Wow, where to begin. When I decided to compete for Miss Missouri USA, I had no expectations of winning. In fact, I honestly did the pageant for fun. I thought I would make some new girlfriends and, at the very least, get a couple sparkly dresses out of the deal. If only I knew how my life would change on November 6, 2011.
There was a lot of preparation that went into the pageant. Numerous road trips with my mom to visit Ashley and Danielle at Sassy Chic in Kansas City. Long hours at the gym doing yoga, zumba, and spinning classes. Not to mention practicing walking in high heels down the hallway late at night (so sorry to my neighbors downstairs).
My mom who helped accomplish my dream
Arriving at orientation, I knew I had done everything in my power to be prepared and it was now in God's hands. Meeting the girls at orientation was wonderful! I will always cherish those friendships I made. One in particular was my roommate, Holly. Holly was one of the few girls I had met before the pageant and we just so happen to get assigned to each other as roommates. I remember going back into the dressing room at the end of the night after winning and on top of my makeup bag was a note from Holly. Holly is truly a beautiful person inside and out. As are all the incredible women who competed that weekend!
After the orientation day activities, it was time to get ready for the banquet with our families and closest friends. I was so happy to spend the evening with my family, the girls, and their parents. It was a fun evening full of family, friends, and dancing!
After the banquet it was straight to work at rehearsals.
Saturday night was time for preliminaries. I cannot express how exciting it was to finally be on stage and show the audience and judges everything I had been working so hard on the past couple months. To my surprise, I won Miss Congeniality that night!
The next morning, it was time for interviews. The judges were all so friendly and approachable, it was as though I was talking to my friends. I remember competing for Miss Missouri Teen USA roughly seven years ago and seeing the amazing Shandi Finnessey crowned Miss Missouri and later Miss USA. I will never forget how much I admired her. To my surprise, I was lucky enough to have Shandi Finnessey as one of the judges. Among the other incredible judges were Chelsea Cooley Altman (Miss USA 2005), Keith Lewis (Miss California USA director), Gretchen Polhemus Jensen (Miss USA 1989), and Beau Davidson (singer, songwriter, and actor).
Sunday night, November 6, 2011, my wildest dreams became a reality. As Jennifer began announcing the results of the pageant, everything became a blur. Looking back and forth between the judges and my family cheering in the mezzanine, I remember taking deep breaths as not to faint on stage. When all the results were announced and I had not heard my name, I felt as though I was dreaming. I remember repeating to Hope as she wrapped the sash around me, "This is not happening. I'm dreaming." Hope, being the sweetheart that she is, kindly said "Yes, this is happening" as she placed the crown on my head. Amidst my disbelief and crying, the crown fell from my head. Luckily, I caught it midway in the air. I was never letting this crown go.
That night, I went back to the hotel room Vanbros had provided for me and my mom. I placed the crown on the nightstand next to my pillow and attempted to get some beauty rest for my first official appearance as Miss Missouri USA the following morning. Of course, neither of us could get a wink of sleep. Still, I woke up as energized as ever and met with Miss Missouri Teen USA and, my swimsuit designer, Allyce King to appear on Fox 2 with Tim Ezell.
It has been a couple months since I have been blessed with this title. I have already met so many wonderful people and had many humbling experiences. We will save these for another blog post. But before I end, I want to say thank you to the entire Vanbros staff for letting me into their family. John, Jason, Jennifer, Janet, & Sherri, everything you do for your girls is inspiring. I feel so blessed to be able to spend this year with you all. Also, I am excited to get to know the other Vanbros titleholders better. I am beyond lucky to call you my sisters. xoxo