May 28, 2009

Beauties for Boobies

That's my team name for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. I'm running the race in Washington, DC next Saturday with Kate Marie, Miss DC, and Tara, Miss VA. There are a few others on our team, too. And we're pumped!

Please, please support our efforts. We really want to continue making a dent right until the end of our year. Help send us out with a BANG. Here's my donation page:

EEK! Long, I know. But unfortunately I can't get the link thing to work.

We're also holding a fundraiser on Friday night, June 5th, at Midtown (1219 Connecticut Avenue) from 8-11pm. They're matching door donations (suggested $5) and 10% of bar sales.

My Wonderfully Wild Wednesday.

Yesterday I popped out of bed fairly early to take the train to the Upper East Side's prestigious Regis High School. An all boys institution responsible for inspiring the name of the one and only Regis Philbin. I was warned prior to my presentation that the 275 boys I would be speaking to are incredibly intelligent. Over 1,000 boys apply during their 8th grade year and go through a series of written and oral tests which widdle the classes down to approximately 150 students. So, I upped the ante a bit on my RJR and braces myself for the deeply intellectual questions I would be asked. And so, I will now share them with you ... (okay, maybe only the funny ones, but still ...)

Right out of the gates I was asked:

1. "So, you said 52 states competed at Miss America. If I was taught correctly there are only 50 states. Am I incorrect?" Okay, so clearly this was said with a bit of a condescension in tone.

My response: "Perhaps I should have phrased it as 50 states and 2 territories. District of Columbia and Virgin Islands are included in the Miss America competition. Now, just recently, Puerto Rico was added. " I also used the phrase, "before you get a little too big for your britches" but I can't remember where ...

2. "Is Miss Congeniality your favorite movie?"

My response: "While I appreciate the humor in the movie I would like to think of myself as more of an intellectual." (Subtext: Mean Girls is my favorite movie.)

But, in all seriousness, these guys were so respectful and incredibly attentive. I sincerely appreciated their candor.

Then I hopped over to Starbucks for a short meeting with a dear friend of a dear friend who I am going to help with getting more access into schools with her non-profit. More details to be talked about later ... but until things are in place I don't want to jinx myself!

Trained it home, quick nap, plugged in the curlers and started the beautification process for Jerry Nadler's Congressional Gala which I was invited to attend. Spoiler: by the end of this event my heart was full. I was going to wear a long beautiful blue gown but due to some water spillage I threw on a trusty Betsey Johnson cocktail dress and high-tailed it out of my apartment. As soon as I walked in I was beyond relieved that I didn't wear the gown. Everyone else was in a power-suit. Or, a black sheath. Thus I thanked God for my clumsiness.

Two minutes after my arrival I met Jack Gallagher, Lord only knows what he does, but he said he attended these events nearly every night. And for some glorious reason he took to me. After making me promise that when I finally agree to marry someone that I have to make sure he signs everything over to me. I laughed, and he did not. He was instrumental in introducing me to those I met while at the event. Jerry Nadler, who was very gracious, is a Congressman who defends our Constitution on Capitol Hill, as well as fights for the equal and civil rights of all Americans. When he spoke I wanted to cheer. The whole time. One of the notable things he said in reference to gay marriage was, "we are allowed to disagree, but not to deny." YES.

Anyways, I met Jerry Nadler, Charles Schumer, Tom DiNapoli, and as for the others, they have stories.

I once again saw Governor Paterson who this time said, "Yes, I remember you. And, I've heard a bit about you since I last saw you. Where are you from originally?" "I'm originally from Virginia." "Okay, that's right. And people have given you a bit of a hard time, no? Well if in 1998 Miss Italy was from the Dominican Republic you can surely represent the state of New York. And if anyone says anything about it, tell them I endorse you." My insides are still smiling.

Secondly, I met Bill Clinton. In his speech he said, "Finally the rest of the country is beginning to follow suit of New York City. A place where people come from everywhere, and that's what makes us great."

