Miss Texas Blog
April 19, 2012
I’ve seen Miss Texas 2012. Actually I’ve not only seen her, I’ve spoken to her, and probably had a laugh or two with her at some point throughout my year. This past weekend was the annual Miss Texas Spring Meeting where all the contestants gather together for the first time before pageant week. It was a very exciting time as I looked at the hopeful faces of all the young women who are working hard for my job. Now that I have been Miss Texas for well over nine months, I feel an attachment to this title and a better understanding of what being Miss Texas truly means. My whole heart, time, passion, and efforts have been devoted to the state of Texas for the last few months. After meeting all of the young women in the Miss Texas class of 2012, I feel a better sense of assurance that the title will be in good hands next year. From what I observed through my interactions with all the contestants, Miss Texas 2012 is kind, motivated, classy, positive, charismatic, driven, dynamic, genuine, sincere, committed, compassionate, and talented. Texas would be blessed with any one of the contestants who will be vying for the title in July. To the Miss Texas Class of 2012: I would be proud to pass along the title to any one you. Continue working hard in your preparations because the next Miss Texas is inside all of you just waiting to be uncovered.
Spring Meeting was very different this year than in years past. While loads of paperwork were turned in and group placements were drawn, this weekend was about more than just business. The focus was on the contestants and helping all of them be as prepared as possible for the state competition. I was honored to stand in front of the contestants along with other former Miss Texas’ that I’ve idolized and answer any questions that the girls may have about the job of Miss Texas. The rest of the weekend was filled with workshops on interview, fitness, helpful advice for life, and tips to prepare for the pageant. I even learned some things that I had forgotten from my director, during her “fireside chat” with the contestants. Overall, it was a great weekend filled with fellowship and fun.
I left the weekend with a sense of peace in knowing that Miss Texas 2012 is an incredible young woman, whoever it may be. I will be sad to pass along the crown in July, but it will be a beautiful ending to an amazing adventure and the start of another one.
Until next time,
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April 11, 2012
Spring is in the air! For the past 2 years of my life this normally would have meant pounding the pavement to sell ad pages, putting the finishing touches on my resume and platform statement, and tackling the mound of Miss Texas paperwork. At this time last year, I was simply hoping and dreaming to be in the position that I am so fortunate to be in now. I’m often asked in interviews “What advice would you give to young women who want to be Miss Texas?” My answer is always work harder than you think you should. Work while others are playing. Work while others are sleeping. I have a theory that if I work harder than everyone else then everything will fall into place in the end. The young woman who takes my place in July must have a good work ethic which is shown through her preparations in each area of competition. This Friday night is the start of the annual Miss Texas Spring Meeting, and I cannot wait to meet all of the contestants who are vying for my job. To the 2012 Miss Texas class: Work hard over the next few months, leave no stone unturned, and watch your dreams turn into reality!
The month of March was very different from the other months of my reign. Usually I can count on doing school programs, speaking to civic clubs, and working with various charitable organizations each month. I did all of those things in different areas of the state of Texas, but I also went on an official road trip across the Lone Star State with the Miss America Organization official sponsor EXPRESS. I was the host for EXPRESS events in Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, and everywhere in between. In Austin I hosted interviews with several bands that played at SXSW. I want to go into broadcast journalism and TV hosting so this was great experience for me. The city of Austin was so alive with people and music. I loved shooting some videos on the infamous 6th Street in Austin. I only wished that I had been able to hear all of the bands that interviewed play at a concert later that night. In San Antonio, I shot part of the road trip video and hosted an activation for EXPRESS which included giving away plenty of EXPRESS gift cards and gear to people on the street via a prize wheel. EXPRESS had a tour bus that went all over the state of Texas and attracted a crowd wherever we went. The rest of the week we shot more videos across Texas at several places including the statue of Sam Houston, Buc-ee’s (the best gas station on I-45 in Madisonville), my billboard, and downtown Dallas. On the last night of the road trip, the EXPRESS bus headed to Fort Worth for a photo shoot at Billy Bob’s Texas (the world’s largest honkytonk!). For the finale of the road trip video, I brought out my hidden talent- twirling fire batons! The road trip across Texas with EXPRESS had definitely been a highlight of my year. Check out the road trip video via this link! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-IyYCc96Pk
Until next time,
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February 16, 2012
It seems like a thousand years have gone by since I last wrote. So much has happened over the past few months- mostly good, great, and wonderful. Now that I am back in Texas, I have some time to think back on the experiences that I have had thus far as Miss Texas.
