Here it is: the BIG After Miss America blogpost. As you all can imagine, I've been hiding under a rock since I got home on the 14th and sleeping most hours of the day. I am exhausted in every way shape and form, some which I didn't even know were possible. I'm completely dog tired physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, so I apologize if I haven't returned calls/texts/etc, but I'm so tired, and tired of talking about Miss America that I just need time to zone out and recover.
Am I tired of talking about Miss America because it wasn't AWESOME? No way. It was probably the best 10 days of my life so far, and I had a blast and I definitely met some new best friends. I'm just tired of repeating the same things over and over to everyone I run into. So, here's the run-down of Miss America 2013.
I arrived on the 3rd eager and nervous to find out who I would be rooming with. I had been praying for a few girls in particular who I had gotten close with in Orlando at MAOT, and whenever asked, I would say the same few girls, Wyoming, Alabama, Montana, because I felt like we bonded in August. When I checked in and they told me Lexie Madden, Miss Wyoming was my roommate, I actually started jumping around in my 4 inch heels and yelling "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!" Obviously I was pretty stoked to spend my Miss America experience with her. We had a ball, listening to Mackelmore in the mornings and bonding over our mutual love of Joel Osteen at night. She kept me motivated when I was a little down and we shared so many laughs, prayers, jokes, and stories. It still breaks my heart that she's not my "roomz" anymore, but we will definitely be meeting up ASAP. Beyond Lexie, the other girls were equally awesome. Miss Alabama constantly kept us laughing and always had something positive to say about everyone. She literally lights up every room she walks into. Miss Nebraska was definitely the class clown, and her "Girl on Fire" dance is definitely burned into my memory. I shared a lot of laughs with Miss Virgin Islands, and I will definitely be visiting for Carnival someday, and Miss Alaska is one of the most genuinely sweet women I've ever met. Miss Arkansas, our Miss Congeniality had the most contagious spirit of anyone I've ever met. She is such a strong, spiritual, and positive person, that being around her makes you want to be a better person. I loved spending time with "Little Sloane" because she is the type of person that this world needs more of. Miss Florida, thank you for sharing in immature jokes with me, you rock. Miss Massachusetts is probably one of the nicest and funniest girls I've ever met, and she kept me laughing the whole time! If y'all haven't noticed, Miss Montana and I got really close during our time out there, and I have to tell you guys, she is my role model. She is my hero and my inspiration. Alexis is the only woman with autism to grace the Miss America stage, and she has absolutely no idea how beautiful, funny, or awesome she is, or how many lives she has already changed, and will continue to change. She certainly made a lasting impression on me, and I can't wait to see her change the world. Honestly if I had time and energy to write something about every single girl I competed with, I would. I had the time of my life hanging out with all of you, from rehearsals to performances, and just all of the in between time. Each one of you have your own special place in my heart, and I am so happy to have 52 new sisters.
To answer some questions:
No, not every girl was a "Miss Congeniality," but I have to say I got along with everyone. I don't think there is a single girl who I'm not looking forward to reunited with in the future, and I think everyone there made our class special and unique.
Mallory Hytes Hagan is AWESOME. Can I repeat, SHE IS FLIPPIN AWESOME! Mallory is one of the coolest girls I have ever met, I know cool isn't a very eloquent word, but she is just so cool without even trying. She is modern, fresh, independent, and assertive, and I think she will do wonderful things for the Miss America Organization, and be a great representative of our class. She is funny, real, down-to-earth, and super honest. I am so proud to call her our Miss America, and I can't wait to see the incredible things she will accomplish this year!
Yes, Miss Wyoming is always that beautiful. She wakes up and looks like a Victoria's Secret Angel, (sickening, I know.)
I qualified for the Quality of Life award, I was one of seven finalists. The QOL award is one given by Miss America each year to a woman who is dedicated to community service, especially her platform. Miss Alabama won the QOL for her work with P.A.W.S. for Autism, and she is incredibly deserving. Anna Laura is a wonderful embodiment of how this organization is about so much more than beauty. She is beautiful, incredibly talented, and devoted to her platform and community service. You go girl!
I was awarded the Non-Finalist Interview Award, which is given to the contestant who had the best interview score and did not make the semi-finals. I can't tell you how excited I was to win this. Interview is my thing. I won an interview award at AJM nationals, and I have been working tirelessly on interview with my board since I was crowned Miss Delaware. There is only 1 NF Interview award given out, and it is announced at the reception after Miss America is crowned. I was already extremely proud of my performance at Miss America, and my placement in QOL, so being announced NF Interview winner was just the icing on the cake for me. When it was announced, I was so excited I can't even tell you what I did. I think it was a combination of yelling "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!" at Marc Angeli, while fist pumping, laughing, then crying. This means my interview will be featured on the OFFICIAL MISS AMERICA INTERVIEW DVD that people buy for preparations (yeah, no big deal) and that next to my name in the program book, it'll say NF Interview next year, which is super cool if you ask me. So yeah, to sum it up, I'm extremely thrilled with my performance and the way Miss America played out. I think that any of the women in the Top 5 would have been beautiful Miss Americas, and I could not have hand picked 5 more accomplished and wonderful women to be standing at the end.
I also have to make a quick aside to talk about Miss Montana one more time. The fact that Alexis was able to compete in the top 16 at Miss America speaks volumes about this organization. Growing up with autism isn't easy, and autism rates are growing every day. To see a beautiful, accomplished, and eloquent 18-year old with autism take the Miss America stage has already changed so many lives. This organization is about showing young women that we CAN achieve anything, if we really go for it and put ourselves out there. I hope that anyone who is struggling right now with confidence, self-worth, or any kind of hardship can look at Alexis as a lesson and a role model. Growing up was not easy for her. She told me she has been called so many nasty names, including the "R" word, and look at her now. She has been featured on CNN, FOX, ABC, and all over the internet, spreading her message of perseverance, hard work, and dedication. Thank you for being such a good role model to our country, and for inspiring everyone you meet, even though you have no idea the effect you have. I love you like crazy and I'm so honored to call you one of my friends.
Obviously, no sour grapes here. I didn't go into this with an all-or-nothing mentality so I think I walked away gaining a lot more that many women do. I know I have a few new bridesmaids someday, and girls who will be my best friends for years to come. Am I disappointed that I didn't make semi-finals? Of course I am. We all want that recognition. We all work so hard to go and be competitive, but sometimes things don't work out the way we hope they do. Would I change anything about my experience? No. I made my own choices, and I performed everything to the best of my ability. Also, to everyone telling me "You should have made top 16," "you should have won," etc, I appreciate your support, I truly do, but that's not true. God has a plan all along, he knows the who, how, and why of it all, and obviously His plan didn't include that for me. It's only in God's plan for one woman to be Miss America every year. He knows who is ready for the job of Miss America, and who can use that platform to better herself, her country, and the MAO: That girl is Mallory Hagan. I am 100% confident that she will be a shining example of this organization, and bring it to new heights. I am thankful that His plan led me to Las Vegas to make 52 friends and live out every girl's wildest dreams. I am thankful He is giving me 6 more months of service in the great state of Delaware, and I am thankful to be returning to school and normal life next August. This experience has changed my life, and I'd just like to thank everyone who played a role in making this possible, it certainly takes a village to raise Miss Delaware, and I can't imagine doing this alone.
Still your Miss Delaware,
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you, plans to give you hope and a future." - Jeremiah 29:11