Thursday, January 29, 2009


Hi everyone! I wanted to check in briefly!

I haven't had any appearances in the last week, although I have one on Saturday and may go over additionally to watch the Miss Hanover pageant. It has been a busy week adjusting to new classes and my new teaching assignment. I am helping teaching International Relations Theory, which is a great class. I also got my own teaching evaluations from last semester back and they were really good. My students evaluated me as "excellent" in every category so I definitely felt like this was the right career choice for me. I am taking a pedagogy course this semester as well to improve my teaching skills and to learn from other grad students about what they are encountering in their undergrad experiences! My grades from last semester also came out and they were wonderful, so hard work does pay off! This semester I'm also continuing to volunteer with Virginia Tech AWARE, which is a program at Blacksburg Middle School speaking to girls about self-esteem, making healthy choices, good friendships, and other topics. And it's a small world, because Miss Chesterfield, Stephanie Connelly, volunteers there, too!

Over the last couple of weeks I've been able to catch up with many Miss Virginia "friends and family" and I hope that continues! Best of luck to the rest of the girls as the local season winds down.

I have some REALLY exciting appearances coming up that I am so excited to share! On Saturday I am volunteering with a Girl Scout event called Step Afrika in Roanoke. I'm also planning my local Girl Scout troop here get ready for "Thinking Day" which is a day for local girl scout troops to learn about different countries by making crafts, sharing songs and dances, and tasting different foods. Since I lived in England for a year, our troop is going to be sharing some of my pictures from England and doing some great crafts. That is coming up in February. Also in February I'll be attending Miss Smith Mountain Lake, likely with some of the Hill City/Star City queens, because it's in the local area, and I've been asked to perform there. I'm also serving as a judge at the Mr. Nelson County pageant, a fundraiser for a local cheerleading team in Nelson County. I'll also be speaking with a local Lion's Club and Kiwanis Club here in February, so it's a busy month! Let's hope it stays a little bit warmer here, there have been a few times I needed a jump start from AAA!

I'm also preparing for a very exciting event that's coming up in March which I will tell you about more in the future as it comes together! There are several Girl Scout events coming together in this month that I am very excited to be a part of. I'm so glad I've been able to share my Girl Scout experience and connect it as Miss Hill City/Miss Commonwealth to reach out to others.

Keeping busy as Miss Hill City!


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Miss VA in the news

Please read the following news article I got in my google alerts... it's definitely from someone who has the right attitude...

A new Miss America is crowned

Last night I traveled to my alma mater to spend time with friends and watch the Miss America pageant.

And I did a little experiment. I watched the pageant with ten college age women- only one of whom had watched Miss America in the last 5 years. I decided to gauge how some people my age who otherwise wouldn’t watch the pageant felt about TLC’s 2009 attempt to push the pageant forward.

There were many thoughts that came forward throughout the night from this group of viewers and I wanted to share them, because as pageant fans, it’s rare for us to get to know what non-pageant people think from the audience.

This group of viewers instantly fell in love with Miss GA and HI. They felt that these two chose the best and brightest gowns. They also felt that these two had great swimsuit selections and outstanding talents. In fact, when Miss Hawaii was eliminated from competition, the entire room was vocally devastated! After Hawaii was taken out of the competition, Georgia was considered to be the frontrunner and the group felt that Miss Georgia was “robbed” of the Miss America title. The group cheered after Miss Georgia answered her onstage question and one girl yelled “you get it, girl” and it was clear that for this group of young women, Miss Georgia was “the it girl” that Miss America is constantly trying to find.

The group was bemused by what they called Miss FL’s “frying pan dance” and felt that the bottom of her dress was somewhat distracting, but they liked the shape of her haircut. The group was confused by the continuing advancement of Iowa and Tennessee in what they felt should have been “Hawaii’s” place. The only dance the group enjoyed watching was Miss Michigan. They felt Miss Iowa had great talent but they didn't like the song- one comment was "did her CD stop working?" and again, they felt like Miss Iowa was taking Hawaii's spot later in the night.

The group felt that Miss New York was easily the prettiest contestant and they were pulling for her. They felt she had the best swimwear selection (as did the judges, considering she won a swimsuit preliminary earlier in the week) and they loved her spunky personality and fun tidbits on the bottom on the screen). They thought her evening gown stood out among a sea of really typical Miss America gowns and thought this girl projected confidence and spunk.

After the new Miss America, Indiana, was crowned, the group was excited, but felt for Georgia still especially when the camera zoomed in on what looked like a shot of Georgia crying.

The group also did not like the fact that girls were eliminated at each stage of competition and given little to no time to get ready for evening wear, there was even a shot of Miss New York running into the dressing room practically ripping her swimsuit off. The girls felt that Clinton Kelly was acting a little strange the entire night and hated the way he acted in the “elimination lounge” picking on Miss Texas when she was clearly having an emotional night. They felt it was truly unfair to give the girls no time to prepare for their talents but the group enjoyed the more contemporary talent performances, and were surprised that the judges eventually opted for a more classic look and performance with Miss Indiana.