My year has been a rollercoaster of a ride since July. It’s a good thing that I’m not afraid of heights and fast speeds or this might have been a problem! In November, I was given the news that the Miss Texas Pageant, Inc. franchise would not be able to continue under the current leadership. While this was certainly not the ideal situation for me as I prepared for Miss America, I welcomed the change and the option for new perspective to be brought into the Miss Texas Pageant, Inc.. Throughout the entire transition period my focus remained solely on being the best Miss Texas that I could be for the job and as a representative at Miss America. In December, I was very excited for my mentor and friend, to be awarded the Executive Director title. We worked tirelessly throughout the Christmas holidays to ensure that I was prepared for Miss America. Texas is very blessed to have a new wonderful leadership team that will continue the legacy of the Miss Texas Pageant, Inc. and take it to new heights.
Miss America was everything I thought it would be and more! I arrived on Thursday, January 5 with my nine bags (Yes, I held the record for the number of bags I brought!). The first contestant that I saw in the baggage claim area that I saw was none other than Miss Wisconsin, Laura Kaeppeler. We had gotten to know each other in Orlando and have a common tie with my Miss Texas sister, Tamara Hext Hilliard, who judged Laura when she won Miss Wisconsin. As soon as I arrived at the Planet Hollywood, I went immediately to a fitting with the new MAO sponsor Express. All of the contestants were allowed to pick out a dress from the racks of clothes that Express had brought. My eyes immediately went to a black lace one-shoulder short dress that reminded me of a Stella McCartney design I had seen Sarah Jessica Parker wear on the red carpet. The stylists at Express were so helpful in selecting the proper accessories to go with each outfit. After my look was complete, I practiced modeling and did interviews with Express for some of their promotional footage. I felt like a supermodel! Later in the day, I dressed in a black and white blazer, white shell, and black snakeskin bandage skirt from Express and a pair of black heels from my shoe sponsor Vince Camuto for the official arrival ceremony. As I introduced myself, I heard all the proud Texans cheer in the crowd. After all the hours of preparation, I finally felt the excitement and realization that I was competing for MISS AMERICA!
Friday morning started off early with the IHOP Pancake breakfast for CMN. For this I wore a gorgeous black Monique Lhullier dress with a wide black patent leather belt provided by MZ Couture and black patent Mary Jane heels by Vince Camuto (This was one of my favorite outfits of the week). Pancakes are one of my favorite foods so it was a test of my will-power to resist the scrumptious little things! I donned the official IHOP chef’s hat and apron to try my hand at making different shaped pancakes. I may not have had the prettiest pancakes, but I had a lot of fun making them and attempting to flip them in the air. After the breakfast, I went straight to interviews with Tall Pony production and Artistry. In the Tall Pony interview which was used during the evening gown portion on the telecast, I was asked to describe my evening gown, my definition of beauty and glamour, if Miss America should be sexy, and lots of other personality type questions. In the Artistry interview, I was asked about the Artistry products, how I plan on using my scholarship provided by Artistry by Amway, and the relationship between the Miss America Organization and Amway. The rest of the day was filled with rehearsals for the final night opening number. Since I was in the last group for the opening number, I did not end up having to learn any choreography that day. Many of the locations for the telecast opening number involved filming in bars, so the contestants that were under 21 were not allowed to do the filming in those areas which is why I was not in the alphabetical line up. During the day of rehearsals, I did plenty of bonding with my Miss America sisters. Miss Illinois, Hannah Smith, lead us in a group workout sessions around the ballroom so we got in a little exercise that day. Later in the evening, we all got dressed up to see “Phantom” at the Venetian. For this event, I wore a black and white sequin one-sleeve cocktail dress provided by MZ Couture and black peep-toe platform heels by Vince Camuto. I saw “Phantom” two years ago when I was in Vegas to watch the Miss America Pageant so this brought back some memories for me. The show was even more spectacular the second time around. I still can’t figure out how all the special effects work!
