On July 2nd, I was blessed with the title of Miss Oregon 2016. The next morning, I was told that I would be getting on a plane in 6 days for Miss America Orientation. I was fortunate enough to get to still make an appearance at Rainier Days the day before I flew out. I have never flown completely on my own before, so this was a new learning experience for me as well. I was beyond happy when I was able to make my connecting flight in the Atlanta, Georgia airport. While on my flight, I was so anxious to meet all of the 51 other women. Little did I know that I was about to start a trip that would be life changing.
Upon arrival, I got straight to work. Without anytime to change I had a microphone put on me and the cameras rolling for an interview. Next, I entered a room full of Sherri Hill gowns. My heart fluttered when they said go ahead and pick your favorite one to keep. I ended up picking the very first one I tried on. It fit like a glove, and I was in love. My next stop was my swimsuit fitting. Then we were gathered on to a bus for dinner. This was my first opportunity to formally meet all of the other ladies. We went around the room to introduce ourselves. Everyone was already getting along so well I could tell that this was going to be a fun group of girls. Getting back to the hotel, I had to go straight into another photo-shoot with Dick Clark Productions. I then finally got to chat with my roommate Miss New Mexico. However, our chat was very short considering we both had another long day ahead of us in the morning.
Day 2 started off by boarding the bus and role call. Hearing all of our states called was a very real moment for me when I spoke up to say here when Oregon was called. We made our way to the Arlington National Cemetery to watch a reenactment done by the USO. We also witnessed first hand how service dogs are utilized on the field. We then made our way over to the Tomb of the Unknown to honor service men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms.
Getting back to the hotel I had an interview with Entertainment Tonight. I really thought that the coolest part of that was getting to go to the penthouse suite to see the view. Getting my first interview with television and all was pretty cool too I guess. Who am I kidding though, I was stoked to have my first interview with television.
Next was a ride on The Capitol wheel at the National Harbor. I was fortunate enough to get to be in the same gondola as Sam Haskell and Miss America Betty Cantrell. The sights were breathtaking. Although we were all singing along to the song playing that the first time we made it to the top we didn’t realize it. So we paid extra attention the second time around.
I even got a good workout in with all of the other contestants with my first introduction to Eqinox bar class. It was a mix between ice skating and dancing. For those of you who know me, I am a complete fitness addict so I was pumped to get to work out. Now when I heard bar class, I was not sure what to expect, but I was really sweating by the end of class!!
With a quick change and freshening, up we were then off to dinner. I have to say our meals were spot on delicious. I even tried sword fish that night. Being a seafood lover I was very excited about that. After dinner, we went to the Lincoln Memorial to embrace the power of great men making a difference in the world. On the bus ride back, I felt an overwhelming amount of honor to be one of 52 women representing Oregon. Then it was off to bed to get some rest.
Day 3 started bright an early for me because I was the very first one scheduled at 7:00am to do my Dick Clark Production videos. My next event was visiting the White House! I was practically jumping out of my heels with excitement. While in the White House, I got to meet the president’s dogs and embrace every room as an element of history. Then I traveled over to The Capitol for a private tour. I was on my way to Congressman Greg Walden’s office when all of a sudden this alarm goes off saying that there is a lockdown, get in the nearest room without windows. After moments of waiting, it was all clear to walk within the building. I had the pleasure of sitting down the Congressman Greg Walden. Our discussion was focused on the importance of The Miss America Organization and mental health care in Oregon. I then met with Senator Ron Wyden’s office discussing the importance of mentoring within K-12. I also listened to Senator John McCain speak. Then it was quickly off to dinner and off to bed for the next day ahead.
Day 4 started off with breakfast all together and then a four-hour orientation about what to expect in Atlantic City. It was incredible to hear each board member of Miss America offer a piece of advice while preparing for this once in a lifetime opportunity. Joseph Ribkoff provided a send off lunch with gifts as we all said our goodbyes. I was then on a plane back to Oregon early the next morning ready to start my preparation for Miss America 2017!