Hello Illinois!! I am STILL in shock and this whole experience seems like a dream! After all, this is my lifelong dream and I continuously have to pinch myself to make certain that this all is really happening! I would like to first thank the communities of Quincy, Rushville, and Macomb for their love and support. So many people have all ready called to book me for “hometown appearances” and we have been so lucky to have numerous sponsorship offers arise from these areas! Home really is where the heart is and I am forever grateful and devoted to my roots. =)
When I was crowned last Saturday, I can honestly say I have never felt any moment that contained as much joy and excitement as I felt at that time. This truly is my dream job and I can’t think of any other job I would rather have than what I am beginning now. I have loved each and every moment of the last 4 days and if this is any indication of what is to come, I will have a wonderful and memorable year. Miss Amalia and I spent yesterday in the great City of Chicago doing some preparation work for Miss America. Yep, you heard it right, we are preparing for Miss America all ready! Words do not describe how excited I am to compete on the very stage that I have dreamed about gracing since I was a young girl! My little, close knit home communities are so excited and I think we will have a HUGE group at Miss America. We all ready have over 20 people dedicated to coming to Vegas! I feel honored and blessed to represent this beautiful state; something I have wanted to achieve all my life! Today I took a moment to process this big change and I thought to myself “I am living my childhood dream”. This thought made me realize just how lucky and blessed I really am.
We are currently working on my Miss America paperwork. We had deadlines starting the Monday after the pageant! Today I had the honor of making my first “big appearance” as Miss Illinois in the Aurora 4th of July Parade. I was honored to be surrounded by war veterans and the audience was very supportive and enthusiastic. Tomorrow we have a conference call with Honda of Quincy. We are working on confirming a car sponsor for my year of service and traveling! While in Chicago yesterday I had the honor of visiting my hair salon sponsor for the year – TRIO Salon. They are absolutely amazing and did a fantastic job with my hair! I am thrilled to have the privilege of going there throughout my year of service and grateful for their generous sponsorship. My schedule is filling up fast and I am excited to really jump start my year of service and begin working hard for Miss America preparation! I am anxiously counting down the days until I get to go to Bridal Elegance next Tuesday to begin looking at wardrobe options!
Today, after the parade, I got to lay out by the pool with Hannah, our Miss Illinois 2011. I have had the opportunity to keep in touch with Hannah over the last year and build a friendship, so I am thrilled that she will be living so close to me when I am up North. I really enjoyed getting to talk “Miss Illinois stuff” with her and it was great to have a day to relax poolside while catching up. Hannah turns 21 in August and we are currently planning a birthday party for her! We are extremely excited about this and hopefully she is very surprised with what we come up with! =)
I am also very excited to begin my partnership with State Farm Insurance. I will be an advocate and ambassador for their Distracted Driving Campaigns. I am currently working on putting together a Distracted Driving slideshow presentation and beginning to create my speaking outline for my school appearance across Illinois. I will also be influencing youth and adults alike to commit to a “No Texting and Driving Pledge” that will ensure people think twice before picking up their phones while on the road. I will also have the opportunity to attend events held by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and I am extremely excited to work within this organization and learn from their leaders!
Tomorrow will be filled with paperwork and the planning of appearances, so I had better get some sleep!
Until next time – much love,
Miss Illinois 2012