Saturday was another day full of rehearsals in one of the ballrooms at the Planet Hollywood. I learned the choreography for my section of the telecast opening number. I was part of the group that would be taping at the Cosmopolitan across the street from Planet Hollywood. I caught on pretty quickly to all the dance moves, but I always had to hope and pray that Miss Arizona, Jennifer Sedler, never missed a beat because I watched her entire time haha! After the rehearsals for the day, the contestants rushed upstairs to glam up for the Fashion Show Mall appearance. I don’t think I ever had more than 30 minutes to get ready for any event during the week so I learned how to curl my hair and do my make-up in a hurry. I wore my black lace Express dress for the Fashion Show Mall appearance. All the contestants were staged in a large box elevator underneath the runway at the Fashion Show Mall. When it was time for the show to start, the elevator rose to the ground level and the parade of Express fashions began. I had the time of my life walking the catwalk. My parents flew out with me on Thursday morning so they were in the audience to catch my every move. I could hear my dad’s distinct yell as I hit my poses at the end of the long runway. After the show, we all signed autographs as the onlookers inside the mall lined up to get our autographs. The contestants all went to dinner at Bucca di Beppo that night. This is one of my favorite restaurants in Dallas and it’s a go-to birthday restaurant for my family so I was very familiar with the delicious Italian menu. At dinner I sat with Miss Kansas Carissa Kelly, Miss New Hampshire Regan Hartley, Miss Tennessee Erin Hatley, and Miss Louisiana Hope Anderson. During dinner we all made our mark at Bucca di Beppo by dipping our hands in tomato sauce and leaving our handprints and signatures on a canvas. Dinner was delicious and very healthy, but my table just couldn’t resist when a jumbo ice cream Sunday with whipped cream and brownies was placed in front of us. We all said we would just have one bite, but we demolished the whole thing in a matter of minutes!
On Sunday, most of the contestants were out on location in Las Vegas for the telecast opening number video shoots, but since I was in the last group to be taped, I was part of an infomercial for the new MAO hair sponsor, Wen. Miss Oregon Caroline McGowen, Miss Rhode Island Robin Bonner, Miss Virginia Elizabeth Crot, Miss Virgin Islands Camila Daniels, Miss Wisconsin Laura Kaeppeler, Miss Wyoming Catherine Brown, and Miss Washington Brittney Henry were all part of the infomercial. We had a fun day of being pampered with hair and make-up and hanging out in the green room. The crew shot before and after looks on camera with each of the girls. Chaz Dean used all the Wen products on my hair while we were being taped. After it was all over with, my hair felt so soft and manageable but still had plenty of volume for my sky-high Texas hair taste. Later in the evening, my group headed over to the Cosmopolitan to finally shoot our segment of the telecast opening number. It was bitterly cold on top of the roof, but I shook off my goose bumps when the camera hit me for my intro. I said, “Bringing a little ‘dash’ to my Dallas Mavs, Lamar and Khloe welcome to Texas! I’m Kendall Morris, Miss Texas!” Since I was toward the end of the line-up, I managed to only do a few counts of dancing (thank goodness! Heehee!). After a long day, I crawled into my bed for a good night’s sleep since my interview was on Monday morning.