Although overall I liked the show, I wanted to share what a group of college age women who otherwise would not watch the pageant would think. It was an eye-opening experience for me, being a longtime pageant watching veteran, and it was funny how quickly my friends cast aside certain gowns with a simple “no-too shiny” or how quickly they fell in love with certain contestants who they clearly felt had the “it” quality.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Tomorrow night, one amazing young woman is going to be given the opportunity of a lifetime in Las Vegas. One of the 52 young women out there competing for Miss America will begin the journey she’s always dreamed of, and all of us will be sitting on the edge of our seats, wondering who it will be.

Only one woman can win…so that means that 51 young ladies will walk away without that pretty crown and sash that they have been preparing their entire lives for. 37 young women will not even be able to compete tomorrow night, because only the top 15 earns the right to compete again on Saturday’s finals.

And I know tomorrow I’m going to bite my nails down to the core hoping to hear “Miss Virginia, Tara Wheeler” not just because I’m a Virginia fan but because I KNOW how outstanding Tara is personally. Tara is the epitome of everything this program stands for, and knowing who Tara is and what she stands for is truly a blessing; I only hope the judges got to see in ten minutes in interview what is obvious to me and the other contestants here in Virginia. Tara Wheeler has EVERYTHING it takes to be Miss America. She has left her soul on that stage, I have no doubt of that. Tara has put miles on her car. She has driven across the state to visit a contestant in a car accident. She has persevered despite a tiring schedule. For those who don’t know, Miss Virginia is a full time job, and Tara does it well. She has poured hours into her appearances as well as her Miss America preparation. She also makes time to just be “Tara” and spend time with friends and family, and we all know that being just Tara is what got her this far.

One question I get a lot during my own appearances is “Are you jealous of Tara” since Miss America is just around the corner. Am I jealous of her experiences? You bet! I think all of us Virginia girls want to have that year as Miss Virginia, but I am not jealous of Tara… it was my pleasure to lose to her this past June, because Tara was 100% ready for this job and has given all of herself to this mission.

Maybe some people will be upset if Tara’s name is not called tomorrow night as a top 15 semi-finalist, but there is something about the Miss America pageant. At that level, ANY of those women could do it. Looking at the preliminary pictures, the women are gorgeous. The gowns are stunning. The talents are spot-on. The swimsuits display fit bodies. The women are intelligent. It’s a one in 52 chance, and I know that Tara could do that job. It depends on the judges that week. If Tara is not chosen as Miss America tomorrow night, it is every bit Virginia’s gain, because we get to keep her right here in VA the next six months serving the Commonwealth which we know she does extremely well! That being said, I have a very strong feeling in my gut that Tara will be called as a finalist tomorrow night, but I want to share how proud I am of our Miss Virginia no matter what. What Tara does on a daily basis is an incredible thing and no matter how the cards fall (haha, Vegas pun!) she deserves the support of everyone.

When I think about the Miss America pageant, I think about glamour, grace, intelligence, and talent. Tara has all of that, and I can’t wait to see the pageant tomorrow! Best of luck to a beautiful Miss Virginia!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Pictures of Tara from Vegas

I found a few photos of Tara from Vegas! She looks great!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tuesday Night Prelims

Miss Oklahoma

Miss Georgia

Miss Hawaii

Miss Indiana

Miss Florida

Last night was the first night of competition in Las Vegas for Miss America. Miss VA, Tara Wheeler, competed in talent, and I am sure she did a great job.

We are so lucky to have the world's best photographer, Virginia's own Julius Tolentino, out in Vegas taking photos!

Last night's preliminary winners were Indiana (Swimsuit) and Delaware (Talent).

I've included pictures of my favorite evening gowns! I have to say that so far Indiana and Georgia look EXTREMELY strong! Both are clear favorites on the reality show and with Indiana picking up a swimsuit win I am curious whether there is a lot of buzz about her out there in Vegas! She definitely looks like a Miss America, as does Georgia! I am still pulling for Tara, though! I know no one can match her speaking skills!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Appearances from Last Week

Last week I had a series of appearances and I wanted to share them and some photos from the week!

On Monday I presented to the Pulaski Rotary Club in Pulaski, Virginia. The club was very welcoming and it was great to meet the members!

On Tuesday I attended a meeting of the Blacksburg Newcomers Club. I was invited by my friend Erin, because the club is working on a traveling sculpture whose proceeds will benefit the Women's Resource Center of the New River Valley. I was happy to contribute to the sculpture and meet some of the members of the club and share my story!

That afternoon I drove to Lynchburg to have dinner with a friend I used to work with. Then I spoke to a daisy girl scout troop and later a Cadette Girl Scout troop who I will be working with later on a fashion show!

On Wednesday I traveled out to Giles County to speak to a Girl Scout troop about self-esteem and pageants!

On Thursday I spoke to the Lynchburg Optimist Club which was a wonderful experience! The members of this club asked me wonderful questions and really made me feel welcome! Later that day I drove back to Blacksburg to volunteer as a Mary Kay face model for a woman I met at the Newcomer's Club earlier that week!

