So, life rocks when you are Miss Arkansas! I have been blessed by volunteers and former titleholders of the Miss Arkansas organization. Also … I have been in contact with multiple sponsors this week, and I’m so thankful for their services! Special thanks to Allen Tillery Chevrolet, Solemates in Little Rock, Jane White Cosmetics, Gallery Salon of Little Rock, and Dillard’s in Hot Springs!
Speaking of blessings, check out the YouTube video featuring some very special people who make me feel like a celebrity: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZLqSXWzYO8&feature=channel_video_title)
Monday, I picked up Mrs. Bobbie and headed to the United Methodist Women’s Luncheon in Hot Springs Village. Mrs. Bobbie is Vice President of the Miss Arkansas Board and an open book of Miss Arkansas history. I appreciate her very encouraging comments after I spoke about my platform, “Second Chances through Mentoring.” I really enjoy opportunities to speak in churches!Tuesday, I led the largest parade in Arkansas in a beautiful blue antique car! Faulkner County Fair officials expected 35,000 to watch or participate in the parade.Channel 7 surprised me and played a clip of my parade wave on the 7:00 news!
Thursday, I returned to my hometown to speak to Stuttgart Junior High School. I visited with several former teachers and dance students from the studio where I worked. I believe the most profound moment happened when a seventh grade boy asked, “Do you starve yourself?” That question brought on a roar of laughter from the students, but I considered it a great opportunity to talk about inaccurate perceptions of beauty.
I recognize that there is a lot of pressure to have a slim body in today’s world, especially when the Miss America Pageant swimsuit competition is televised on ABC for millions of viewers.However, most of the girls that I know consider the swimsuit competition a personal challenge to have a healthy body. I am a STRONG advocate of a healthy lifestyle. In preparing for Miss America, I have started a high protein diet to gain 5-10 pounds to burn into muscle. My trainer keeps a close eye on my weight and inches of my arms, legs, waist, and hips. It is a very controlled method to help me maintain a healthy body.
Miss America Teresa Scanlan chose the personal platform, “Eating Disorders: A Generation at Risk.” She addresses self-image by saying, “I hope to help others regain confidence in themselves and challenge them to redefine beauty, based on inner qualities rather than outward appearance. As God's children, every person is unique and incredible in every way, and should embrace who they were made to be, rather than hurting themselves in an effort to change.”
Friday, I attended the Cotton Pickin’ Festival!! That was the first time I had ever visited Caldwell, Arkansas, and I had a blast! I introduced myself to the audience, performed a tap dance, and played “Minute to Win-it.” A college friend, Hannah, met me at the festival, and it was really good to see her. My only regret is that I didn’t get to participate in the Cotton Pickin’ Contest.
On Saturday, Mom and I drove to Sherwood for what we thought was a board meeting of the Alex Blackwood Foundation for Hope. Wrong! It was a motorcycle rally called “Ride for Hope,” a fund raiser for the foundation.” Once we saw the crowd on motorcycles and wearing leather, Mom suggested, “Why don’t you go change from your black pants into jeans?” Once I was better dressed for the occasion, I met so many incredible people at the rally!
The Alex Blackwood Foundation for Hope challenges others to “break the silence” and to talk about depression and suicide. I heard several powerful testimonies from individuals who passionately spoke of the courage it takes to overcome these issues. When I was invited to speak, I shared my heart for mentoring. Intentional relationships save lives! For more information, check out http://www.alexblackwoodfoundation.org/.
Saturday night, I greatly enjoyed my appearance at the Diamond Lakes Pageant! Congratulations to Abby Turner, the 2012 Miss Diamond Lakes! Congratulations, also, to Jillian Bridges, who was crowned 2012 Miss South Central that afternoon! I met Jill at the Miss South Central Pageant in 2008, where we both won the South Central crowns. Along with directors Sharon, Leslie, and Lori, this is one great pageant family!
Guess what I am doing next week … going to Dallas! I am visiting Ted and Shannon Skokos, the generous donors of my $20,000 Miss Arkansas scholarship. We have a busy agenda, full of shopping, dinner dates, and entertainment. Make sure you read about all my exciting adventures in Dallas! At the end of next week, I will have a photo shoot and participate in two more preliminary pageants. Lauren Howell will crown the new Miss Spirit of Arkansas on Saturday, and Allie Brooks will crown the new Miss Conway on Sunday. Both pageants will be held at the Staples Auditorium on the Hendrix College campus.