I was up early on Monday to go to hair and make-up with Lee Busby and former Miss Texarkana Maggie Remer. They made me look and feel beautiful all week. My interview was the first one after the judges had lunch so I had more than enough time to get dressed and watch some news before going to the holding room. I waited in the holding room for a little over an hour before my interview. I listened to the playlist on my Ipod and ran my mental program that I had worked on with Heather Sumlin at Mental Management. Normally I am nervous before interview, but this time I was excited about meeting the judges, especially my celebrity crush Mark Ballas! For interview I wore a navy peplum dress by Dallas’ own Michael Faircloth which was roughly modeled after a Victoria Beckham dress. I walked confidently into the interview room to see the beaming faces of some of my favorite celebrities. From the moment I walked into the room, I felt like I was having a conversation with friends at most points. My first official question was from Raul de Molina about illegal immigration. From then on the questions ranged in topic. On the heavy side, I was asked about Rick Perry and his campaign, President Obama, gay marriage, and the legalization of marijuana. On the lighter side, I was asked about Dallas Cowboys vs. Houston Texas, my favorite TCU football player, what I would wear to my first red carpet event as Miss America , the best and worst thing to happen in my life, what instruments other than the piano I can play, my platform, Barbara Walters vs. Diane Sawyer, where my dream vacation would be, my definition of beauty, where I would like to visit most in the world, where I see myself in 5 years , and how would I handle the travel schedule as Miss America. I know there are many more questions that I was asked in the short 10 minutes that I had with the judges, but this is just a sampling. I was asked a wide variety of questions, but I had anticipated a much more challenging interview. I walked out of the room knowing that the judges had seen every side of me, the serious, the goofy, the motivated, the intelligent, and the fun. I had huge support system waiting for me as I gave the two big thumbs up sign when I came out of the interview room. I said everything I needed to say in that interview and for that I am proud. The rest of Monday was filled with rehearsals in the Planet Hollywood theatre. I nearly burst into tears when I set foot on that stage and looked out at all the empty chairs. The last time I was in that theatre I had been sitting up in the balcony watching Teresa Scanlan as she was crowned Miss America. Two years ago I came to Las Vegas to watch Kristin Blair as she competed for Miss America. I had just won my very first Miss title as Miss White Settlement, and I remember walking all the way to the bottom of theatre by the stage because I wanted to know what it was like to be in Miss America. I looked up at all the empty seats after the preliminary competition was over in 2010 and thinking that no matter how hard I had to work, I wanted to be on that stage one day. Fast forward two years later and lots of long hours, and I had reached that dream…I was competing on the Miss America stage. The rest of the day was spent learning the opening number for preliminary competition and modeling patterns. That night all the contestants were treated to dinner at P.F. Chang’s inside Planet Hollywood. My fan club which consisted of Lee Busby, Maggie Remer, my parents, grandparents, cousin, and aunts were all there to eat dinner and cheer for me every time I walked by their table. It felt so great to know that I had so many people in Las Vegas to support me.
For the Mu group, Tuesday consisted of an off-site film shoot for Las Vegas/Planet Hollywood. We started the day off at Caesar’s Palace. We walked up and down the stairs and checked into the hotel countless times to get just the right shot. After that we went to Serendipity, which has some of the most fabulous desserts I’ve ever tasted! During this shoot, we were all served delicious ice cream Sundays and the most decadent dessert of them all, the treasure chest! This dessert was a huge treasure chest completely made of chocolate and filled with different kinds of ice cream, cookies, 3 kinds of cakes, fruit sauces, whipped cream, and chocolate syrup. I have never tasted anything so good in my life! The last part of the shoot was at a steak and seafood restaurant inside Caesar’s palace. We were served steak, seafood, and even caviar. Needless to say, the Mu group was well fed before the preliminary competition that night. On Tuesday night, I competed in the Onstage Question portion. Performing for the first time on the Miss America stage was exhilarating. I don’t remember my onstage question word for word since it went by so fast, but it had something to do with convincing people to volunteer for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society when many philanthropic organizations are struggling to recruit volunteers. I answered my question and felt great about the words I said onstage. After the first night of preliminaries, it was great to see my fellow Texans at visitation.
