Four years ago today, the day I became Miss America..
All the contestants were in Boardwalk Hall for rehearsals. We were in our evening gowns with no make up and hair rollers practicing for the final broadcast. We were all relaxing, some of us were passed out on the stage, and the production crew was camera blocking the crowning moment. As I was laying on the ground in my evening gown, my eyes were closed as I heard over loud speakers the song “There She Is”. I quickly heard a voice saying, “It’s going to be you. Do you accept it?” I laid there and thought back, “Yes, I accept it” which was followed by quiet laughter as I thought to myself, “No one is ever going to believe me when I tell them this.” I later found that at the exact same time that morning, my mom had the same moment, and she then felt like it was my time.
I woke up this morning four years ago with a sense of peace, excitement, and nerves, but mostly an overwhelming sense of gratitude. As I’m typing this I am wiping away tears as I look at pictures for all I can think of is everything and everyone that lead up to this moment, and impacted my life after. The volunteers that have uplifted me and encouraged not only me but have given their lives to the girls across the country, the people I met during my year who were at one time strangers but are now close friends, and the village that helps every single woman become a better version of herself.
This week as I have looked back on these memories, I feel so undeserving all of the kindness and all of the miracles I witnessed that year, but I also look at these pictures and think of all of the trials that came after these photos were taken.
Every year it gets easier to talk how hard this year was because I felt so guilty. Guilty that this great and wonderful thing was so hard for me, and I didn’t want to be ungrateful. My first year “after the crown” I couldn’t even look at these photos without spiraling into panic attacks or states of sadness. What brings me to tears now, is that. I can look back at these photos with pride in how much I have grown.
How much stronger I am. How I stand up for myself. How I validate my feelings of fear, insecurity, doubt, shame that come from this year, while at the same time knowing these have no power of my identity. I look at these pictures now and I am reminded of how much I am a collection of everyone I have ever met, I am so so thankful. Tears of happiness and gratitude are streaming down my face right now as I think of all the conversations, hilarious moments, DM’s comments, tearful revelations I have had with you all since this moment and I just want to say thank you. I wouldn’t be the Savvy I am without you. So much love and cheers to a year full of some of my greatest blessings.
Four years later I am a totally different Savvy then I was then, and so it the organization. So much has happened but what I cling onto is who Miss America is at the core, the people. The countless volunteers who selflessly give their lives, time, and love to help empower women to become the best versions of themselves. I’ll never be able to thank you enough.
So much love,