Two years ago, I competed for Miss Minnesota. I walked into a 10 minute interview where controversial questions were rapidly fired at me. They questioned my morals, my values, my ethics, the very foundation I was built on as a whole, and I beat around the bush. I walked out of that interview in tears. Not only was I sure my score was low, but I was so ashamed of myself. If I couldn't own my opinions and defend my morals, who was I to think I had a chance at winning Miss Minnesota? Somehow I made the top 10 that weekend, but that didn't change how disappointed I was in myself for that interview.
Then I signed up for the Dale Carnegie Course. What I thought was one 4 hour class turned out to be eight 4 hour sessions. On the first day, we wrote down what we thought we wanted to get out of the course. My vision statement simply read, "I want to be more confident and concise." It was hard at first working to apply the daily principles to my college life as opposed to my classmates who left everyday to reenter the professional world, but at session 6, I had a break through. During this session, we did flexibility exercises that took us completely out of our comfort zones. I was instructed to sell a bottle of "Clean and Glow" to the class with all the vim and vigor I could muster, and I did. I even won the Break Through Award for this session, and it made me realize something. If I can sell this imaginary cleaning product that I have absolutely no actual knowledge on, why can't I sell myself?
That was the turning point for me, and my vision statement changed that day. It is now, "I will solidify my viewpoints, I will state them confidently, I will back them up, and I will disagree agreeably when I am called to defend them." I cannot wait to continue pursuing this vision for myself over the coming months and am so thankful for the Miss Minnesota Organization and Dale Carnegie for being a Miss Minnesota sponsor and giving me this fantastic opportunity.
I’ve been known to be a procrastinator. I remember during my freshman year of college calling my mom up in mid tears on the Sunday night before finals. I had this 100 page art history portfolio that was due on my professor’s desk Monday morning, and I had not even touched that thing. It was assigned on the literal first day of class, and I was supposed to have been working on it all semester…but I hadn’t. After a lecture from my mom and some laughing/crying hysterics, I got it done. All 100 pages flew hot off the printer the next morning and the relief was just pouring out of me.
Usually this is how my periods of procrastination go. It’s not a fun process, but it’s an effective one. Last month though, I decided to use that process in competing for a local title, and it didn’t quite work out the same.
I chose to compete in the very last pageant of the year. I hadn’t planned to compete at all this year as I was in the process of transferring schools and finding a job and a place to live, but I wanted something to make me happy, and I knew that competing did that for me. Unfortunately though, it didn’t quite work out the way I planned.
I did not place that weekend. That was a first for me, and it was hard to accept. After a month of reflection and pursuits of other outlets for happiness, I’ve come to terms with my loss and the lessons that came with it, and I’m proud of what I did. There’s bumps in every road even ones paved in rhinestones.
A beautiful year has flown by since I last walked across this stage. I was taking on my first ever Miss pageant and was overjoyed when I was welcomed back into the Waseca pageant family. But I didn’t just win a crown that night, I won the community of Waseca as my second home, I won 2 incredibly dedicated directors, and I won 3 new best friends. My successor is incredibly lucky.
I believe that every great friendship is based off of one common interest…so when I ran into my new teens at McDonalds only 30 minutes after the pageant, I knew this year was going to be fantastic.
Annika, your joy is contagious. You have no idea how much your bubbly personality and laughter meant to me this year. At one point during Miss MN week, I was feeling a little nervous, and I just remember seeing your happy self bouncing around backstage bringing the biggest smile to my face. Thank you for being a little ray of sunshine in my life. I love you, Barbie.
Megan, the amount of time I got to spend with you this year has been priceless. You worked so incredibly hard in preparation for state, and I couldn’t have been prouder when you were called into the top 5 at Miss Minnesota’s Outstanding Teen. Besides that, thank you for always being down for girl talk, and for always out-sassing me. I can’t wait to see where your new pageant journey takes you.
