We arrived at Boardwalk Hall literally two hours before the show. Carrie and I caught up with Adrienne, Dan, Gary, & George, as well as Bianca and Kristina. We were all part of a seat filler program. Basically, many companies sponsor big events and in return receive free tickets to the show.But many do not actually attend the show. So a seat-filler’s job is to find empty seats during commercial breaks and sit in them so that the stadium does not appear empty. Only the first 20 rows ever go on TV, and those are the ones with the empty seats! Unfortunately, this often means that you get moved around and relocated based on holes formed by bathroom breaks. But in Dan and Adrienne’s case, this meant getting moved directly behind Lance Bass. They didn’t complain. Carrie and I were lucky enough not only to sit together, but remain int he same seats for the duration of the pageant.
Before the pageants started, however, we were approached by quite a few Press companies. We were interviewed by both television and online newspapers about our predictions. It was really exciting to know that people would actually listen to us. I was overly confident that Nina would win during the online written article but didn’t speak up during the televised interview. I’m bummed because although my elbow made an appearance, the two girls who don’t even compete in MAO but were wearing NY sashes from another system were featured, simply because they are from NY. Carrie and I were mentioned as “future Miss Americas” and video’ed as I took a photo of her in front of a sign. That was a pleasant surprise when we watched the clip.
We hung back at Boardwalk Hall after the pageant to catch a quick chat with some of the State Titleholders. While we were there we met Itka. She is a Holocaust survivor. It was well after Midnight by the time this photo was taken, yet she was perfectly cheerful and beautiful inside and out. You can’t see it well in the photo, but she is wearing leopard print ballet flats! Her crown is made out of pipe cleaners. She was an absolute joy and pleasure to meet.
In the end, it was an amazing weekend. I wanted to go before Nina even won Miss New York. I knew when they announced it was returning to New Jersey that I would make the trip down. But when a friend won Miss New York, I knew I had no other choice. Watching a friend win Miss America is literally less than a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence. I cannot express how amazingly humble I am to be able to say that I watched Nina Davuluri, Miss NY 2013 become Miss America. My favorite Miss America.