When I won the title of Miss New York USA 2013, I knew that meant I would be competing at the national level, but it didn't seem real until they announced it. I grew up watching the Miss USA pageant on tv. My wide eyes would be glued to the screen, in awe of the gorgeous gowns and perfect figures. While I loved the idea of pageants, it was never my life goal to become Miss USA. I knew I wanted to be a performer, but I never thought I would be considered pretty enough to compete with these seemingly perfect women. (The back-brace awkwardness didn't exactly fuel my confidence.)
However, if there's one thing I've always known about myself is that I am beyond driven. I have a deluded amount of self confidence. In 8th grade I was awarded the "Most Likely to Succeed" superlative. I knew how to get stuff done. Well, now I'm here. With the opportunity of a lifetime. An experience some women have been dreaming about and dedicating themselves to for their whole lives. And I want it.
This may not have been the path I envisioned for myself, but I believe that I am here for a reason. Every hardship and let down that I have endured has brought me to this moment. I didn't book those tv pilots I was so close to getting, because I was meant to be here and hungry for this experience. All those failed relationships have allowed me to stay focused on myself and be available to commit to this competition. Every time I was in despair over a set-back or let down, God (or the universe, or whatever higher power you believe in), was shaking her head and smiling down at me thinking, 'if only you knew the great blessings I have in store for you!' Things are truly falling into place just as they should, and knowing all this humbles me in an amazing way.
|The "Seriously? What is my life" face, the night I won. Wow, remember my dark hair?!|
That brings us to the question, why do I want to win? I've always had a very competitive spirit, but even more than that, I feel a strong sense of responsibility. Being Miss USA is a job. Yes, photo shoots are fun, and red carpets are glamorous, but millions of young impressionable women, like 12-year-old back-brace wearing me, are looking up to you. As Miss USA, you are given the privilege of having a voice that others will listen to. It is an opportunity to do good work that last through several successors and change the lives of many. I am willing and prepared to take on that job and represent a hard-working, educated, and beautiful woman.
All that said, I'm still one of the biggest cheese-balls you'll ever meet. I love to make people laugh and laugh at myself. So, I need to find the humor in this. Otherwise, I will most likely go nuts. Yes, I want to do everything in my power to be prepared and be my best, but all that pressure on myself will take it's toll. For those who really know me, it's absolutely absurd that I wound up here. I must remember to enjoy the present moment, and not take myself too seriously. My quirkiness and animated spirit is what will set me apart, make me relatable to the public, and award me the Miss USA crown!
|Stealing focus since the age of four :)|
For all of you who have been there through my mini melt-downs and panic attacks, I appreciate you and thank you for your support and encouragement. I <3 NY