Drew may not be with us here tonight, but she was there to share the entire Miss Minnesota journey with me back in June. We were able to squeal and hug as we were called into the top 10 together, and I was able to stand on the side lines and cheer her on as she took on the top 5. Miss MN week was even more than I thought it would be. I knew I loved what I did, but being surrounded by 26 other young women who share the exact same passion was an experience I’ll never forget.
Jen and Molly, you guys have to know that you mean the world to me. The amount of thought and time you two put into ensuring that we felt absolutely confident at state is incredible. Not to mention all the random fun things you throw in along the way! Saying goodbye kills me, but this isn’t my first or last time being your title holder. You can’t get rid of me yet.
To everyone else who impacted my year along the way, thank you. Your support, encouragement and prayers meant so much.
Everyone told me that this is where I would meet my best friends, and they were right. Signing of one last time, I am your Miss South Central 2016, Alyssa Crum.
Miss Minnesota week has come to a close, and I couldn't possibly be more grateful for the experience I had.
I walked into the Radisson Sunday morning scared to death of being away from home, sharing a room with a competitor, and ultimately not fitting in whatsoever. I couldn't have possibly been more wrong.
I spent a week away from home with 27 of the most inspiring women in the world. As the week unraveled I made connections with each of them, and I ended up being less concerned for my success and more for theirs.
I am so excited to say that I reached my goal this year. I was the youngest contestant to place in the top 10 and was able to compete in the final phase of competition on Saturday night. Standing there next to girls who I had looked up to all week was absolutely so humbling.
Congratulations to the top 5. Each of you were so deserving. Drew, I could not be happier for you. I watched you leave everything on that stage last night and it paid off. You were flawless. I am so honored to have been a part of your year.
Thank you to Jennifer Lechner Burt and Molly Conway Kopischke for everything. I don't know how you two do it. The love and support you showed me all week what with phone calls, texts, gifts, and all those hugs and tears we shared after each rehearsal and performance. You are two of the most selfless and kind women on this earth and I thank God every day for your presence in my life. Thank you for loving me.
Lauren Ann Fellows, thank you for being the big sister I've never had and always wanted. You have been here for me since day one of our reign and never stopped cheering me on in every aspect of my life. Not only that, but my dressing room was spotless last night. Dang girl, you and your momma know how to clean a dressing room. I love you Lauren and Lori.
To everyone who came out to support me this week, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I couldn't have possibly felt more loved walking out into the lobby each evening to family and friends standing there with smiles and open arms. Shoutout to the Tverberg family, my incredible best friendMaddie (who left her brother's wedding just to see me possibly perform Saturday night), the Fellows, Annika and June, Megan and Sue, Dena and Ashley, and my many extended family members that made the trip to see me compete. Also thanks to everyone who has kept up with me this week. Your prayers and words of encouragement are what helped push me through and keep my spirits up all week. Love all of you so much.
Finally, to my Miss Minnesota sisters, thank you for making my rookie year un-topable. You have each impacted and inspired me this week and I am so grateful to have shared this experience with all of you. Shoutout to my besties Sarah Labine, Molly West, and my beautiful roommate Allison Christenson.
Everyone told me I'd make some of my best friends here...and they were right.
Team Waseca had their final group hug before heading off to State today! Our directors Jen and Molly set up a pageant boot camp for us where we ran through all areas of competition and perfected our walks/performances. And, of course, they had a little surprise up their sleeves for our "goodbye dinner." Rather than the classic sit-down dinner we had all been expecting, we were blindly guided to Barney's Drive-In where they had rented us two-person scooters to drive all around Waseca! It was hands down the most fun afternoon I've had in a long time. After cruising around town and harassing the citizens of Waseca with our scooter horns (we found them way too entertaining), we enjoyed burgers and ice cream in the classic car parked out front. After today, I feel more than ready for the big week that lies ahead of me. Next stop, Miss Minnesota!