Wednesday morning was early for me. I had the option of sleeping in, but I chose to workout at 6 a.m.! Leading up to Miss America, I had been working out 5-7 days a week so I missed my morning runs while I was in Vegas. After a great workout, it was time for more video shoots at the Planet Hollywood. All of the girls were in a luxurious suite and we had fun dancing to the song “Tonight, Tonight.” After that it was time for the Mu group’s Swimsuit and Evening Gown rehearsal. It was easy to have fun onstage during the modeling categories because the stage practically vibrated with the bass on the swimsuit song “Pause” and the evening gown song “Paradise.” We rehearsed the modeling patterns until I felt like I could do them in my sleep. Swimsuit and Evening Gown are my favorite parts of competition so I was excited about the Wednesday night preliminary. I felt great in my mocha and gold Komplique swimsuit when I strutted my stuff on the stage during the competition. Evening gown was almost a dreamlike and surreal moment because I felt so beautiful in my Sherri Hill gown provided by MZ Couture. Later that evening, I waited onstage for the announcement of the preliminary winners. I was thrilled when my name was announced as the preliminary swimsuit winner!! I have never even won a preliminary swimsuit award at Miss Texas so this was a very special accomplishment. I want to thank James Milkavich at Energy Fitness and Dr. Larkin Page for giving up their time to help me be in the best shape that I could be for Miss America. After the preliminary competition, Miss Oklahoma Betty Thompson and I were rushed to the press room to meet with Katie Harmon and Sam Haskell for an interview. I also did an interview with the swimsuit sponsor Komplique before heading to see a very excited Texas delegation at visitation that night!
Thursday was talent day for me so I was up early for my rehearsal at the Planet Hollywood theatre. I had been eyeing the grand piano all week so I was anxious to perform on it. While the crew and sound technicians were wonderful at the theatre, my rehearsal was not up to my own personal standards since I had not touched a piano in at least week. I was worried about my talent after rehearsal and Miss Arkansas Kristen Glover was worried about her tap shoes slipping on the uneven surfaces of the stage when she gave me the good advice to perform fearlessly and leave it all on the stage. Kristen was an inspiration to me all week as I watched her positive attitude and grace under pressure in every situation. I managed to get in some practice time at lunch which gave me the assurance that I could give a stellar performance when it counted. The Mu group was one talented group with lots of variety including a jump roper, singers, pointe dancers, tap dancers, violinists, and of course, a pianist. When the time came for me to perform my talent, I remembered Kristen’s words to play fearlessly, and I honestly felt like I played the piano with every ounce of energy that I had. After all the preliminary competitions were over, I knew I had done the best I could possibly do, and I was satisfied with that feeling no matter what happened during the finals.
Friday was the earliest morning of all for Miss Florida Kristina Janolo and me. We were chosen by Artistry to do a satellite media tour at 4:30 a.m. I was running on only 2 hours of sleep, but I managed to promote some of my favorite Artistry products to news and radio stations across the country. Kristina and I kept our energy up with lots of delirious laughs and plenty of coffee for the entire 4 hours and over 20 interviews that we did. From there, we went straight to an entire day of rehearsals at the theatre. We camera blocked for the final telecast. It was hard to believe that I had been in Vegas for over an entire week, and this journey would be coming to a close the next night. Later that evening, all the contestants got dressed up for the Salute to the Crown gala. I wore a gorgeous royal blue cocktail dress provided by MZ Couture for this event. I was escorted into the ballroom that night by my executive director. I was finally able to sit down and speak to my parents and family that attended for more than a few minutes. This was a great way to relax and put the whole week in perspective leading into the finals on Saturday night. I was not sure what the future had in store for me, but I had a feeling of peace that everything would be fine no matter what the results were.
