Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Miss America's Outstanding Teen Pageant--Orlando, FL.

My trip to the Miss America's Outstanding Teen Pageant (MAOT) was the first time I would be meeting my Miss America Class of 2010. I was so excited to meet all of the girls!! I knew there would be a few of my friends from the National Sweetheart Pageant 2008 and I couldn't wait to see those girls again. My excitement was rising and I was ready to check into my hotel and start a fun-filled week.

Upon arrival, Miss Utah, Whitney Merrifield, (my MAOT roommate and a Sweetheart sister) and I were continually texting. When she got to the hotel, we began getting ready for the second night of the preliminary competition. We were so excited to finally realize our journey to Miss America had begun.

Blue dress: Jovani

Most of the 53 contestants had arrived by the time the MAOT prelim night two started and we were all sitting together in the audience. The opening number of the MAOT pageant was adorable and the dresses were too cute. The show began and Katie Stam, Miss America 2009, graced us with her presence. The entire audience was immediately drawn to her, I definitely was. She is absolutely beautiful, simply stunning. It is an honor to get to know her and have her as a mentor to the "class of 2010" Miss America contestants.

After the prelims, the reality of being Miss New York truly set in. All of the Miss America contestants were taken into a conference room to meet the Miss America board of directors. It was here when Sam Haskell, the MAO chairman of the board, announced "one of you WILL BE the next Miss America" WOW!!! Instantly, I was covered in chill bumps and envisioned that one person could be ME!! This statement was said so much throughout the week and made this journey to Miss America such a reality! The time has come! woohoo!

(Black dress: Jovani)

After a great nights sleep and dreams of becoming Miss America, we had an early morning photo op with our new "Go Green Initiative" (www.naturesbottles.com). This is a new sponsor of the Miss America Organization. Miss America 2010 will promote the importance of staying green, as well as her personal platform, and the national platform of the Miss America Organization, The Children's Miracle Network.

                                                                                                                          (Natures Bottle T-shirts)
Next stop was a quick taping with Katie and Sam for TLC. TLC shot B roll/interviews for the special that will be airing the night before the Miss America Pageant, Live from Las Vegas on TLC, 8pm EST.

Some girls went on to tape their official TLC interviews that will stream online. Since my interview was the next day, I went to the pool to relax and hang out with some of the other contestants. I wanted to take advantage of the extra time we had to get to know them.

Later that evening, we attended a dinner at Maggiano's Little Italy Restaurant. Our dinner was hosted by the lovely Mary Sullivan, ED of the Miss Florida Organization, and the great David Lang and Carry Oneal, owners of Regalia Magnificent Apparel. This dinner was special because we got to sit with one another and go around the room and share a fun fact about ourselves. I shared that I am a first-generation Slovak American and a professional actress in New York. After a great meal and socializing with everyone, it was off to the 3rd night of preliminaries.

Friday morning I had my official TLC interview. This interview was enjoyable and my questions were mostly about my platform work and New York City. These interviews will be aired online so America can get to know each contestant better and vote contestants into the top 15. 

Following the interviews, we had another free day to relax. I met with Regalia to try on different evening gowns. During this fitting, TLC taped some footage of me trying on gowns. Katie showed them around the showroom and we took a few takes discussing the gown I had on and other gowns that were appealing to me. It was really special working closely with Katie; she's a great on-camera host.

                                                                                                                           (white dress: edress me)
Katie later hosted the Westgate Resorts Foundation Miss America Fundraiser at the Siegel Estate. The Siegel Estate was to die for. I guess it isn't too shabby living across the lake from Tiger Woods!! You have to love it!! :) What a beautiful home they had and I thank them for opening their home to the Miss America Organization. Oh yeah and donating $25,000 to our scholarships. THANK YOU!!

The final day of my trip consisted of official meetings to discuss the Miss America Pageant, autograph signings, and the crowning of Miss America's Outstanding Teen!! Our first meeting of the day was exciting. We discussed the details of Vegas, appearances, the production of the pageant, rehearsals, and of course the final crowning of Miss America 2010. Who can't get excited about that?? :) When this meeting ended we were so overwhelmed with joy. I know I was ready to fly home that second and get moving towards my goal of becoming Miss America.

Prior to the final crowning of MAOT, the "Miss" contestants had an autograph signing and then we attended the pageant. The MAOT girls were phenomenal. They are so talented and intelligent I am proud to be a part of an organization promoting the excellent of these amazing young girls.

That evening one little girl's dream of becoming Miss America's Outstanding Teen was fulfilled, as one of the 53 Miss America Contestant's dream will be fulfilled in January. Before we knew it...we had a top 10, top 5, and a crowning moment. Miss Wisconsin's Outstanding Teen, Jeanette Morlan. Congratulations honey! Best of luck to a great year.

My week in Orlando was so much fun and I'm glad I had an opportunity to meet all of the girls before we arrive in Vegas for the actual competition. The road to Miss America 2010 will be full of hope, hardwork, and excitement all in one. I can't wait!! :)

Thank you to Stephanie Rygorsky for providing my wonderful wardrobe compliments of edress me, Vera Wang, Jovani, and Wink.

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