Who is Gabrielle Walter?
Currently Miss Bluebird 2016
Fundraising: Miss America for Kids
Why did you begin competing in pageants?
The very first local competition I competed in was Miss Buffalo this past March. There was a lot of local media about it and I had been following the recent Miss Americas on social media and thought “why not compete.” So I did, and was pleased to be first runner up my first time. I loved my first experience at Miss Buffalo, so I decided to compete again for Miss Bluebird.
What do you hope to gain, other than a title?
I hope to hone my skills of all the things that come along with being a titleholder, which include how to effectively manage fundraising efforts, being able to talk well on your feet, connect with your community on a deeper level, and come away really inspiring every one you meet in some way.
Why is your platform unique?
Speak Up, Step Forward was something I became involved in before competing in pageants. Sexual assault on college campuses was a topic I did my senior honors thesis on and began awareness efforts on my college campus. From there when it became time to compete, it was only fitting for it to be my platform. Having a title with the Miss America Organization allows me to talk about this nationwide issue on a larger scale and why it is so important for campuses to address it.
Where were you when Nina/Kira won Miss America? Did you attend Miss America this year?
I was at home watching Miss America on the TV when Nina and Kira won Miss America previously. I specifically remember watching Kira do her talent routine sitting on the stage and thinking about how unique it was. I unfortunately did not attend this year because it happened to be the same weekend law school began. However, I did watch it from home with my whole family around the TV yelling and cheering for New York, Rhode Island, and Mississippi who I all know personally. If my schedule allows it, I do plan on attending next year.
What has been your favorite appearance or service event so far this reign?
I will never forget my very first appearance as a titleholder at a Girl Scouts Awards Dinner. I think the first appearance is something that probably sticks with every girl. It took me literally 20 minutes to get my crown on just right, I had to drive with it on to the venue because I did not want to waste time trying to put it on, and I felt a little awkward at first walking into a room being the only one with a crown and sash on. Although things were different and uncomfortable at first, everyone I met was interested in who I was and what I was there to speak about. Throughout the night I got to talk to so many individuals and young women about their passion for Girl Scouts, and of course we took lots of pictures. I walked away from that event feeling excited and with a craving to really put my whole heart into this year.
What appearance or service event would you like to do most before the end of your reign?
My dream appearance as a titleholder would be to be on GMA or the Today Show as a morning guest or even fill-in for the weather segment. I think it would be so much fun! BUT on a more realistic note- I would really like to run a fundraiser in the spring for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. I have a local CMN hospital right in my city and have already done a visit with the children. I think it would be great to organize something special with the children as guests highlighting their special talents.
Which is your favorite phase of competition?
Hmm…that is a tough one! I would have to say my favorite and also one of the scariest is swimsuit. It is a lot of pressure for a woman to go out on stage and be judged in a bikini, but yet there is something so empowering about it at the same time. Living a healthy lifestyle is a part of who I am and every morning I get a good sweat sesh in to start my day. On stage I enjoy showing everyone that you can eat well and still look good without having to diet and be super skinny. It is amazing how you feel when take care of your body and feed it what it needs. Don’t forget the sleep and down time too! ☺
How do you prepare for pageant?
Right now I do not really have a preparation routine. I have randomly come across a dress that I love for a good price and got it, and have also come across some good shoes randomly too. The only thing that is really structured is that my fitness preparation usually steps up a few months in advance of the pageant and I read the news more closely. However, being a law student I am always up on that kind of stuff. I always say a prayer before going into the interview room, and usually have a quote with me that day that represents all of the preparation I have put into the pageant. At the end of the day, I leave my heart on stage and am unapologetically myself.
What advice do you have for a girl who thinks she can’t compete in pageants?
Are you crazy? You can do anything you put your mind to, girl! If you had told me years ago that I would be a titleholder with the Miss America Organization I would not have believe you. I was the nerdy girl in school who would wake up at 8am on a Saturday morning to do her homework (and still am). I lacked confidence, which actually caused me to fall into an eating disorder all throughout high school. I have come so far and have learned so much about myself over the years that I truly believe anyone can do anything they put their mind to. “If you can see it, you can be it.” I promise if you do compete too, you will not regret it. There is so much you will learn about yourself and others that you walk away
What do you plan to do with your experiences after you age out of MAO?
Although I am already 22 with my first title and do not have many more years to compete, I give 110% to each day. In addition to Miss Bluebird, I am also a first year law student. My life can be a lot to juggle at times, but I see each day as a new opportunity to be my best self and encourage others to be their best selves too. After MAO, I plan on eventually having a career as a lawyer, but still plan on doing a lot of outreach on the side. I have a firey passionate for girls empowerment and women’s rights that advocating for those things is a part of who I am, and not just something I do when a crown is on my head. I truly believe that the sky is the limit and that anything is possible if you set your mind to it. I believe that persistence, confidence, and growth are three elements of success.