Every year, around this time, pageant season - Miss Thousand Islands season - I get this craving to watch one of my favorite movies, Drop Dead Gorgeous. It is a mockery of pageants, and a dark one at that. But for whatever reason, it gets me in the zone. So, as I struggle to put my year into words for my farewell letter, I decided I would watch it and finish blogging about Miss New York and my appearances since then.
Miss New York Pageant
My experience competing in Miss New York cannot be properly put into words. As I am sure I have expressed, I was changed in the best possible way during my time in Staten Island through all of the events and appearances that we, my sisters and I, were so lucky to be a part of.
Pageants are fun. That's the simple answer when I'm asked what I like about pageants. Miss New York was exactly that, but more than being fun, it completely challenged me, and forced me to push myself harder than ever before. You have to understand that I was competing with girls who attend some of the most prestigious arts schools in the country and who are auditioning on broadway. Of course, this was intimidating. I went into this entire experience with a specific goal set for myself. As I learned, in pageants you compete with yourself, not against the other girls. Who will win the crown is beyond your control, so the best thing to do is to have fun, be confident, and as my mom always tells me, to sparkle. Anyway, my goal was to make it to the top 11. After that, I left it up to God to decide what was best for me.
As the saying goes, a picture speaks 1000 words, so without saying anything else...
I reached my goal! And it felt good.
I was so honored to have the chance to continue to compete. I was in almost complete shock the rest of the pageant, but was elated to represent my fellow "upstate girls" in the final competition.
In the end, it was time for us all to gather on stage and embrace the winner as she began her journey as Miss New York. When Kaitlin Monte's name was called as our Miss New York 2011, I was so happy! This is one of the best parts of this organization and the girls who are involved in it. Because of the amount of time we spend with our fellow competitors, we get to know them, become close friends with them, and in that way we are always happy for the girl who leaves with a crown. Kaitlin is so deserving of this job, and I am confident that she will make us all proud not only at Miss America pageant in January, but also throughout her year as Miss New York 2011.
I would like to take this time to thank the Miss New York Board of Directors, Miss New York 2010 Claire Buffie, Miss America 2008 Kirsten Haglund, Miss New York 2008 Leigh-Taylor Smith, my MNY sisters, especially my roommate Desireé Wiley (Buffalo), and of course the Miss Thousand Islands Board of Directors, especially Sue, Shelby, Gary, Deltra, Stan, and Corri, my family, friends, and my boyfriend, Tony, for helping to make this experience what is was. I love you all!
I am also proud to announce that I was awarded several scholarships at the pageant, helping me to pay for school.
I was awarded the Miss America Community Service Award of $1000, which is a huge honor. I was also ecstatic to be named Miss New York's Favorite Contestant, for which I was awarded $400. This award was based on online voting that raised money for the scholarship fund, so I am forever grateful to all of those who voted me as their favorite contestant! I was also awarded $350 for being in the top 11. Lastly, I was awarded a community marketing award for over $200 for selling the most program advertisements. More than the money however was the numerous opportunities that I was afforded because I was able to participate in this program.
Since states, I have been extremely busy working 40 hours a week at the Crescent Yacht Club Junior Division Swim and Sail program where I am a Swim Instructor. Aside from work, and coursework for online classes, I have found time to relax and spend time with friends and family. Now, I am preparing to crown my successor on August 13 at Miss Thousand Islands 2012.
On July 9, I was scheduled to be in the French Festival parade in Cape Vincent. It would be my last official appearance as Miss Thousand Islands 2011. I woke up that morning with a terrible stomach bug and didn't think I'd be able to go. I knew I had to be there though, so I powered through and headed to the parade. I am so glad that I was able to be there, and had a blast!
The next weekend, I was so excited to meet some of our contestants at the pageant workshop, held at the home of Deltra Willis. During the workshop we did mock interviews with the girls, like the ones that I did in preparation for the state pageant, and had a modeling session to help the girls learn to pageant model. The girls also had a make up tutorial with a Mary kay consultant, and learned about the pageant weekend schedule and other details! We ended the workshop with photo ops on Deltra's pond and tree house!
Now that the movie has ended and I am just finishing this post, it is time for me to get to work on my farewell letter. So, that's all for now!