Saturday morning I woke up to pack my 9 suitcases back up. The contestants had been told to pack two suitcases that were necessities in case we were the one chosen as Miss America on Saturday night. I felt like I had moved into my room at Planet Hollywood, and it had become my home for the previous week and two days. I loved rooming with Miss Maryland Carly Colello. We had a great time coming home every night and discussing the events of the day, our experiences as state titleholders, college, family, and friends. Saturday was a bittersweet day for me. It was exciting to think that the new Miss America would be chosen that night, but I was not ready to leave behind the wonderful and magical experience that I’d had over the past week. I hardly remember the rehearsals from Saturday because it all went by so fast. Before the telecast, the Mu group had a group meeting in the dressing room to pump us all up. I don’t believe any other group bonded as much as the Mu group. We all cheered and encouraged each other even though it was a competition. I hardly remember the 2 hour telecast because it went by so fast! I was thrilled to hear my name called for the top 15. From that point forward it was so fast paced. I did a lot of running back and forth from the dressing room tent to the stage as I changed from outfit to outfit in less than 3 minutes! Swimsuit, evening gown, and talent all went by so quickly. I was overjoyed to continue advancing in the competition, but I was heartbroken to see the Miss America dream end for so many of my friends. When the time came for the top 5 to be announced, I stood onstage and knew that I had done everything in my power to be Miss America, but it would come down to the opinions of 7 judges. Going into Miss America, I thought that I would be disappointed at any other outcome but reaching my dream. When I wasn’t called out for the top 5, I only felt content. I look back on the many years that I have been a part of this organization and see the journey to this dream. When I did my first preliminary pageant as a shy 13-year-old girl, I never thought I would end up being Miss Texas and a top 10 finalist at Miss America. It took an army of volunteers within the Miss Texas Pageant, Inc. to draw out the best in me and mold me into the woman that I am now. I am forever grateful for the experience that I had in Las Vegas, but the journey leading up to Miss America is one that I will never forget.
I am thrilled for our new Miss America Laura Kaeppeler! On Friday night before the Salute to the Crown gala, I remember Miss Arkansas Kristen Glover speaking to all the contestants. She selflessly said that she hoped all the contestants would support, love, and encourage our new Miss America, whoever it may be. Laura represents not just the entire nation but the class of 2012 from Miss America. I am proud of her, and I know she will be a fantastic Miss America. From all the pictures I’ve seen on Twitter, I would say her year is off to a great start! Congrats Laura!
I am glad to be back in the great state of Texas for the remainder of my year! The next four and a half months will be busy with traveling and appearances, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love this state and this job!
Until next time,
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October 9, 2011
I love being busy, which is probably one of the many reasons I love this job. September was by far the busiest month that I have had yet. On each appearance, I make it my goal to learn something new either about myself, someone else, or life in general.
Lessons I learned during the month of September:
1. You are never too young to make a difference.
One of my favorite Bible verses is 1 Timothy 4:12 which says, "Don't let anyone look down upon you because you are young, but be an example for believers in speech, conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity." I was recently invited to speak at the Birdville High School homecoming pep rally by one of the seniors, Baylor Morrison. He started an orange ribbon campaign to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society because a friend's dad was diagnosed with Lymphoma. The ribbons sold for just a dollar each, but he was able to raise over $500 to donate to the LLS. Meeting students like Baylor is encouraging to me because it shows that teenagers have so much to offer this world and can make a lasting impact.
2. The job description of Miss Texas includes anything and everything.
I was the Grand Marshall at the NHRA Fall Nationals drag race at the Texas Motorplex in my hometown of Ennis. I threw out the first pitch at a Texas Rangers game. I emceed a fashion show, a pageant, and a fundraiser for a Mi Escuelita Preschool. I signed hundreds of autographs and probably took over a thousand pictures. I spoke to thousands of students across the state about achieving their dreams, the importance of philanthropy, kindness, peer pressure, and the power of one. I raised awareness for Leukemia at countless events. I gave my testimony in front of an entire congregation.
