Thursday, March 6, 2014

Becoming Miss Empire Star - Thank You

When I first started writing my 'Becoming Miss Empire Star' post, I thought it would be short and sweet. I thought wrong! As I neared the end of my post, it became very clear that I was going to need more time and more space to adequately thank everyone who was a part of my pageant season this year. Without their encouragement, advice, and guidance, I would not be one of the newest titleholders in the Empire State.

To all of the girls who competed this weekend--I cannot say enough wonderful things about every one of you. The sisterhood that I experienced was incredible. You were ALL fabulous. To those of who who I had the chance to spend a little more time one-on-one with: Amanda D., I'm so glad we finally got to really compete together! I'm so glad that pageantry brought us together. Claudette, I love your Latina spice and smarts. It was a pleasure to compete with you again. Cassie, you are a true sweetheart and I know your future is shining bright. Jeredith, you kept it real and kept me laughing all weekend. I'm so glad we got to compete together again and that we live so close! Amanda A., you are gorgeous, a savvy shopper, and so much fun. We need to bargain hunt together, haha! Jamie, you have such a heart for your platform and are a genuinely beautiful person. I'm so glad we got to meet! Michaela, it has been so fun to compete with you twice this season and see you grow so much over the span of two weeks. You are a wonderful competitor, but more importantly, a wonderful person. Bianca, we will forever be old dogs together! I am so glad to have met you this year--you are inspirational, talented, and so poised both on and off the stage. Abby, I'm glad to be your pageant mom and hope to see you competing for years to come...after you teach me to dance as well as you do!

To all of the girls I've competed with this year--I could not ask for better friends or a more encouraging support system. Some of us are already gearing up to spend Miss NY week together! Madison, your sweet spirit and kind heart always bring a smile to my face, be it backstage or via Facebook message. Olivia, I couldn't ask for a better roommate and can't wait to spend our first Miss NY experience together! Anneliese, the curse is broken! I'm glad to have had the chance to shed my own ugly tears, and I am so glad we get to be first time titleholders together this year! Kristina, you came all the way to Syracuse to cheer me on at the pageant and I can't tell you how much that meant to me! I am counting down the days until summer vacation and the chance to hang out and hopefully support you at next year's Miss Thousand Islands pageant!

To my new sister queens, Katelynn and Cat--I cannot wait to spend this year together! Cat, I'm so glad we got to spend more time together backstage this weekend. You make me laugh, you're passionate about your platform, and are insanely talented. Katelynn, we may not have spent as much time together, but I've heard nothing but wonderful things about you and am looking forward to getting to know each other better this year.

An Empire of Awkwardness

To all of the organizations who have welcomed me with open arms this season and supported my pageant growth in so many ways--Miss Thousand Islands family, competing in Clayton was well worth the trip! You were my reintroduction to MAO, my first ever experience placing, and supportive friends at every pageant this year. Miss Flower City family, you treated each of the girls competing this year like we were queens. You continued to cheer us all on, you were there to give hugs and encouragement when I was feeling down, and I know you are going to create a wonderful legacy in Rochester through your work. Miss Finger Lakes family, thanks for welcoming me as a pageant judge and a pageant competitor, as well as your kind words of support all year. Miss Syracuse family, you have a heart for all of your competitors that is unmatched. Thank you for your kindness, your muffins, and your chocolate roses. I'm so excited to work with you and your titleholders this year!

Each time I took the stage, my poise and preparation was thanks to a wonderful group of friends who were not afraid to give me constructive criticism and help me grow. I am so thankful for your support: Chris, Kandice, Jesse, and the entire Complete Physique team.  A special shoutout to Blow and Beyond in Bronxville for keeping my hair looking shampoo-commercial ready for pageant weekend!

To my Westchester pageant sisters--Megan, Jackie, and Bianca: thank you SO much for cheering me on this year. Your encouraging texts brought such a smile to my face whenever I was feeling down. Megan, you and Kaitlyn braved the snow to cheer me on in Syracuse. You also were there to listen to me when I was feeling down on myself, and I tried to channel your swimsuit sass when I was on stage. I'm not quite at your level yet!

To Tom, Maura, Joe, and Greg--I'm so thankful to have a second family that encourages my dreams and is willing to go on pageant adventures with me! My new pageant goal is to work with Guiding Eyes for the Blind, so that I can bring tons of friends to visit Duke

To my family--you get a special thanks for dealing with my pageant insanity this season! I sang at all sorts of odd hours, paraded through the house in heels, practiced interview questions on car rides, and  generally made things crazy. Mom, thank you for traveling with me to each and every pageant this year. We've spent hours on the rode, and you sacrificed your time to support my dream. Dad, it meant the world to me to see your face in the crowd at the Empire pageant. I was not expecting that wonderful surprise! Thank you for taking a painful car trek to Albany. It was so special to hug you after winning the title. Shannon, you are my number 1 fan from Kentucky, and you always made me laugh when I started taking myself so seriously. I love you all so much.

There are so many other people who have made this experience so wonderful--from coworkers, to family, to friends--and I'm sorry that I'm not able to name you all. I just hope that you know that I appreciate each and every one of you, and I can't wait to make you proud this year.

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