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Oh my, this is a horrendously belated post, but I couldn’t not talk about my unofficial official farewell to pageantry. My experience in the Miss USA system had its ups and downs, but one thing is for sure; I made a handful of besties and proved to myself what I’m truly capable of– both mentally and physically. From November 2013 to November 2014, this stage fright-plagued shy girl sang the National Anthem at 5 professional sporting events, threw the Ceremonial First Pitch to my baseball man crush, Wil Meyers, at a Tampa Bay Rays game, organized an entire team of pageant “royalty” for the 2014 Princess Ball Gala, and judged my very first– and probably last; just not my thing— pageant for Miss Heart of Florida. Most importantly, I survived Miss Florida USA week and performed to the best of my ability given my community obligations, full time job, part time job(s), and improving health condition. I walked away with my head held high, and although I didn’t win, I, for the first time in my life, knew it was truly their loss. In case you missed it, check out my Miss Florida experience, complete with outfit details and funtivities, here.
Anyways, to celebrate my graduation from pageant land and into the real world, I opted for this stunning ruby red Badgley Mischka gala gown instead of my bedazzled white Sherri Hill evening gown. Why? My Sherri Hill is strictly a pageant princess gown; Badgley Mischka more accurately represents my genuine red carpet style. Unfortunately, this Badgley Mischka gala gown stunner still isn’t available for sale anymore– if you even wanted to stomach the $800 price tag, but you can still rent it from Rent the Runway here!
After a lovely drive through historic Ybor City, it was time to host the Miss Tampa Bay USA 2016 Pageant. Now, I know you’re probably thinking I don’t know what year it is; that’s what I thought when I found out I won the Miss Tampa Bay USA 2015 Pageant. For whatever reason, titleholders are crowned a year ahead, which is both confusing and nonsensical, so technically my reign doesn’t end til the end of 2015- heyo!
Here are the pageant contestants (Miss in red, Teen in white), along with myself and my two fabulous sister queen co-hosts.
The pageant went off without a hitch, which is hilarious considering my teen sister queen went MIA, and Miss Clearwater USA and Miss Kissimmee USA stepped in at literally the last minute. Regardless, we laughed, we danced, and we had a ball on that stage. When it was time to call the winners, I gave farewell speech, leaving the ladies with my favorite piece of advice, “Take the chance, while you have the choice.”
… then I got to meet the new titleholders! One of which, Miss Southwest Florida USA, has been a dear friend for a while, so it was awesome to get to crown her. Your new Miss Tampa Bay USA is smart, beautiful, and ambitious, so I know she’ll continue the Tampa Bay love. Congratulations, ladies!
Am I really done with pageants? For now. I go back and forth. Only time will tell! How was I not at NYFW? Darn you, day job. Womp.