I love the variety of appearances that I have done, but the best job that I had this past month was definitely wrestling bears. I recently presented my school program at the McAllen Boys and Girls Club. The children were wonderful and asked me some of the funniest questions after my program. A group of little boys came up to me afterward and asked me, "Is it true Miss Texas?! Do you really wrestle bears?!" I was not sure what the correct answer would be, but I am not one to disappoint so I said that yes, I do wrestle bears. The boys grinned and ran away excitedly. Later I asked a teacher if she could explain their question, and she said someone told them Miss Texas had to wrestle bears to win the competition. While my answer may not have been true, I would gladly wrestle a bear any day to see the smile on those little boys' faces again.
This past month flew by all too quickly, but I am treasuring every moment as Miss Texas. With Miss America just 3 months away, I am positive that I want the job since it means continuing the work that I am doing here in Texas on a broader scale across the nation.
Here's to another great month of adventures across Texas!
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September 6, 2011
Stand up write the soundtrack for your life
It doesn't happen to you, you happen to life
Stand up you know you're gonna have to fight
Don't wanna lose the will to find your light
Stand up, God gave you the gift of life
It doesn't happen to you, you happen to life
Stand up, do something with your light
You're a light on a hill, you're meant to shine so bright
This quote comes from the chorus of one of my favorite motivational songs called “Stand Up” by the band Superchick. As I was preparing for Miss Texas this past year, the lyrics of this song resonated in my head and gave me the extra push of encouragement that I needed when I felt like my dreams were unattainable. I still start my day off by listening to this song because my work has not ended even though I have the Miss Texas crown. My journey did not end on July 1. My world was opened to a plethora of opportunities just waiting to be taken advantage of because I now have this wonderful title and a year to completely devote to serving others. (Depending on how Miss America goes, of course!)
My feet have finally touched the ground this week after going strong for two months. Unfortunately, I was not able to avoid getting my wisdom teeth taken out so I am at home recovering for a few days. This has given me plenty of time to reflect on the appearances I’ve made, the people that I’ve met, and the places I’ve been. Since I am taking a year off from school, I am trying to learn as much as I can about life, people, and the great state of Texas.
The weekend after Reilly and I were crowned, we headed to South Texas for the Miss San Antonio pageant. The talent competition offered a wide array of dances that included flamenco, salsa, and samba. Congratulations to Miss San Antonio- Michelle Spencer and Miss San Antonio’s Outstanding Teen- Danielle Sepulveda. I would like to give a huge thank you to the Grand Hyatt San Antonio for providing our accommodations for the weekend. Reilly and I felt like royalty when we walked into a luxurious suite after a long day of traveling and performing.
Reilly and I also made a road trip to Hot Springs, Arkansas for the Miss Arkansas pageant. Needless to say, we had plenty of bonding time during these long trips in the car. On the way home, we stopped off in Texarkana to take some pictures on the state line. Reilly and I can now say that we have been in two places at once! I’m still trying to figure out how to be in two places at once on the days when I have multiple appearances! J
Kendall Morris Day in Ennis
About a week after I was crowned, I returned to my hometown for a day of festivities to celebrate my win. I attended a Chamber of Commerce luncheon where the Mayor of Ennis, Russell Thomas, presented me with a proclamation stating that July 18, 2011 was Kendall Morris Day. This day was almost better than Christmas. After the luncheon, I went to Allen Samuels Autoplex in Ennis to sign autographs for a few hours and then the Ennis Public Library. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to see all the people from my hometown that have supported me and encouraged me on the path to achieving my dream.
Miss America’s Outstanding Teen
The month of August was busy, but the highlight was flying to Florida for Miss America’s Outstanding Teen. I have not been back to the national pageant since I competed in 2006. I cannot say enough wonderful things about the teen program now that I am older. As a teenager it is so easy to become self-centered and think the whole world revolves around trivial situations. The teen program opened my eyes to a much broader world that pushed me to be the best person that I could be in every area of my life. Many times teens are not expected to be leaders or accomplish very much, but being Miss Texas’ Outstanding Teen caused me to set my standards higher and not put limitations on myself or my dreams. This year there will be nine former outstanding teen state titleholders competing on the Miss America stage, which I believe is a direct testament to the program that empowered us to be leaders as teenagers.
