening gown.  I had worked extremely hard on my swimsuit body and I was overwhelmed by the reception I had after that phase of competition.  I had so many people come and compliment me on my "yoga" body and that I looked very confident in my own skin.  I took that as a sign that I had completely destroyed my fear of swimsuit and as you can see from the pictures below I was even enjoying myself!  Evening gown could not have gone more perfectly, for every comment I received during swimsuit, I had 2 more for evening gown.  That night many people asked if later they could take a picture of the gown because it was one of their favorites of the competition (Thank you The Perfect Dress!!!!).  Everything happens for a reason and even though I did not get into the top 15, seeing my family and friends afterwards helped and I know everything has a purpose.  Also, when you can be in a swimsuit on stage being judged, everything else that seems scary almost pales in comparison!

I was on the Miss America stage.  I worked hard, learned, grew, and changed.  My Miss America dream is over but my Miss Delaware is still occurring.  I am filled with joy looking at these upcoming 9 months am determined to continue living out my dream of making a difference, breaking stereotypes, and putting love and passion into everything I do.

Much Love
Rebecca Jackson
Miss Delaware 2013

P.S.  I have a brand new fan page!! Please send it to your friends and family to see events, pictures, and charity work that I will be doing during my year or service.

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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Miss Delaware 2013 is.........Rebecca Jackson

It has been a month since I was crowned Miss Delaware and from the moment that crown touched my head, my life has changed.   I never thought my life could possibly be more jam packed but being Miss Delaware is an incredibly demanding and rewarding experience.  Being invited into the Miss Delaware sisterhood is such an honor and I will not take this gift lightly.  I am so excited for everything that this year has in store. It is almost unbelievable that I will be leaving for Miss America in a month.

Becoming Miss Delaware was such an unexpected dream come into fruition and there are many people that helped me to become the person I am today that I really want to thank.

My family, how little you knew when I said I wanted to compete in my first pageant, that a year and a half later I would be Miss Delaware.  Thank you for your undying support, understanding, and patience with me during this roller coaster ride. 

To Laura, Brooke, Sarah, I am so blessed to have you in my life.  I never thought that I would ever become part of another loving family.  You all took a nervous, oblivious, optimistic girl and guided her into a woman who could be Miss Delaware.  You believed that I had the ability to win when I didn't even see it in myself.  I am so blessed to have worked with you for two years in a row and so happy to call you my family.

To "The Team": In life it a rare type of person who will go out of their way to help another without any expectation of reward for their participation.   A giant thank you to Erin Cooper, Brittany and Mrs. Dempsey, the Martells, the Holmes, Heather Lehman, and everyone who coached and took part in my mock interviews.  The confidence I have received from those mocks have changed my life and I thank each of you from the bottom of my heart. 

To the Miss Delaware Board.  Thank you for your part in the organization that has changed my life.  You all have created a family for every girl that has competed and it is so wonderful to have such a loving state. 

To the other 22 contestants that competed, thank you.  The friends I made this year during pageant week will forever be lifelong sisters to me.  Each and every one of you is beautiful, intelligent, and hardworking, and talented.  I could not have asked for better people to share the stage with.  For those of you that have aged out, you will forever by my role models and I know that you have such wonderful things ahead.  For those still of age, keep competing.  This is a once of a lifetime chance and you all have the ability to make a dream reality.

Then I have my random group of helpers.  Nicole, thank you for helping me look the part of Miss Delaware helping me find my own style.  Renee, for helping me discover my MAC makeup face.  Chris Saltalamacchio, for taking my atrocious walk and turning it into a way to express my new found  confidence.  To Josh, for helping me find the most beautiful evening gown.  To Cielo Spa, Tantini, and all of my sponsors thank you for believing in me and encouraging me to be my personal best. 

To all of my friends from UD, Unionville, and across the country.  Thank you for always keeping me down to earth, always making me feel loved, and making me see the beauty in everyday life. 

Now that the thank yous are finished I must warn the readers that I have never blogged before in my entire life.  I have no idea how these work and I'm just going to try and make a compelling story for you!!

I have had so many adventures since being crowned Miss Delaware.

The beginning of my journey involved copious amounts of paperwork.  Because Miss America is so close this year, everything had to be finished ASAP.  I had to revamp my platform and resume, get brand new head shots, film my America's Choice video, and write my Quality of Life essays all in under two weeks.  With the help of George and Debi, I was able to turn everything in on time, which is a major accomplishment because anyone who has worked with me before knows I am terrible with paperwork (I'm looking at you Laura Moylan and Mamma K). I also took part in the contestant drawing which may be one of the most stressful experiences I have ever had!  You sit in front of the computer and wait for your state to pop up and then you only have 5 minutes to call MAO headquarters to request your spot.  I was luckily chosen early and got the exact place I wanted!!! Phew!

