January 28, 2010


In keeping with the theme of reflecting on last year, I want to tell you about this night last year.

I don't think this story has been told on my blog, so I will take the chance to let you know. Last year Kate Marie (Miss DC) worked some recon and decided I needed to meet her boyfriend's brother because she thought we would totally hit it off. She was thinking boyfriend at the time I was thinking friend.

So, on this mission of hers, she strategized a plan where she would bring her crew over to my Halloween party. Ironically I went to high school and college with some of Steve (her boyfriend's) friends. I met Paul whom I made fun of for having a store (slash worse ... online!) purchased costume when he came over ... and then later in the night I tried on my roller blades for him and showed him my skills (non-existent) in my pint sized Manhattan apartment.

We communicated and went on our first date a few weeks later. Most know that the couple of months leading up to Miss America are at the very least insane. Paul works in investment banking ... and his days are always as busy as mine were those couple of months. But in between all of that we found time to hang out. He would literally come over from 1-3am and we would chat, I would giggle, go to sleep and go to 645am Bikram yoga.

I'll never forget the morning of my Miss America send-off party, 5 days before I left for Miss America, when he asked me if there was anything he could do to help. After some thought I said no ... all I had was a lot of laundry. Otherwise that day I was going to 4 hours of mock interviews, tanning, going to the gym, getting a haircut in my apartment by my dear friend Jay, and then Jay and Paul were going to head to the party with me. So he insisted on taking my laundry in my overstuffed pink Vera Bradley duffel home with him. He returned that night with my duffel and stacks of clean laundry.

I was done for.

So the morning I left for Miss America he came over, stuffed a card in my carry-on advising me I couldn't open in until Vegas, walked to Starbucks got me a huge latte, and carried my 3 overweight suitcases down my 4 flights of stairs.

I mean, I really can't make this stuff up people.

He came out to Vegas on Friday morning (after nearly missing his flight because he had unknowingly turned off his phone due to the influx of texts from family and friends about my ss win ... including a photo from his Aunt Karen of me giving him a HUGE thumbs-up) and met my family for the first time at our gala that evening.

His mom, Mrs. Sig, met my parents inadvertently in the lobby of Planet Hollywood before either of us had met the respective family. Embarrassingly enough I'm sure it's not hard to miss MY FACE ON A SWEATSHIRT. (Or my dad's cowboy boots for that matter .... worn with his tuxedo on final night hoping they would be photographed with me as Miss America.)

We danced, he met all of my dear girlfriends, and then all of the contestants were escorted by security and hostesses back to our rooms. Miss CA, Jackie, was my roommate last year. She was also known as my twin. Her boyfriend Robbie was also in attendance and had come that night to the gala. So when we were washing our faces at our sinks ... looking at each other through our parallel mirrors she asked me if Paul was my boyfriend. I reminded her, since we had already discussed this, that Paul and I hardly had any time to talk about that. With a sly little grin on her face she then informed me Paul had told Robbie that he was my boyfriend that night.

All I could think about that night was 1) the amazing over-stuffed cookie box from Mrs Fields that Jacqueline Cook, a former Miss VA had sent me ... that had been torn into by moi ... and I wanted more AND 2) !!!!!!!!!.

I went to bed that night so excited that Paul was my boyfriend. It sounds so silly. But think about it. I was a 23 year old girl head over heels for him. It put everything into perspective. Yes, winning that prelim was awesome, and ultimately being in the 5 was awesome I was legitimately excited about what awaited me at home if I didn't win. In 5 years, or even next year, and actually now, winning ss and placing in the 5 is miniscule in comparison to what I want to achieve and the time I want to spend with all of the people that I love. And that would include Paul and the whole Sigfusson/Bere clan.

PS: Paul is going to be extremely embarrassed I wrote this. I'm in trouble.

A year ago last year ...

I felt good about myself. And it wasn't because I won swimsuit at Miss America but it was something much bigger and much more joyful than that.

Last night I talked to Ellen Carrington, Miss TN 2008, and really just simply one of my favorites of all time. We talked about how wretched filming the Miss America reality show was but if we hadn't done been involved with it we wouldn't have been nearly as close as we all were last year. Which leads me to my point ...

