Thursday, April 12, 2012

Dancing With the Stars in California

Well hello, west coast. I've been in Hollywood, California this week for a reunion with my Miss America sisters! Noelle Freeman, Miss California, invited as many girls as she could fit in a van for a family vacation in Hollywood.

Joining on the trip was Miss Arizona Jennifer Sedler, Miss Oklahoma Betty Thompson, Miss Washington Brittany Henry, Miss North Carolina Haley Best and Miss Mississippi Mary Margaret Roark.

The featured event was visiting Dancing With the Stars! Mark Ballas invited us to join him and the cast during Rock Week. We chilled with the cast at House of Blues, Executive Chef Francis Dimitrius treated us to a custom lunch at Villa Blanca, received a private tour of The Magic Castle, scarfed down Sprinkles cupcakes, saw the sights, visited the beaches and even went to...wait for it...Disneyland (hope you sang it as you read it) where Noelle booked us a reservation at the exclusive Club 33. Add countless hours of girl talk you've got yourself a dandy vacation.

Hey, we even made the paper!  While this trip was arranged for our personal reasons, being together meant we were representing our state titles and the Miss America Organization the entire week. Just because I don't have my sash on does not mean I'm no longer Miss New York.

The point is that the public needs to see the moments outside of the platforms and crowns: We still eat cupcakes and climb into kiddie rides. We still get nervous when you take our picture. We still turn to one another sheepishly on the way out the door to ask if we look alright.  We're still discovering ourselves and navigating friendships. But we are friends based deeply in respect for one another's commitment to self and community. That's the stuff of sisters. So go find your Miss America sisters; women who inspire and push you to be better, and refuse to see you do anything less than smile along the way. You don't need a crown to be that for someone.

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