That night, a chunk of the Miss America contestants who had arrived (perhaps about twenty of us) headed to Denny's to celebrate Miss Hawaii's birthday! It was a great chance for us to bond over our chocolate shakes!
On Wednesday, I took full advantage of the opportunity to sleep in! That afternoon, I headed to rehearsal at the theater with Miss North Dakota, Ariana Walker, and Miss Nebraska, Kayla Batt because it was our turn to co-host the pageant. Ariana announced the ladies competing in Lifestyle and Fitness that night, Kayla did the first half of talent, and I did the second half. I don't think it's any shock to anyone by now that I LOVE to emcee! I had a ton of fun in this position, particularly when I was asked to fill time while the piano was being moved on and off the stage. Thank you to everyone who gave me such encouraging feedback after the show. I am glad you enjoyed my humor!
And, Alexis ROCKED her talent! I was sad that I couldn't be the one to introduce her talent (she was in the first half), but I told her it was probably better that way because I'd end up building her up too much and I might get fired! ;) It was such a special opportunity to be backstage after Alexis finished her talent because I got to give her a big hug and tell her what a great job she did! I also saw her later for more photos at visitation, where I also had a photo op with Kathryn, who is the daughter of Vicki Kueppers, Miss Minnesota 1983. Our Minnesota crew was there to cheer for Alexis! That night, a number of us headed to the convenience store to drool over the Ben & Jerry's freezer. Did we give in? Ya sure, you betcha!
And... (drumroll please)... Alexis won the preliminary Evening Gown and On Stage Question award! I was so happy for her! No Miss Minnesota's Outstanding Teen (including myself) had every stepped away from Miss America's Outstanding Teen with a preliminary award. The farthest I got was what I call the "nerd" award, aka the Outstanding Academic Achievement Award. Yay Alexis! I am so proud of you!
Friday was a MAGICAL day! I woke up at 4:30 because we had to leave at 6:15 for Disney World. We were all tired, but the early morning was worth it! At Disney World, we spent a lot of time filming for a Disney promo that will air in January during the pageant (That's right! I am going to be in a Disney World commercial!). I felt like a little girl again when, every so often, a Disney character waltzed into the street to surprise us. These included Mickey, Minnie, Donald Duck, Goofy, Cinderella, Belle, and Pluto. We were screaming with sincere joy! I can't wait to see the looks on our faces when the commercial airs! After filming was over, we had some time to go on rides, including Splash Mountain, Thunder Mountain, Space Mountain and Tower of Terror. Thank you to Walt Disney World for taking such wonderful care of the Miss America contestants that day! It was a truly magical experience. I cannot wait to come back!
When the final Miss America's Outstanding Teen competition came on Saturday night, I think the audience was much more nervous than the girls who were competing! I was so happy for Alexis when she was named Top 15, Top 10, and finally, 4th runner up! Way to put Minnesota on the map, Alexis! She is such a gracious young woman, and hilarious to boot! I feel like she really is my sister...although she is half my size and a brunette!