On Tuesday, mom and I woke up around 5:00 a.m. to pack the last items and head to the Little Rock Airport. The flight to the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen Pageant took me from Little Rock to St. Louis, then from St. Louis to Orlando. During the last part of the trip, word spread around the plane that Miss Arkansas was on board. I really felt like a celebrity when asked to sign 7 autographs and meet both pilots! It was a fun beginning to the week ahead.
Upon arriving in Orlando, I quickly changed and headed to the first preliminary competition of Miss America’s Outstanding Teen. Ashton Campbell is Miss Arkansas’ Outstanding Teen and I couldn’t be more thrilled to be her sister queen! She is a loveable girl with a beautiful heart and a perfect representative for our state. She performed so well all week at the pageant, and I received many compliments from other Miss America contestants on her performance!
Wednesday was a free day so Miss Washington planned a trip to Universal Studios. (In case you haven’t noticed, Miss Washington is the organizer!) That day, I had a great time visiting with Miss Hawaii, Miss Nevada, Miss Ohio, and Miss Washington as we all toured Harry Potter Land. It was so magical!
On Wednesday afternoon, I met my Orlando roommate, Miss Missouri. She was a great roommate! Relaxed, humble, and down to earth, she is very considerate of others and lots of fun! We went to the preliminary competition together that night. I also enjoyed hanging out with Miss Nevada, who is very outgoing and committed to her state organization. It was fantastic to spend some more time with Miss Washington and Miss Hawaii. We have outstanding girls representing the Miss America Organization!
Thursday morning, the contestants each filmed a 60 second promotional video on “Why I should be the next Miss America.” We were encouraged to present creative videos, using lots of props. I decided to create a video describing, “The chemistry it takes to be the next Miss America!” I had an early wake-up since my video was filmed at 7:30 a.m. … but hopefully, when the videos are posted online later, you won’t be able to tell how tired I was! Amanda Farmer at Bella’s in Springdale ordered the perfect white lab coat for me to wear in the video! She also sent me some beautiful dresses and jewelry that I was excited to wear in Orlando! Thank you so much!
At the dinner, we were asked to introduce ourselves and share an interesting fact. Here are a few of the comments we heard: Miss Washington paid for her freshman year of college by playing the fiddle on the streets in California. Miss Alabama is the oldest contestant in Miss America, and I think it is Miss Virgin Islands who is the youngest contestant. Miss South Carolina can impersonate anyone and shared her hilarious Paula Deen impersonation. Miss Hawaii jumps rope for her talent and is coached by a professional rope jumper. Miss Colorado is the first contestant to compete in Miss America whose mother is a former Miss America.
Friday, we filmed a promotional video at Disney World. We left the hotel at 6:00 a.m. and started filming before the park opened. After an hour or so, we were divided into groups for the VIP tour. We rode 5 rides in 2 hours, including Space Mountain and Splash Mountain! We were served a delicious lunch in a Disney prop warehouse and then continued filming. They actually filmed our reactions on two rides, the Star Tour and Tower of Terror. Haha … I really hope they don’t put my Tower of Terror face on national television!
The day at Disney World was lots of fun, but long and, not surprisingly, hot. However, Miss Ohio had such a positive outlook, and she boosted our spirits! We were friends from the beginning, but I especially appreciated her laid back attitude on Thursday. She has an interesting story, too. Her older sister was struck by lightning several years ago. Since then, she has become an advocate for lightning safety and always pays attention to the weather. Although fully aware that Orlando is the lightning capital of the world, she handled her concern with great maturity. She is so kind and genuine … I really like Miss Ohio!
Friday night, we attended an extravagant party to meet the Miss America board members and celebrate our journey to Miss America. A magnificent mansion was the setting. The dinner featured elaborate tables of cheeses, fruits, freshly sliced meats, sushi, chocolate desserts, and two ice statues. We had fabulous entertainment that night and took pictures with Miss America, Teresa Scanlan. Many girls exclaimed that it was the highlight of their week!
Saturday consisted of a contestant meeting for Miss America and dinner with the girls. That afternoon, we signed autographs for the public and then attended the thrilling final night of competition for Miss America’s Outstanding Teen. I was so proud of Ashton for the way she represented Arkansas and look forward to spending time with her this year! Congratulations to Ashton for winning Miss Photogenic and receiving a photo shoot featuring her on the front cover of Four Points magazine! How cool!?
I absolutely loved my time in Orlando! I learned so much about the Miss America organization and feel much more prepared for Las Vegas. I loved meeting the girls from all over the country! Do you want to know what Miss America contestants talk about? Boyfriends! Haha! Probably 40 of us have boyfriends, and it seemed to be the topic every girl wanted to discuss! We also talked about our prize packages and scholarships received from winning the state title. Have I mentioned how grateful and blessed I am to represent Arkansas? Finally, we talked about the relationships we have with our former queens. I appreciate how fortunate I am to have many former Miss Arkansas titleholders who help and encourage me throughout the year! Dedicated advocates for our system, they desire to see the Miss Arkansas organization flourish.
This upcoming week will be great! I will attend a banquet in Carlisle in honor of my Paw-Paw, who has served in public office for many years … so thankful for his example of service! I will be in the dance studio throughout the week and preparing my school presentations for the month of September! Finally … I am celebrating my 22nd birthday on Thursday!! This will be the best birthday ever!