Who is Meghan Cahill?
Formerly 2013 Albany Tulip Court Member, Miss Altamont Fair 2015
Currently Miss Salt City 2016
Why did you begin competing in pageants?: I grew up watching the Miss America pageant on television. Every year I would sit and watch the show with my mom and talk about how amazing every contestant was. My mom would always encourage me to get involved but I never thought I had what it takes. It wasn’t until Mallory Hagan won Miss America that I really decided to look into it. I was a member of the 2013 Albany Tulip Court working with the Mayor of Albany on his literacy campaign in inner city schools. In 2014 I heard of a local pageant at the Altamont Fair and figured I’d give it a try because I had lots of free time after my year of Tulip was over. I was shocked when I won the pageant and the rest is history!
What do you hope to gain, other than a title?: The biggest reason I got involved was to serve. Service is a huge part of my life and I love to get involved in any way that I can. Once I got involved in the Miss America Organization, I quickly noticed myself growing as an individual. Growing up I was shy, school presentations were a big stress of mine. Now I have no problem getting up in front of a crowd with no speech and just speaking about the organization as a whole, my platform and the things that I have learned. One of the most important things I have gained during my time with the Miss America Organization is the friendships. I have friends all over New York state who are all passionate, driven and hard working. These incredible women inspire me everyday and I’m so lucky to have each and every one of them in my life.
Why is your platform unique? : My platform is called 1 for Change: Combating Relationship Violence. My platform is unique because statistics involving relationship violence are outrageous (1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men) but as a society, we make excuses for these behaviors. I partner with the One Love Foundation, founded in 2010 after University of Virginia lacrosse player Yeardley Love was killed by her ex boyfriend. I travel to colleges and educate students about the warning signs of relationship violence and how they can effectively intervene in a safe way. A huge purpose of my platform is to inspire a social movement where we, as a society, can stop relationship violence from happening by being supportive friends, students and citizens, rather than just a bystander.
With Miss America in Atlantic City, have you attended or do you plan on attending the pageant? If not, how do you watch the pageant?: I would absolutely love to attend Miss America! I have not had the opportunity to go yet but it’s definitely on my bucket list. Every year my mom and I have a tradition of watching Miss America together. We make predictions before the show starts and make a game out of it. I have a hard time containing my excitement and insist on sitting on the floor about 5 inches in front of the television!
What has been your favorite appearance or service event as a titleholder?: My favorite event as a titleholder so far has been the Model’s for Miracles fashion show that I planned in Albany. I spent months tirelessly planning the event to be perfect and was so proud of all the money that was raised for The Ronald McDonald House of Albany. It was so amazing to see the support I received from the community, my friends and family, and fellow titleholders that came to the event.
What appearance or service event would you like to do most before the end of your reign? : I try to attend as many events as possible because although I have a year as a titleholder, the year flies by! I would absolutely love to attend Miss America of course. It would be a dream to meet with Vice President Biden and speak to him about his involvement with the “It’s On Us” campaign and discuss expanding that to involve relationship violence because it is so prevalent among college students.
Which is your favorite phase of competition?: My favorite phase of competition is evening wear. There is no greater feeling to step on stage in a gown that makes you feel absolutely amazing. When I competed for Miss Salt City I wore a green dress that I absolutely loved. When I walked out in front of the judges, I felt like the only person in the room. I tend to get lost in the moment and savor it. I find that this phase of competition is very empowering.
If you could add or remove one phase of competition, which would it be and how would you adjust the scoring percentages?: I would absolutely love to add a fitness routine to the lifestyle and fitness portion. I think that swimsuit should remain because it is a key part of the history of the Miss America pageant but I think to add a separate portion for a fitness routine would be great! It could showcase the hard work that goes into competing and show the judges just how strong each and every one of us is. I am a workout junkie so to be able to do a fitness routine in competition would be so fun!
How do you prepare for pageant? : I’m someone who works out regularly, keeps up on current events, and networks with people in everyday life. When I’m training for a pageant I am a little more intense with doing all of that. I also really focus on myself and figure out what this title would mean to me and what I could do with it. Like I always say, nothing worth having comes easy!
What do you plan to do with your experiences after you finish competing or age out of MAO?: After I age out of MAO I plan to use my communication skills, networking skills, and community service experience to shape my social work practice to enable me to better reach my clients and be a more effective social worker. I would love to stay involved with MAO as a volunteer, judge, or maybe even a director. When I think about how much I have grown in the last two years, I wish I had gotten involved with the Miss America Organization earlier in life.
What is your favorite mantra or quote?: I am a huge quote person! I always post quotes on my pages and am famous for throwing in quotes when I talk to people. One of my most recent favorite quotes is “A flower does not think about competing with the flower next to it, it just blooms.” This quote is so important not only in pageants, but in life. As human beings we worry so much about what the other person is doing and forget to realize all of the good we are doing. I always tell young girls that it’s so important to focus on yourself and be the best version of you that you can possibly be. As women, we should all build each other up and encourage one another and not focus on competing with one another.