Eighteen Girls. Over 60 applicants in just over an hour, and only 18 made the cut.I made that cut, and had one last chance to live out my dream as the heart of the Miss America Organization.
Saturday morning, just after the sun rose, Jon and I made our way down through the Finger Lakes region into the Southern Tier. We made it to the first venue just before 2pm, and I somehow managed to put a full face of makeup on while sitting in the parking lot. We relocated to the second venue just before 3pm, and hurried to get through announcements while preparing for interview. Unfortunately, despite putting on my makeup in the parkinglot, being second in the lineup gave me very little time to be fully prepared. While I gave it my all, and I am very pleased with most of my answers, I do not feel I was physcally as prepared as i would have liked. I left them thinking about me, that’s for sure. I went to go out the door I came in and one of the judges told me, “The other door, Katherine.” So I stopped in my tracks, turned around, and said, “I don’t follow the rules,” and flashing a big smile before leaving the proper door.
Then we were free to go. Before I left, I let Ashley try on a few of my spare gowns to use for talent. Since she is all legs (she makes me look short), many of them were too short. Luckily, a brand new black Jovani with white lace fit perfectly, and still touched the ground when she wore heels.
Then it was off to the hotel! The Comfort Inn was our host hotel, and quite a few of the contestants stayed there. My favorite memory was when Cassie’s mom decided to deadbolt the door and then take a shower, locking Cassie in the hall. All I could hear was her thick Staten Island accent shouting down the hall.
The following morning we made our way back to the venue for the pageant. It was a rather strange setup at the venue. Every hallway had a few stairs, and 2-3 doors leading to another hallway. It was impossible to find your way around without exploring first. While exploring I found an empty classroom upstairs, where I practiced my talent. I had re-cut the music to had a crescendo into a stronger dynamic part of the song. I was very pleased with the cute, except I had to make sure that my signs were equal in strength as the music. Jon, the ultimate pageant boyfriend, found himself selling tickets and program books and later would serve, once again, as an escort during evening gown.
Opening number was simple enough. We recycled our interview outfits, but embellished them for the stage. I dropped the simple nude heel and replaced it with my rockstar strappy nude. I know, it was a big risk. Not really, but I felt good just the same. I was disappointed in the dress the second time around. I felt it was wrinkly and didn’t sit flat on me. Probably because I had pizza and A&W the night before after my interview.
On-Stage Question was immediately following opening number. We were not advised that we had two questions, so after Claudette answered her first question, she went to leave the stage and I was told to walk out. Then suddenly she was called back and I quickly hid back in the doorway while she answered her second question. I think the concept behind the two questions was good intentions: one generic, standard on-stage question and one personal, platform related question. I, however, was not used to something tailored to me and had a hard time personalizing it and showing my personality. I felt like a drone shooting back rehearsed answered from my interview.
Lifestyle & Fitness had originally called for sandals and a towel. Thankfully we vetoed that and got to wear our heels. Unfortunately, which became an issue throughout the entire pageant, the stairs to the stage were horrible and we had to hold onto the wall as we climbed up. This basically bombed any confidence that I might have had.
Talent was stronger than it has been. I wore the blue Mac Duggal again, but I struggled to walk up the stairs. I didn’t have enough time after changing from my swmsuit to do my hair properly, or touch up my tattoo. I was far too rushed for anything. But all in all, I think I did very well.
Evening Gown I wore a navy printed Jovani gown that Nina Davuluri, Miss America 2014, recently wore in an appearance. Emma, another contestant, had a similar gown in black, which took away from the creativity. I think it did a great job of sucking in my tummy and made me look super thin. I didn’t do a good job at covering my tattoo though, and the walking pattern wasn’t very appealing nor did me much favor.
And then it came time for Crowning!
Jillian Tapper is Miss Southern Tier
Jamie Hughes is Miss Liberty
Claudette Gomez is Miss Heart of New York
And a big special thank you to Sarah, Miss Empire Star, who got me a beautiful bouquet of orange tulips. I put them in a vase when we got home and they opened up in the sun and added a pop of color to Jon’s kitchen.
A few of us contestants, the winners, and other local titleholders went to the other venue after the pageant for cake and sweet potato pie. It was nice to relax before getting back on the road. I had a great discussion with Jack Carr, the pageant coordinator, and he invited me back down to volunteer at the 44th CNY Marathon Maple Festival. I can’t wait to come back to the southern tier and serve my community. I don’t need a cape to be a hero, and I don’t need a crown to be a queen.