Well, I'm not sure where to start. The past few days have been such a whirlwind of excitement that I have hardly had the chance to sit and process the fact that I am now Miss Thousand Islands. I couldn't be happier. I'd like to start this first post by telling you a little bit about my journey to become Miss Thousand Islands.
As I said to the judges in my interview on Saturday, "third time's a charm." I began competing in pageants following my graduation from Lyme Central School in 2008, my first pageant being the Miss Thousand Islands pageant. I had no experience in pageantry, and had never intended on competing. My mom was really the one who ended up convincing me that doing something I love, performing, for a chance to win scholarship money, wasn't such a bad idea. So, with my senior prom dress, an Italian aria I had learned for my NYSSMA solo, a normal bikini, and some painful shoes from a regular shoe store in the mall, I arrived on the day of my first pageant feeling very prepared. Little did I know, the pageant world was much more than I thought. Although inexperienced, I walked away with a few hundred dollars in scholarships, new friends, and had won 1st runner up! I think the most important lesson I learned from this pageant was to have fun, be confident, and let God's will be done. I ended up competing in a second pageant before going back to Miss Thousand Islands the next year. I decided that I wanted nothing more than to be Miss Thousand Islands. I spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars on pageant 'stuff' and was ready to win. The outcome of the pageant was not what I had expected, and I was devastated. After days and weeks and months of contemplation over this, I realized that what I had lacked in the pageant was confidence and I had taken it too seriously, and didn't let myself have fun. After competing in another 'practice' pageant, I came back this year not only armed with a lovely pageant wardrobe, but also with my true self and my confidence, and most importantly, I had a blast! I have absolutely grown and learned so much from the pageant world, and have realized that although the ultimate prize is the crown, I have gained so much from being involved in pageants.
I can't even describe how I felt when my name was called, and I was announced as Miss Thousand Islands 2011. I have to mention, and I am sure all of my had pageant sisters can relate to this: some of the most nerve wracking moments I have ever experienced have been on stage in pageants, waiting for the winner to be announced. The night I was crowned, I told someone that while waiting, it felt like my heart was going to pound itself out of my chest and roll out the opera house doors into the river! Looking at pictures, I feel as though I had a pretty typical pageant queen reaction, although there was no face fanning. It's hard to imagine what it will feel like to win or how one will react, and I must admit, I never saw myself as a crier - however, there were tears along with lots of smiling! Now, as we all know, pageant guru or not, there is always the first walk that follows the crowning (which is more like a wall squat - thanks Kristina :-)) during which the winner waves to the audience. According to Shelby, it is bad luck to practice this sequence, and while I am glad I didn't taint myself by practicing, I have to admit I was turning back to Kristina to ask what I was supposed to be doing. Let's just say, my wave needs some work! :-)
In terms of Miss T.I. duties, I have only had one and it has been to sign the program books for our sponsors as Miss Thousand Islands. As my first duty, I felt special sitting in my E.D.'s living room signing my 'autograph'. I'd like to take the time to thank all of our sponsors and the people who make this pageant a reality, especially Sue, Shelby, Gary, and the Board of Directors. You are all amazing and I am so excited to spend a year working with you all!
I'd also like to thank a few others for special gifts that I received as Miss T.I. Thank you so much to Sherry, Cyndi, and the girls at the Ritz Salon for the amazing gift basket - I love it! Thanks to Barbara Yerdon for the Mary Kay gift certificate! Also, a big thanks to Darcy Burns for the beautiful blue jewelry! To Kristina Ferris, Miss Thousand Islands 2010, thank you for your support, advice, and your special words left in my crown box. You will forever be in the Miss T.I. family, and always Miss T.I. 2010. Your warm welcome into the Miss T.I. family means the world to me (and by warm, I mean the burning of my thighs as you crowned me ;-P) Thank you to, of course, my family and friends, and to all of you who have been so supportive and left congratulatory messages for me - I thank you from the bottom of my heart. And to all of my pageant sisters, especially to those of you with whom I competed on Saturday, you are all some of the most talented and beautiful girls I have ever met and I want to say thank you for making my pageant weekend even more special and I hope that you all had fun, and will come back next year, and that I might see some of you at Miss New York!
As I begin my first week as Miss. T.I., I am preparing to go back to Ithaca College, where I am a Junior Communication Management and Design major in the Roy H. Park School of Communications. I will be living in my very first apartment and am very excited! It is also my last week of work as a Water Safety Instructor and Lifeguard at the CYC Junior Division Swim and Sail program in Chaumont. So, with a busy week ahead of me, I need to end this post by thanking you all again. I will be posting as much as I can, hopefully at least once a week, and hope to hear from many of you!
All the best,
Miss Thousand Islands 2011