You guys. This is a good sign at the beginning of the end of my year. But, now I've got to get myself in gear to head off to an appearance which I will gladly blog for you later.

May 24, 2009

Interview Posted

There is a site posting interviews with several of the contestants that competed in Miss America 2009. I just sent in my answers and was posted. You should check out not only my interview but several others given by my sisters in the Miss America class of 2009.

May 23, 2009

Appreciation for Absurdity.

Okay, so most people that know me know I have no shame. My roommate, Cary, and I enjoy people watching out our windows. We live at a big intersection here in NYC - hence the consta- screaming traffic cops outside our windows screaming at people.

Yesterday we saw a really good one, he yelled, I scrambled and got my camera so we could have documentation of our hysteria in the house. A physical documentation of memories if you will. Welllll, tonight I'm home alone, staring out my window leading the glamorous life of Miss NY. While I was doing so I spotted an overly zealous couple across the street making out. Since I was alone of course I needed a photo. Obviously ... ? SO, I got out my camera, zoomed on in and snapped. But I totally forgot the flash was on due to the nighttime conditions. They saw the flash and saw me in my lit up window.

Ummmmm. I'm embarrassed. I think I'm writing this like most people start laughing when they fall and start looking around for someone to laugh with them. Will you laugh with me?

PS: Last night our casserole was really good. Paul definitely helped me. The only slight problem was we "eyed" the sherry. But, all in all it was fairly fabulous. There is potential the bologna sandwiches will never exist.

Now I'm closing my window and off to hide in my bedroom before that couple comes back to egg my window.

May 22, 2009


I know I said my next post was going to be about my out of control faces, but I've been looking at photos all day. And, I'd rather blog about this. Double and, I'm unsure as to why I'm giving an explanation (to a hypothetical questioning).

Paul (if I were talking to my mom I would have to say my Paul, in contrast to Paul Brown the Miss NY ED) has the swine flu. Kidding. But, he is feeling pretty under the weather. So tonight I'm going to make dinner and then we're going to watch Planet Earth. It's like his birthday. Or better. Because otherwise, I'm not a fan of Planet Earth, slash I refuse to watch it unless it's a party and people are talking and music is on. Refusal in the most non-bratty way possible. And we still have approximately 3/4 of The Notebook left. Anyways, last time I tried to make dinner I attempted Lisa Smith's Chicken and Broccoli casserole. In her words it is "very easy". Okay. So, I cut the recipe in half and before I even put it in the oven Paul said, "do you think that's a little watery?". Hmm. Yes, yes it was. I forgot to halve the chicken broth. My mom said I could "eye it". HA.

Round Two. Tonight. His mom's Chicken and Mushroom Casserole. The long and short of the email chain included these words ... "foolproof", "no pressure", and of course I used the words "pizza joint and speed dial" in the same sentence.

Perhaps I will redeem myself. If not I may never have children. Otherwise, they're eating bologna and cheese sandwiches for 18 years (cough, cough. Lisa Smith literally fed us those in elementary school).

May 21, 2009


Lots and lots of stuff is going on. Let's make that verabge past, present, and future. My schedule is slammin'!

I hope you're okay if I just go back to last Tuesday the 12th and take you quickly through the happenings from then on. Neat? Good.

Last Tuesday Carbo picked me up curbside at what would be an incredibly reasonable hour in comparison to the mornings that would be approaching (reminiscent of Miss America reality show "off-days" bahahaha). We shot off to St Therese of Lisieux in Brooklyn so I could do an RJR presentation. When we pulled up to the school two boys were waiting outside to escort me in. I was automatically sold. This group of students was super attentive, but even cooler, I got a performance of a song they had been preparing to present at a Memorial Day event. Not included in this blog, but in the next, I will complete a slideshow of absurd faces I make while speaking. Whenever someone takes photos of me during my presentations I look like a circus freak. Now I get why my 11th grade AP English teacher told me he was thoroughly entertained while sitting across from me in a classroom setting.