Last year at Miss America I competed in Swimsuit and Evening Gown on this night, Thursday, the final night of preliminary competition. I had worked incredibly hard to get fit ("Miss America fit"). Not skinny, but fit. When I got to Miss America I felt like I could take down a chick if I needed to.

Either way, that night, I walked backstage after "Baby Wiping" all of the body glue off of myself in order to avoid gown stick-age and it was SILENT. I mean, if you had been backstage before that it was hopping. Girls flipping their hair. Lip gloss flying. But glue spraying. Lats minute advice being given. But everyone was staring at the tv monitor. Ashley Wheeler, Miss Vermont, was singing God Bless America a cappella and no one could avert their eyes. Not even the stage hands (I mean, they're entertained by the likes of CHER! AND GAGA!). It was unbelievable.

So, after competition Art McMaster and Sam Haskell (the men's force behind Miss America, president and CEO's) came up on stage and spoke for, erm, a long time. Case and point: Cullen Jones, the Olympic medalist swimmer, was one of our judges. After the first five minutes of them speaking he packed his laptop up. Put it under his table. Went into his bag and dragged out a huge back of chips and just started vegging. We were all jealous of him. No heels, no sweating, and eating chips.

Naturally I just started chatting with Miss NC, Amanda, and all of a sudden I heard "YORK" called out for Swimsuit. After a supremely quick process of elimination I realized I was the only one there that had a state name ending in York and proceeded to flail my arms. All of that imagining Katie Stam (who ultimately became Miss America, but who had done so well ont he reality show) racing me to the finish line in spinning had paid off. I mean, it's all about envisioning it, right?

Caption: "I hope you just said my name. Otherwise this could get really embarrassing, really fast."

I found my family and got a wee-tad excited!

This is when I saw the Miss New York Board!

But here's the good part I mentioned earlier ... Ashley Wheeler, one of my dearest friends, in and outside of pageantry, was announced the talent winner that evening. Check out the faces behind us on this link ... that's how excited I was standing in front of her. Watching her realize a dream. This is what we did instead of waving to the audience the whole time. And as she reminded me in an email this morning, I had just said (and you can see I am welling up in tears), "Ashley, oh my gosh, you just won talent at MISS AMERICA!"

That night when I got to visitation my brother said that on stage I was visibly more excited about her win than mine. And when I thought about it, it was true. That's why I was so happy that night. Of course I was excited about my win. But my happiness came from walking down the Miss America runway, preliminary awards in hand, with one of my best friends.

Now that's a once in a lifetime experience.

PS: BIG congratulations to Alyse, Miss NY, and preliminary ss winner at Miss A last night!

January 25, 2010

Type and Erase.

That's what I've been doing for the past week after I got a bit of a hand slap by none other than JoJo Buffie. But, it's not that I haven't had anything to blog about. It's that there is so much! I haven't posted in so long that I need to get back into the groove. And to do so I think I just have to fast forward life past Christmas and New Year's to now. Cool, JoJo? Cool.

So, I started the blog to keep folks up to date with my whereabouts during my year as Miss New York. Then it just kept going. And a few of y'all kept reading so how about some Miss America awesome-ness?

It's Miss America week in Vegas right now, and it's back to school week for LT. So, I've decided against making the trek to Vegas. Nuts maybe, but to each their own. I shall miss all of the pageantry that ensues but I think I may be taking the bus or train down to DC (pending mass amounts of work due) to see Ashley Wheeler (Miss VT 2k9) and her fiance Michael. We're going to watch the whole sha-bang AND do a blind taste testing of champagnes for their upcoming wedding.

SEE! I'm not completely missing out. Actually, I will get a huge fill from that. She's one of the dearest people I know. Hysterical. Ridiculous. Utterly compassionate. THAT'S what Miss America does for you. You meet f4lyf. Friends for life. (I made that up for you, C-BUFF).

Anyhow, Miss New York is heading to her interview in just an hour. So I sent her an email and I'm sending her massive amounts of good vibes. And you should, too. Interview, I think, is the most important phase of competition. It takes a lot of prep, a lot of studying, a lot of mental goodness. Don't believe me? Check me out before my interview ... not my outfit. My right hand.

Stack o' notecards.

Alright ... back to school! Marketing and Retailing classes tonight. OH LALA. Maybe I'll be dressing some of the gals for Miss America in a couple of years. I mean, I'd be down.