I recently got back from Las Vegas after competing with delegates from all over the country in my first ever national pageant. To give a little background, I first started competing in pageants about five years ago and have been hooked ever since. The excitement and opportunity that surround this industry always keep me coming back year after year.
This past April I entered my eighth competition, the Miss Teen Massachusetts United States pageant, in hopes of finally capturing the crown. I was so thrilled when my hard work and dedication paid off as my name was announced as the 2011 winner!
Fast forward three months, and before I knew it, I was packing my luggage (gown and all!) and hopping on a Vegas-bound plane to the national competition! My schedule was packed with all sorts of events and appearances for the entire nationals week. Since all contestants stayed at The Orleans Hotel, where the pageant was held, we were able to bond throughout our ten days together.
On the first day, after attending Orientation in the morning, everyone got all dolled up and dressed in gowns …to go bowling! Our host hotel boasts a 70 lane Bowling Alley, so what better way to kick off a fun and exciting week?! I have to admit, though, that we chatted and took pictures more than we actually bowled! We were also very pleasantly surprised when shoe designer and former Project Runway finalist, Johnathan Kayne, showed up to the event! I was especially thrilled to see him there because the shoes I would be wearing on stage later that week were designed by him, and I got him to sign them!
Another highlight of my week was The Supermodels with Style fashion show that all delegates participated in. The show was put on by Supermodels Unlimited Magazine and the theme was denim and diamonds. The only requirement when choosing your outfit was incorporation of the theme and it was so entertaining to see everyone’s creative side! After thinking long and hard about what I wanted to wear, my director and I decided to go all out and rock some showgirl feathers in true Vegas fashion. I had a great time modeling on stage and watching parts of the show!
All week we had rehearsal after rehearsal leading up to Prelims on Wednesday, July 13th and finals on Thursday, July 14th. Wednesday morning, I had a one-on-one interview with five different judges ranging from a former pageant titleholder, a country musician, and even a few business people. We only had three minutes to meet with each judge and answer their questions. Most inquired about whatever they found most interesting on my resume, and some threw in questions that were a little more off topic. One judge asked me about NASA’s Space Shuttle while another asked me who my favorite musical artist was and why. Wednesday night, I competed for the same panel in swimsuit and evening gown then eagerly awaited what the following day would bring. I became so close to the other contestants and so inspired by everyone’s charisma. By the time Thursday night hit, nobody had a solid prediction of who the winner would be. Everyone was so deserving for different reasons.
The night of finals was bittersweet. All of the girls, including myself, were happy to end an amazing week on a great note, but also a little melancholy to leave their new friends and go back home. At the end of the night, Miss Teen Virginia became the new Miss Teen United States and confetti poured as she took her first walk as a national titleholder. I was so happy to see her win, and know she has an incredible year ahead of her! After getting to know her throughout the pageant week, I know that the crown is in good hands.
Over all, Nationals was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life! I feel that this pageant has brought out the best in me and helped me to be a more confident person. My poise was brought out on stage and my horizons were broadened by each contestant’s unique background. I feel so lucky to have had this opportunity and know I will never forget it!