My first platform appearance is complete! This past Thursday I had the pleasure of being Waseca Rotary's guest speaker. It was a little bumpy, but I've found that my first platform presentation always has its quirks. Now that I have the first one under my belt, I know my next presentation can only go that much better. I also had the opportunity to share my Facebook experiment with them. Last week I uploaded the picture to the left. The sign says, "I'm talking to students about Internet safety and how quickly a photo can be seen by lots of people. If you are reading this please click 'like' and 'share.' Thanks!!" Over the next week, I received over 350 shares, and the number is still growing. This is a warning to Internet users everywhere to think twice before posting something on the Internet. Whether it be a comment on someone else's post or uploading a post of your own, never click "post" without discretion. You never know just who or how many people will be seeing what you say or do. The conversations I shared with individuals after my presentation were incredible. The reason I believe internet and social media safety is so important is because I feel that so many parents fear social media sites, and I believe this fear comes from a simple lack of knowledge. By educating parents on the abilities of specific apps and by encouraging youth to think twice before posting, I know I am helping prevent cyberbullying and interaction with online predators, and that is exactly what my mission is as Miss South Central. Thank you again to the Waseca Rotary for having me and being such a wonderful group.
I've always been a huge advocate for the breakfast for dinner movement. This evening, Megan and I volunteered at the Burnsville iHop for the National Pancake Day fundraiser. Every year on March 8th, iHop restaurants celebrate the holiday by giving out a free short-stack of pancakes to every customer who walks through their doors between 7am and 7pm. In return for their free stack of pancakes, customers are encouraged to make a donation to Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. Since 2006, the fundraiser has raised over $20 million dollars to support CMN hospitals. This event is truly incredible...not to mention delicious. It may have been 7:05 when we got our table, but we were still treated to warm plates of pancakes. Thanks again to the wonderful employees of the Burnsville iHop for having us!
This is Kaden Peirce. At just 8 years old, Kaden has been diagnosed with Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome and a brainstem glioma. Kaden's episodes occur once a month and last 3-5 days. Needless to say, this kid is tough. It's kids like Kaden that remind me that God gave me two hands, one for helping myself, and the other for helping others. The community of Waseca amazed me once again by literally packing the legion with family, friends, and strangers all in hopes of making Kaden's fight a little easier. Funds were raised through a silent auction, a live auction, a bake sale, and carnival games and will help Kaden and his family with medical, traveling expenses, and lost time at work. Just before ending the event, Megan and I got to help present the Peirce family with a $1,000 check from Sleigh and Cutter to send them on a vacation this summer. We may not have reached a cure for Kaden this afternoon, but we did see the incredible things that can happen when a community comes together for a cause. Thank you for letting us help out today, and keep fighting Kaden.
Another annual Sleigh and Cutter Festival in the books, and what a memorable weekend it was. The Team Waseca girls started off Friday morning at Cassie's Classic Cuts where we got hair and makeup done for our photo shoot by Makayla Rae Photography. After many laughs were had and about a thousand pictures were taken, we headed over to the Sleigh and Cutter dinner and dance. We took tickets, led a flag ceremony, and once the music started, we were literally the only ones out on the dance floor. We weren't complaining though! This gave us all a chance to show off our killer moves (I'm pretty sure it was very obvious to anyone watching that dancing is not what I perform for talent). Eustace saved me the last couple dances, he even agreed to recreate the picture we took together 2 years ago (with much hesitation, can't you tell?). It was a late night, but the next morning, we got up bright and early to help set up and ride in the Sleigh and Cutter Parade. It was exactly zero degrees that morning, but we bundled up and braved the cold. I swear I smiled for so long that my face literally froze that way! We ended our afternoon with a community lunch and pictures at the ice sculptures and huddled together for a group hug before leaving. Drew leaves this week for Australia and Annika lives 4 hours away, so getting us all in the same place at the same time might not happen again for quite awhile. I can't express well enough just how thankful I am for Team Waseca. I am truly blessed to be surrounded with such incredible women.
Thank you for visiting my blog! Come back often as I will update with pictures and journal about various appearances I make, share my platform, and prepare for Miss Minnesota in June!