After my gig in Brooklyn I went to LaGuardia and headed off to Atlanta to see Faith. Oh. And the Miss NY dentist sponsor. That was my last blog. If you want to see how that went please see below. Important sidenote regardless if you read the blog below ... I will not be put back into headgear. And for that, I am beyond grateful. PS: Faith and her family are out of control. So much fun to be around. And so is the food.

My flight track record as Miss New York is extremely poor. And Thursday only strengthened this assertion. After a tricky game of "is she going to make it? NO!", "is she going to make it? BARELY!", and "is she going to make it? YES!" about 5x over I did indeed make it back just in time to head off to prison.

Before Miss America I went to Arthur Kill Prison on Staten Island and met with an all male HIV-Support group, as well as a couple of prisoners who were in the alternative lifestyle support group, and just talked. It's certainly right at the top of my all-time favorite gigs. Every year the prison has a Volunteer Recognition Dinner, and this year they asked me to be their keynote speaker. Jim Smith, the ED of Miss Staten Island, who lovingly refers to me as "cuz", is a counselor at the prison. In the middle of the awards presentation I heard a strained "Leigh-Taylor!" with a waving arm and an open door. Jim was calling me over to see someone ... It was one of the HIV prisoners! I trekked through the grass in my heels and through the fence gave him a fist pound and asked how he was. He had been in the hospital, but he said that ended up being convenient because he got to watch me at Miss America. He told me he was so proud and said that he could tell when he first met me that my inner beauty, my heart, was the most attractive thing about me. Wow. That is why I am Miss New York. Those raw moments. I have the tingles just thinking about it! It was special to be able to share that evening with Paul and Linda both.

FF to Sunday and I headed up to Watertown where I stayed with former Miss NY Jessica Lynch Renzi and her whole crew. Including two swoon-worthy little boys; Eugene and Timmy. A-DORABLE. After some dishing I headed off to bed so I could be at my first school on Monday morning at 7:30 am!

I would tell you about all the schools and tv spot but let me just give you some numbers. I went to 7 schools. One tv spot. 36 hours. Insanity. But awesome! Thank you to my host Nancy who took me out and about every day! Taking pictures, showing me around all of Watertown (and Sackets Harbor!! gor-geous), fetching children, and grabbing my cough drops during my final coughing fit!

And thank goodness for beautiful weather on my drive home. Windows down, baller music, and an iced coffee. Perfection.

Finally, today I went to a preschool in Newark to read to a group of students. I had such a blast. The teachers told me to keep my crown in my box until the end of my time there and then we could all take a look at it. So, I told them if they paid close attention to the readings they could look at the surprise in my box. Umm. Bad move. When I got it out they were BUMMED. They thought it was candy. Remember how I was talking about the constant humbling moments? Case and point people.

I mean honestly, could they be any cuter?

Until next time ...

May 13, 2009

From the Dentist's Chair in Atlanta

I'm seriously sitting in the dentist chair in Atlanta at the Miss NY teeth beautifying sponsor. They're checking on the process of my Invisalign-ing teeth. If you haven't heard of Invisalign please let me explain. They are like clear retainers and you get mulitple sets of them for each phase in movement of your pearly whites. If you've ever had braces (Kate Marie!! Steve gets his off in mere days! Just a reminder ...) it is like having them tightened every ten days or so (or however often you change your sets). So what I'm saying is ... I have a high tolerance for pain and for this, that was a good thing.

Anyhow, onto super exciting things. I know my blog has pseudo- turned into a gay rights haven (and don't get me wrong, I'm super down with that but it may be overkill at a point). BUT come on people, the NY State Assembly has passed the bill that will legalize gay marriage in NY State! Now onto Senate the bill goes ... Keep your fingers crossed that it passes through them, and if so we know Governor Paterson will sign it since he's the one that initially introduced it!!

I <3 NY!

Okay, I should get off of here. Apparently my teeth are too crowded. I need more help. Did I mention I had braces? Twice. And rubber bands. And headgear (with a denim band. So stylish).

