I recently came across a blog that was posted on fb that I really liked and it really spoke to me on the topic of not winning a pageant. (read it here) After reading it, I felt it was time, my calling I guess you could say for me to finish my blogs about my experience at the Miss Teen USA pageant.
It’s really tough to talk about losing because everyone is disappointed when they set a goal and don’t achieve it I think, that is if it really meant something to the person. I am so very grateful for placing in the semifinals, I really did have the time of my life in the Bahamas, but I honestly need to say I was still disappointed at the end of the competition.
The morning of the final competition… we had our personality interviews EARLY, but no biggie, they are super fun! I love interview, it is always a good time! I felt awesome in my interview dress, it was a really special dress that has hand painted by Jeff Hanson. (you can see Jeff's work here). I enjoyed my conversations with the judges and answering a few questions from Paula too. After our interviews all of the contestants hung out together and we talked for a little while, you know just silly fun teen stuff before rehearsals started up. We rehearsed all day long to make sure the webcast would run smoothly. We then were given two hours to get ourselves ready and backstage! For me, the final night, I was not scared. I think I was ready to know the outcome because I had wanted to know for so long! I just wanted to get onstage and get the show on the road! Ok maybe that means I was a little anxious.
I stood in line, ready to go on for introductions, and I had certain calmness about me as we started to roll, unlike the preliminary competition night where I was so antsy the whole time! I waited until the announcer came on then I turned the corner onto the stage. I heard hundreds of screams, I was in the lights, the judges right in front of me… no turning back now, I thought. Whatever happens, happens.
I stood onstage and glanced out into the audience. I wanted to soak up every last bit of the moment, for school was starting in less than a week for me if I didn't leave the stage with a new crown on my head, and my fate was in the hands of 5 people! – Crazy to think about... a single piece of paper and 5 people would have such a big impact on my future! (or not as it turns out)
Here we go… top 16. I was confident I’d be chosen to advance, but no one can be so sure of themselves because anything can happen, so.... I prayed, I waited… California…. I waited… New York… waited… West Virginia… I felt like I was going to fall over! I prayed, I waited… next up, Alabama. I was so nervous now, I was shaking, trying so hard to keep my smile, there were only three spots left at the front of the stage. I started to pray again for God to allow me a spot too, I was beginning to doubt my feelings of being liked by someone else for the job of Miss Teen USA… then the very next thing I heard was “Kansas you’re joining her too!” I was beyond ecstatic and the nerves seemed to flush away for the moment. I was so happy! I had made it!
Next thing I knew, I was running backstage and changing into my swim suit! I was overjoyed to be put under this stress test, because only 15 other girls were having that opportunity too! (At Miss Teen USA, when you make the semifinal cut, your belongings, hair/makeup things, and wardrobe are all moved to a completely different dressing room!) I didn't know where everything was once it was moved and just had to dig in and get moving. I just pulled it all together and ran to the stage! While onstage I just wanted to soak it all in because I knew it was all coming to an end one way or another very soon.
As you all know, after swimsuit competition, then comes the gowns! I ran backstage for a speedy change...I had 4 minutes! 4! Before I knew it I was next to go onstage. I loved my gown, I loved being in my gown...Then I was there, onstage for my last chance of being considered to be the next Miss Teen USA by the judges. (click here to see my gown designer Kate Walz) Little did I know at that moment when I felt on top of the world in my gown and it delicately sweeping across the stage, that would actually be the end for me and my dream to be Miss Teen USA.
Looking back, I understand there is absolutely nothing I could have done differently in the competition, or leading up to the competition. In order to win a pageant you really just have to have faith, trust (in him) and well apparently I fell short of the pixie dust, but that is ok (now). Counting my blessings these days that I was one of the lucky ones of the night no matter how it turned out, I had so many new and wonderful sisters that were just as ready for my spot in the finals as I was.
As I stood onstage awaiting the announcement of the top 5. The 5 were called, and Kansas wasn't on the list. On this particular night that was it, that was the end, it just wasn't me and after some tears way later that night (and ok the next day too), I became okay with that. When I was rushed offstage after the top 5 announcement, I was thinking and feeling that something had to be wrong... what did I do wrong? I was thinking that it would be just like Miss USA, and they would surprise us and bring back a twitter vote winner or something, but of course that didn’t happen. Backstage the 10 of us now joined the other teens with the previous fate on the floor to watch the rest of the pageant. We all now had one more thing in common, a loss. We watched the questions, held hands, hugged, became ok with where we all were sitting at that point and glad to have been able to be a part of the whole experience and then we went back onstage for crowning. (hhmmm, maybe this experience is preparing us for the apocalypse or something)
I don’t remember much of the rest of that moment on stage, as I watched Cassidy as she was crowned. After the congratulations were said, all the winner and runner up hugs were exchanged, I packed up my things from the dressing room and was ready to go. It is a weird feeling to be happy that something has happened but so sad for the ending of it all at the same time. In order to get back to my hotel room, I had to walk across half the resort, and through the casino. This time the walk was with no body guards, because the pageant was over. Just me and my mom. The main thing I remember was while walking back, banner still across my chest, people were asking me questions left and right. The majority were… who won? I answered when the question registered in my mind, when I was at a loss for words my mom answered for me… I made my way to the elevators where I rode up to my floor with Ruby, Miss Michigan Teen USA 2013, not many words to exchange, but we both comforted each other,wished each other well in case we did not see each other again in the morning and that was that.
Although it was difficult to accept that I was not the new titleholder, I began at some point to think about everything else I had gained (trust me, this didn’t happen overnight!) Over the next few weeks I realized how blessed I was to have been in the top 16, in the Bahamas, and having the time of my life as Miss Kansas Teen USA. I know just how many girls dream of doing exactly what I have done and never get to, which is a very humbling thought. Just as the article written by said, "Ultimately, winning a crown isn't the only way to have influence or to reach your dreams." I am looking forward to my new chapter.
Now that the national competition is over, I am preparing to pass on the crown, rounding out my year with some more fun appearances, a cotillion, the mayor's tree lighting in my city and just being available help the people in the community who appreciate me spending time at their events as their state title holder, thanking me for spending a few hours sharing myself and my journey with them. I have met some really incredible Kansans and even though I was not born here, I am proud to have grown up here. I am readying myself for when that day comes (and it is coming soon!) to pass on this tremendous opportunity to the next teen.
I have loved sharing my adventures with you all, thank you from the bottom of my heart, it has been one incredible journey! Psalm 23:1-23:6