How on earth can I share what I went through during the last week? I’m trying to split it up into different categories so that I can cover as much as possible. It was everything I thought it would be... except better. I was blown away by how much fun I had in one week!
Obviously I don’t how know
Obviously my most dreaded aspect of competition. Since winning
Maybe other girls have more time, or parents who can help support them in college. My family situation is different, and so in addition to a full course load, I worked a job on campus and one off campus- usually for a total of about 30 hours a week. Since the summer began, I work between 60-70 hours a week between my two jobs. I made this work because I didn’t’ have to focus on writing papers, and I’m proud of the progress I made. Certainly some people will always think I am “big”. I am almost six feet tall and currently
The worst part of my week was when we took the pictures for swimsuit. As soon as my roommate and I got downstairs, I was whisked away to do a TV interview- in my bathing suit. Knowing that the camera adds ten pounds, this was the most nerve-wracking part of my week. At least I got it out of the way on Monday!
I have to say that although I have work to do, this was the best I have felt about my body in years. Many wouldn’t understand, but I grew up in a home with a parent who constantly degraded the way you looked, your intelligence, etc. Although this has inspired me to work a great deal with my platform of domestic violence, for many years I had no self-esteem. Getting involved in pageantry has certainly helped me with that, although anyone close to me will tell you that I am my own worst critic. Walking on stage in my swimsuit on Friday and Saturday was nerve-wracking, but at the same time, full of pride, because I knew I had worked really hard. Perhaps some people can’t see that, but that’s okay with me. I know the improvements I have made. My body was never meant to be
Certainly, what we gain from pageantry is something you cannot measure in monetary terms. I learned more during Miss
My directors were absolutely outstanding. Their help, combined with my mother, the Pryors, and many anonymous donors, made this experience possible. I simply could not have afforded it on my own. The amount of clothing that I had to acquire in two short months was nearly overwhelming, and the fact that we did it at all was amazing. We picked up the last round from the seamstress on the day before I left for
And please, anyone who wants to help me find evening gowns, please ask my mother, gown shop owners, or my directors, what a nightmare it is! I tried on 71 gowns to get the ones that I needed. They simply don't make evening gowns long enough for someone as tall as I am, and I have heard the words "custom made" (which I can't afford) many times from people in dress shops!
Much thanks also goes to the women backstage, and Taylor Witte, who graciously gave me safety pins, after my pants fell down during talent rehearsal (yes, they were that loose).
There were so many little mishaps during the week, and I truly felt like Miss
The girls were truly the best part of the week. It amazes me sometimes that you can hear negative things from people in pageant land about other contestants. After this week, I’m truly convinced that these naysayers don’t have a clue. I doubt they’ve ever gone through a pageant like this, and I certainly doubt that they have spent any time with any of the girls they have earmarked “divas”, “untalented”, or “rude”. Obviously this is the most competitive pageant I have ever been involved in, but I have to say that this group of women was outstanding. I think all of us were blown away by the skill level in talent, the intelligence of the other girls, and the inner beauty that shined in each area of competition. I feel so blessed to have spent so much time with these wonderful women!
It seems there are a lot of armchair judges in this world. For every compliment you hear about your evening gown, swimsuit, talent, makeup, hair, etc, there are equally as many people who didn’t like it. What matters at the end of the day is how you feel in your clothing and presentation, and how those 7 people in the front of the audience felt about it. For all the people who have supported each girl all year long, thank you for understanding the hard work and time we put into this because we believe in the power of this organization.
There are people who sit in the audience and miss the traumas that happen backstage. One of the highlights of the week for me was watching Kristena Wright perform her talent. During her talent rehearsal on Friday, she hurt herself so badly that she was taken to a doctor. Since Commonwealth and Fairfax were alphabetical neighbors, I was frequently near Kristena in the lineup. It was obvious that her back was in a lot of pain. But you’d never know it once she hit that stage. She was limping around backstage and clearly in terrible pain- but as I watched from the wings it was obvious this girl is a performer. She stepped onto that stage and seemed to leave any pain backstage with the rest of us. She danced her heart out, and those kinds of moments are the times that your heart is absolutely touched. As soon as she came offstage she was in tremendous pain again, but to push through something like that to give a memorable performance like she did was amazing. And Kristena is one of many girls in the Miss Virginia organization who show strength of character and a belief that “the show must go on” no matter what hardships you experience on or off the stage. I would encourage people to take the time to really get to know these women, because they are incredible.
The Top 11:
I’m thinking about changing my lucky number to 11. I won my 11th local pageant, and by some twist of fate, was selected as part of the Top 11 at Miss
I have doubts that I was able to garner a majority of 10,000 votes. 5,000 of those votes were cast during the week I was in
The experience overall:
Overrall, I had a great time. I’m not sure if they’ll hold the Commonwealth pageant as late as it was this year next time around, but I think all of us who lived through it would be hesitant. It really isn’t enough time to get ready for Miss
I am most relived to be able to finally focus on my life outside pageantry for a little bit. I’m moving to go to graduate school during July, and I’ll also be saying goodbye to my boyfriend as he leaves for a yearlong deployment in
I’ll be back… soon!