May 11, 2009

Super News!

Roxana Saberi, a former Miss North Dakota and Top 10-er at Miss America (ironically, the year Kate Shindle won), has been released from an Iranian prison today. At the end of January Roxana was initially detained after an accusation of purchasing a bottle of wine, as well as working as a journalist without proper press credentials. She was then brought up on espionage charges. After the trial she was sentenced to 8 years in prison. As most probably know, there was an international human rights uproar. After a successful appeal Roxana's sentence has been knocked down to a "two year jail term suspended for five years" according to IRNA, Iran's state run news agency.

She will soon be back stateside. Roxana we all echo the sentiments of Hillary Clinton, we are so very happy for you and your family. Welcome home, Roxana!

May 7, 2009

Shout Out

My mom sent me an enthusiastic text on Saturday night, and this is what it said (truly word for word, typo for typo): "Go to The gays are appreciating your support and they have your blog out for everyone toread." I. love. her.

So, go here to read what they had to say about me. This site is awesome for all kinds of news, I've already stacked it into my bookmarks. And no, not because I go to read this article over and over, but because they tell us important things that are happening on the national, statewide, and local scenes. Such as Maine just passing the Gay Marriage Bill, being the 5th state to do so! (Insert cheering here)

For the record Buffalo Gay newspaper people, I'm totally down with you and your work, too. The gays and the straights alike. Just like Tiny Tim said in "A Christmas Carol" (I was a theater major, and avid youth group-er, cut me some slack ...) "God Bless us Every One".

PS: How my mother found this, I have no idea. I asked her and she simply evaded the questioning. Oh dear, Lisa and modern technology. (She just got a blackberry. I cannot lie.)

May 6, 2009

I wasn't going to, but ...

This issue has continued to find it's way into mainstream media and I have finally decided to respond. Wait, let me back track, I'm referring to Miss CA USA and her opinions on gay marriage and beyond.

My first comment to all of those so quick to judge her, is that unless you are in the position you have no idea what it feels like to answer a random question on live television in front of millions of people ... that are judging you. While I don't think she actually answered Perez Hilton's question (as he wasn't calling for her personal opinion on gay marriage itself), and I think it could have been stated more eloquently, the girl stood up for what she believed in. While many of us may not agree with her stance on "opposite marriage" (?) we have to give the girl some credit on a couple of different levels. Obviously she knew Perez Hilton wouldn' t agree with her answer, nor would many in the audience (think of how many gay men are instrumental in pageantry), she still stated exactly what she believed in. And for that, I respect her. Just as I hope people would respect my stance. Secondly, she knew that answer could potentially lose her the crown. Something she had worked incredibly hard for, and she still stuck to her guns. Thus, I have to give an extreme amount of credit to her character.

ANNNDDD, while she has been riding out her 15 minutes of fame for a litttle too long. She may be smarter than we think. I mean, isn't one of the reasons people compete is to network, and become recognizable? Everyone knows about Carrie Prejean. I was out this weekend and a friend from college walked up to me and said, "hey! I know you compete, what is your opinion on this?".

But, moving on to the newest issue in relation to Miss Carrie Prejean. Breast implants. Okay people. Honestly? You're going to chastise her for admitting that the Miss CA USA organization paid for her breast augmentation surgery? Miss USA is a beauty contest, yes. But, just like the 347, 254 other women that had breast augmentation in 2007 , Carrie has said that she thought long and hard about the surgery and decided it was a good option for her. Women in and out of pageantry have plastic surgery in order to feel more comfortable with their bodies. For personal reasons. She was not the only girl (nor will she be the last) standing on that Miss USA stage with breast implants and before people get all high and mighty, there were gals on the Miss America stage with breast implants, too. But who cares?! Why is that any of our business?

I know as titleholders we put ourselves out into the public eye. But, why does that mean we have to judge her? She's obviously passionate about what she believes in. And shouldn't we all be? Perhaps if there were more of us that support gay marriage directing our passion towards something constructive like lobbying state legislators, instead of bashing Miss CA USA we could get some things done.

