Each year 53 representatives vie for the title of Miss America. They all go through rigorous training in interview, talent rehearsals, evening gown and swimsuit walk and the constant practice to "just be yourself." I was one of those contestants this year. I was representing the beautiful state of Hawaii, the first year Miss America was brought back to Atlantic City. Going into competition all contestants are prepared for the biggest job interview of their lives and plan to walk away with the job of Miss America. We each believed we had something unique to bring to the table, personality, intelligence, and talent. During the week of, we all had dreams of the crown being placed on our heads. However, nothing hits harder than reality when you don't hear your named called to advance to the next level and you realize that your one chance of becoming Miss America is now gone. A few hours later, I saw the new Miss America crowned and watched the nation explode with wanting to know who she is, where she comes from and what she will do during her reign? But what happens to the other 52 representatives that don't get the dream job? Now that I'm in that position, I'm constantly asking myself now what?
Every year when a titleholder is chosen there is a hype and hope that she will become the next Miss America. For the two months that I had to prepare for Miss America, I saw a light in people when they spoke to me. It was the idea that if I won the Miss America title, I could bring so much pride to our state. It was the idea that they were looking into the eyes of the next Miss America. But now that I have returned to my state that light has changed. There is no loner that possibility of claiming the title, or doing well in the competition. I didn't even place. There has been a lot of supporting comments through social media about representing our state well and doing well in the competition and that's very nice of supporters to say. But how do people know I did well when the only thing the public sees is what happens on TV? I think to myself, if the idea is no longer there, now what?
Deep down I'm competitive. I don't like letting anyone down, especially my own state. Throughout the competition I stayed very focused. I knew who I was, what I was there for and what I wanted to do as Miss America. I saw some girls count themselves out after the first week and even more during the week of the pageant. I stayed strong, always thinking I had big purpose here. During rehearsals I would always say to some of my friends, "God already picked a winner and if it's not us then he has a bigger plan for us." I truly believed that. All the girls would say the same thing and it gave most of us peace about the whole competition. But when I didn't hear my name called, a part of me couldn't accept that I was just meant to be apart of the 52 and nothing more. I was heart-broken that all my prep work, focus, determination and crowning dreams had all come to this conclusion. I felt like a hypocrite. I felt like I let my state down, so now what?
It's only been a few days since Miss America but I feel like I've been through a rollercoaster of emotions, questions and realizations. I've had a good amount of time to gather my thoughts, feelings and understand what I'm going through is actually normal. I put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into this competition. I whole-heartedly embraced the idea of becoming Miss America into my daily life, and I had a dream of taking my life-platform, working with America's Blood Centers, to the next level. It's natural to feel frustration, sadness and maybe some depression. I'll get over it. It helps knowing that 52 girls are probably going through the same thing. But it still leaves me with the same question, now what?
Now, I get a full eight months to rock at being Miss Hawaii 2013! I get to work with the Blood Bank of Hawaii and the Children's Miracle Network and other local charities because those causes are what make this job so rewarding for me! I get to visit each island talking to schools about the importance of education and inspiring students to find their inner light. I get to travel to Japan and maybe other places to promote tourism while keeping myself transparent through social media. I get to work hands-on with the state that I love so much. Now what? I get to fulfill His plan for me. I get the best job ever!