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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