Focus your energies people. Stop flapping your lips, spewing out negativity, and start to ooze optimism through your actions. Please?

May 1, 2009

Pig Flu

No longer denoted the "Swine Flu" by the Obama administration, rather H1N1. Either way, here in NY I've seen people bouncing around the subways with hospital facemasks on. We all know the media has hyped this an extraordinary amount. But, to be safe, go to the following website if you're curious about the symptoms. Or, if you're concerned you have it. Or, just because I'm suggesting it.

Hope you're all in the clear!

Night, y'all.

"Are you a dresser?"

Sometimes my life makes me giggle. Upon reflection, mostly. Yesterday I planned my day around the "no hot water from 9-12" letter we had stuffed underneath our door the night prior. So, when I got home from the gym I had given them some cushion time to turn the hot water back on. I bet you can tell where this is going. Bird bath + poor shaving job attributed partially to goosebumps + shampooing head under the faucet = me on my way to participate in a fashion show with real models. My life is so glamorous (insert loud obnoxious laugh here).

Linda Carbo chaperoned me to the event. She does curbside pick-up. I've been so spoiled by her. (When I won Miss NY Paul and she came up to take a photo with me and she said, "meet your new mom and dad for the year." SO true ... and it's been such a blessing).

Anyways, she got a little fidgety and noticed they needed some help around there. Next thing I know Carbo is up and stuffing 150 gift bags. They herded us up to run through the show. We all grabbed our shoes, and as I was stuffing my foot into my shoe one of the models came up to me and said, "excuse me, are you a dresser? can you help me find my shoes?". SCREEEEECH. Wow. Apparently I looked really out of place. I don't blame her though. I was approximately 4 feet shorter than every other model there.

Then we were off to hair and makeup and this was the scene:

These people were for real! Orchestrating people to and fro in such an organized manner. Headsets and all!

After a little hurry up and wait action, we grabbed our gear and hit the red carpet. Never did I think while eating rolls of cookie dough in a scene set in the Pi Phi living room by strewn about papers, laptops, and paints - gaggling at America's Next Top Model, that I would one day be hanging out with two on the read carpet. They're both on my left. (Umm, and obviously I wasn't joking about being so much shorter than everyone ... the proof is right below)

After the red carpet we trucked backstage and changed into our gowns for the show ... I got to wear a gorgeous black Catherine Malandrino. If we didn't have to take them off immediately so they could be included in the auction I would have most likely run as fast as I could off the stage and out the door.

Backstage with Tim ...

Christian Siriano, a previous winner of Project Runway, kicked off the show with a creation he put on a model, designed by a St. Judes patient. It was gorgeous. The whole bit of it. And, then it was our turn. I must say, I was pretty nervous with going out there. I knew where Naomi Watts was sitting. Where Shannon Doherty was sitting. Yada, yada, yada. AND, Carrie Bradshaw was repeatedly falling in my head. But, off I went.

The show went very smoothly. And, the best part? No falls! Oh, and on that note, sorry for the video post with quite a few nasty expletives. I didn't realize it was riddled with all of that "trash" as Lisa would call it.

Anyhow, after the show I headed back out to boogie/hang with the boys. Scott, Tim, and Jason were all there. (If you're Tim's teacher ... this is where he was when he was skipping his first class with you) I gave a bit of a fist pump for success.

Many, many thanks to Scott for asking me to participate in this amazing event. St Judes does some truly incredible things, and I am so happy I could be involved with Design Cares 2009. Perhaps next year I will be the one sitting by the runway verbally harrassing the models (cough, cough, Scott).

PS: My brother saw a picture of me with my makeup done and this was his literal response (thank God for automatically saved g-chats):

Bryan: you look scaryoh, yeah. kind of creepy.
was this a halloween theme?

Umm, no, it wasn't Halloween ... actually inspired by the looks of the 20's. This is one of the many reasons why my feet will always remain on the ground.