Being Miss Delaware involves a lot of shopping and Debi, George and I have made many a stop to find the perfect wardrobe.  I have found a love for the Cache at the Christiana Mall where Stephanie and Amanda have helped me find the perfect dresses and accessories for appearances.  I also had the pleasure of taking a road trip up to The Perfect Dress where I was astounded by the kindness and hospitality I was treated by the staff.  A giant thank you to Josh, Stephen, and Belinda for making me feel beautiful in every outfit I tried on.  It was so hard to pick out my Miss America wardrobe when everything was so beautiful!! The impossible however was completed, and I picked out my entire Miss America wardrobe!!! 

 The America's choice video took  an entire week and a half to complete.  I was so blessed to have the beautiful Longwood Gardens, The Grand Opera House,  and the UD Bookstore donate their spaces for me to film in.  The project involved so many people and I would like to thank Jordan Mizrahi, Daniel Jackson, KMC Dance, and all of the children and mothers who helped organize and donate their time to make my video a work of art. 

My first appearance was at Bethany Beach for the Fourth of July and I could not have asked for a better first experience as Miss Delaware.  I had never had the pleasure of vacationing in Bethany but I will make sure to stop there in the future.  During the parade, every person I came in contact with was so friendly, cheering my name as loudly as possible, and even following my red Corvette driven by Ed and offering me water.  The beach enjoyed me so much I ended up in the paper the next day.  I met a wonderful boy named Josh who sought me out after the parade to give me a hug and kiss before I left.  Right after Bethany, I drove to Dover for their fourth of July Parade which was a blast.  I was finally able to have my first ride in the convertible with Donald and was able to bring my bubble blower to entertain the children in the parade.  I was even able to get a killer starfish ring from one of the stands.

I was also blessed in being able to continue my platform work across the state of Delaware.  Today there are 200 Foster Children who have a Penny the Piano book encouraging finding your home within yourself and the love of the arts.  200 Foster Families have an activity guide that goes along with the book that encourages family bonding through the use of the arts and creative activities.  It was so wonderful to speak to those who are making such a difference in children's lives across the state of Delaware.  My work is just beginning however and I am starting the next chapter of my platform which is giving free lessons for foster children by creating a directory of businesses willing to donate lessons.  If you are a business or person who teaches group lessons and would be willing to donate on slot in your class for a foster child please contact me over facebook.  One child being added in a classroom is a small donation that can change a child's life.  It can be anything from music to soccer lessons, anything that can spark a child's interest and make them feel like they are a valuble member of that classroom.

I then went to the Delaware State fair on Governor's Day, which I have to say that it is the best fair ever!!  I was so blessed to spend the day with the gracious Governor Markell and he even treated his entire entourage to ice cream.  I got to see a bill turn into law before my very eyes, the bill was for helping education and furthering the study of wildlife in the state of Delaware.  My day was made when I got to pet a cow, pig, and hold a tiny chick!  I was able to sing for the leaders of Delaware that night.  I loved sharing my love of performing with such influential people in Delaware and I hope to have another opportunity to entertain.  That night I modeled dresses and jewelry for Ladies Image at the Best of Delaware.  There are so many wonderful things in Delaware and it was so exciting to see them all at the same place at the same time.

I was then invited to the Miss Maine Invitational.  I was able to meet some lovely contestants for the Miss America Pageant, stop at Schoppy's (the creators of the original Miss America Crown), visit MAO headquarters, go to Boardwalk Hall, and stop at the Sheraton to see some shoes and dresses of past Miss America contestants.  I surprisingly ran into the legendary Susan Powell!!!

 Part of my journey as a titleholder is to raise money for Children's Miracle Network and to start my fundraising, a Princess Party was held.  At the party we had pancakes, played pin the crown on the princess, sang Disney Princess Songs, and played with arts and crafts.  It was so much fun and a giant thank you to Rhonda Martell and Laura Moylan for organizing the party and to Alix Gardner, Shelli and Emalie (Emmie :P) Lawson, and Roe and Arlene Maheu for donating your time to party!  There will be another Princess Party in the future tbd.  If you want to donate to CMN follow the link below!

Rebecca Jackson Miss Delaware CMN Page

My time as Miss Delaware so far has been so incredibly rewarding and I am so blessed and lucky to be called Miss Delaware 2013.  In this up and coming month I will be working hard preparing for the Miss America stage.  I would like to thank you all for your encouraging words and love during this enriching yet stressful time.  I love the facebook messages, posts, tweets, and faith I have been receiving and please keep it coming.  It helps me remember that there is an entire state rooting for me on this difficult journey and I am working hard to make you all proud!!

Much Love
Rebecca Jackson Miss DE 2013

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