The word outstanding means that a person stands apart from everyone and everything in a positive way. I can truly say that my teen, Reilly Johannsen, is the perfect representation of outstanding. I watched her compete on the same stage that I set foot on five years before. She gave every ounce of energy to her preparations and when the time came to for practice to meet opportunity, she faced it with an unmatched confidence. I am so proud of her and the way she represented Texas and thankful that I still have her as my little sister. Reilly inspired me at Miss America’s Outstanding Teen with her positive attitude, upbeat spirit, and ability to laugh at herself. I believe the judges saw her amazingly fun and spunky personality and loved her just as much as I do.
A few of my other fun appearances over the past two months included:
- Photo shoot with the amazing Zac Grimaldo for my official crown shots and head shots
- TCU Dallas Alumni Event
- Picking out dresses at Terry Costa and Shimmer to wear at Miss America’s Outstanding Teen
- TV interviews with WFAA and CW33
- Vince Camuto Flash Mob at North Park in Dallas
- Recording the Honored Hero Video for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
- Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey Circus (I juggled three batons while wearing 4 inch heels and my sash!)
- Speaking at the REIGN conference
- Speaking at the Mesquite and Frisco Rotary Clubs
- Picking out jewelry from the official jewelry sponsor - Baseball Diamonds
- Signing autographs at the Harry Metrik showroom
- Miracle Treat Day for Children’s Miracle Network at Dairy Queen
- Modeling at the prom and pageant market
- Speaking to a group of Frisco Girl Scouts
- Dancing in the TCU Frogs for a Cure flash mob
- Signing autographs for the Firestone Tire grand opening in Fort Worth
- Modeling and playing piano for the Comanche Main Street Fashion Show
I am surprised at how fast time is flying, but I am ready for the upcoming months ahead!
Here’s to many more great adventures!
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July 8, 2011
Miss Texas… These two words have been replaying in my head over and over the past few days. I have always been a dreamer, and I distinctly remember receiving my first signed autograph picture of Miss Texas 2000 Tara Watson. After taking one look at the picture that said “Always dream BIG,” I told my mom that I wanted to be Miss Texas someday. As I walked down the runway Friday night at Texas Hall, one of the first faces that I saw was none other than Tara Watson. The title of Miss Texas carries such a legacy and history with it. I have so much respect for the women who have held the title before me, and I hope that I can live up to the standard of excellence that each former has set. To sum up how I am feeling, I am blessed. My goals for the next year are to serve the state of Texas with my whole heart and bring the Miss America crown back to Texas.
My year is already off to a great start. My first official appearance was Sunday night at the “Light up Arlington” event. I attended a meet and greet, did an interview with Radio Disney, and introduced the 80’s cover band “The Spasmatics” on the main stage. The next morning I rode in the Arlington 4th of July parade. It was a typical hot Texas summer day, but the streets were lined with people. Thank you to Enterprise for providing a beautiful white Mustang convertible for my use in the parade. This week I also had an interviewat WFAA Channel 8. I was beyond excited to do this interview because I have grown up watching WFAA, and it is my dream to work there someday. It was surreal to meet and chat with some of my childhood idols like Gloria Campos.
One of the very special highlights so far has been receiving my brand new Infiniti G37 from Grubbs Infiniti. I have never driven a new car so I am forever grateful to Mr. Grubbs for allowing me to drive one of his exceptional cars all over the state of Texas during my year of service. I am still trying to learn how to use all of the high-tech features in the car since I was used to driving an old Mustang that would not allow me to even roll down the windows.
As my first week as Miss Texas is coming to a close, I am in love with this job. My adventures have only begun, and I cannot wait to see what the rest of the year has in store. I realize that my time as Miss Texas is temporal so I am enjoying it one day at a time for now.