On Friday I drove over to Richmond to help out at the Miss Piedmont Region pageant for the weekend!

It was busy to say the least, but I really enjoyed it and it was great to meet lots of new people!

Monday, January 19, 2009

I don't know that I could ever hope to write about this weekend in an eloquent way without leaving something important out!

As many of my readers know, this weekend two new titleholders were crowned. I was absolutely thrilled to hear that Farahn Morgan was named the new Miss Mountain Empire. Farahn is what you can call a "spitfire" and has a wonderful personality! She was wonderful at Miss Virginia last year and had earlier been named 1st runner up at Miss Hill City/Star City.

I spent my weekend in Richmond helping out at the new local Miss Piedmont Region. There are so many times in my volunteer work with or for this organization that one can really be blown away by the dedication from people on all sides of the pageant. This pageant was directed by Sherri McKinney and Hester Fletcher, and if you have ever met either of these women, you know the commitment and love they have for doing this. Their passion was obvious during the whole weekend, and I was glad I got to see pageant production from "the other side".

The directors were wonderful, the judges were great, and the contestants were OUTSTANDING. If you have any doubts about the future of America, please spend a weekend with some of the ladies dreaming of becoming Miss Virginia. I heard stories this weekend of triumph over all odds, pushing through despite stress and grief, and I was just floored getting to talk to all of these women. I truly wish there had been a crown for every girl because they truly all deserved to be up on that stage in Roanoke.

Veronica Rohmoser is one very lucky woman because she easily just inherited one of the most fun and dedicated committees! I think every girl had a great time this weekend! Another one of my favorite things about this program is getting to know the younger girls, too! It was my pleasure to emcee the teen and preteen pageant. It's incredible what these girls do at such a young age! And of course, I got to spend my time with my favorite little girl, Olivia Fletcher, Miss Hill City's Preteen!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Piedmont and Mountain Empire

This weekend two young women earned the right to compete on the Miss Virginia stage this June! I have more blog entries about who won as well as all of my appearances last week coming soon!

I want to thank all my readers for pushing me into over 10,000 hits on this blog!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Miss Piedmont Region This Weekend!

Please come out this weekend to support a great new local pageant, Miss Piedmont Region! This pageant has wonderful contestants in every age category and your ticket is well worth the night of talent! I'll be on hand to emcee the teen/preteen pageant and help crown the new Miss Piedmont Region!

Pageant Info:
Saturday, January 17th
Teen/Preteen 4:00 PM
Miss: 6:30 PM
Deep Run High School
Glen Allen, Virginia

So, who's competing?

Preteen: Alison Kinsey (daughter of outstanding spray tanner, Stephanie!)
Madison Sherrer

Loren McAdams
Katie Gross
Prentiss Marquis
Diamond Quarles
Annika Wooten
Katie Dickerson

LaWanda Weatherspoon
Melanie Torrence
Christina Nicholson
Sarah Lee Fitzpatrick (Miss Lynchburg 08)
Taylor Witte (Miss Hampton Newport News 08)
Tamika Mills (Miss Hampton Holly Days Festival 08)
Ashley McWilliams
Jayne Williamson
Stephanie Van Petten (Miss Chesapeake 08)
Victoria Goldberg
Veronica Rohrmoser
Dana Podgurski

As you can see, this is going to be a night full of wonderful talent and should make for a great pageant! Please come out to support this new local and meet the new Miss Piedmont Region 2009!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Miss CT video

I just saw this video of Ashley Glenn, Miss CT on a local news channel.

First of all, I thought she did a great job answering the questions. I've been a fan of Miss CT for some time as she is a fellow grad student earning her PHD in physical therapy. I LOVED that she mentioned trying to prove that women can both be in pageants and academia! I've certainly encountered some people in my academic world that are quite surprised to find out how big the Miss America program is within my life, and it's great to see another serious student going for the crown!


I have around 12 appearances this week, so I promise to update each day as well as provide the lists of winners from last weeks pageants and the coming pageants!

Today: Pulaski Rotary!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

3 more

Tonight three young women will receive the opportunity to compete at the Miss Virginia pageant next June. In Southeastern Virginia, Miss Portsmouth Seawall and Miss Southeastern Virginia will be crowned and a new Miss Chesterfield will also be crowned.

Best of luck to all the ladies!
Miss Chesterfield Contestants:
Stephanie VanPetten
Cynthia Nguyen
Allison Marney
Stephanie Connelly
Victoria Maiden

Miss Portsmouth Seawall & Miss Southeastern Contestants:
Katie Prescott
LaWanda Weatherspoon
Jessica Young
Julie Johnson
Keisha Avant
Lauren Cannon
Chinah Helmondollar
Emily Hall
Elizabeth Crot
Alana Simmons

Go watch Miss America videos

There are videos up of all the Miss America contestants.

You can begin checking out Tara's videos below:

Video 1
Video 2
Video 3
Video 4
Video 5
Video 6