Thursday, February 10, 2011

January 20, 2011

On January 20th I attended and sang the National Anthem for the ceremonial swearing in of our new assembly woman Nicole Malliotakis at her alma mater, New Dorp High school.  Assemblyman Lou Tobacco was the Master of Ceremonies and special guest former Governor George Pataki aided in the ceremony and spoke briefly about his former employee, Ms Malliotakis.

I enjoyed this event for two main reasons. The first reason is rather simple, I had never been to a swearing in ceremony before and it was interesting to observe how the night unfolded. I was impressed by the mini speeches given by the local politicians. Regardless of their political parties, they all united to welcome and support our new assemblywoman. It was refreshing to say the least.

The second major contributing factor to why I left the ceremony feeling hopeful and refreshed is assemblywoman Malliotakis' story. The young assemblywoman has accomplished a lot in her 30 years. A first-generation American — her mother was born in Cuba, her father in Greece — Ms. Malliotakis (R-East Shore/Brooklyn) called it "an extreme honor to represent the place that I love and call home in the New York State Assembly." With young women being bombarded by the media's image of 30 year olds like Kim Kardashian (who I must admit I have a soft spot for), it was great to a see a woman standing up for what she believes in and representing our community with dignity and class. I was struck by how many of the speakers spoke to Malliotakis' hardworking, honest, sincere nature, something we all could use a bit more of.

A special thank you to Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis for including me in this event!

With former Governor George Pataki

With Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis

Miss America!!

On the day of my 22nd birthday, January 11th, my mother and I boarded and early flight headed to Las Vegas, Nevada to attend my favorite sporting event of the year, the Miss America Pageant. If you think about it, it really is the Super Bowl of the pageantry world.

It was thrilling to be reunited with my pageant family from around the country. I had not attended a Miss America pageant since I was Miss America's Outstanding Teen in 2007 and it felt amazing to be back in Vegas surrounded by some of my favorite people watching 53 remarkable women compete for the job of a life time. (AH! Pinch me!) Of course I had some girls I was particularly routing for. Obviously the inspirational Claire Buffie, Miss New York was a front runner in my mind!!

I attended all of the preliminary competitions, hooting and hollering of course, shopped at the trade show (and maybe even made a special gown purchase from my dear friends Carey & David from Regalia Magnificent Apparel), walked in the DSW Show us Your Shoes Parade as a former MAOT, and made some appearances with the Teen Contestants. Overall, I was humbled and inspired by my trip. It is such an amazing feeling to be a part, regardless of how small, of the Miss America Organization which is the largest scholarship provider for young women in the world and plays such an integral role in my conceptualization of "Americana."

Congratulations to our new Miss America Teresa Scanlan and to all of the amazing contestants! You are all such dynamic individuals and amazing role models for our country.

Here are just a few of the pictures from the week!

With Kim Cantoni, fomer Miss Staten Island & Claire Buffie Miss New York after the first night of preliminary competition

With Lewis, a member of the Miss America security team and close friend!

With MAOT sister Lacey Russ, Miss America's Outstanding Teen 2011

With Meghan Miller, Miss America's Outstanding Teen 2006

Claire Buffie, Miss New York! I am so proud of you Claire!!!

Miss Vermont, Caroline Bright! <3


Well with a combination of traveling, the holidays, and back to school, I have been slacking on updating my blog. I'm sorry!!! Let me back track a bit.

Way back on December 16th,
I stopped by the weekly meeting of the Staten Island chapter of American Institute of Architects. AIA is one of Miss Staten Island's community sponsors. This year they funded and essay contest about smart growth for the Staten Island community open to the Miss & Teen Staten Island/Richmond County contestants. The scholarship was won by Miss contestant Clara Sherman! Congratulations Clara! At the meeting I was able to become acquainted with several of the club members as well as inform the organization about the Miss Staten Island Organization, the Miss America Organization, a bit about myself and my goals for the year and beyond as an active member of the Staten Island community. Thank you to the SI chapter of the AIA for your support and welcoming me to your meeting!

A couple of days after this appearance I headed out for a much needed vacation to New Orleans, LA with two of my close girlfriends. I had never been to New Orleans and desperately wanted to get there. We did a one week crash course of the city including a nighttime vampire tour (those of you who know me well, know that I was petrified the whole time), a swamp tour on a flat bottomed boat where we even saw alligators, a lot of amazing southern food, (fried chicken and jambalaya is NOT on the Miss NY diet), shopping, dancing, and tons of live music. We returned home from our trip on Christmas eve in time for me to spend the holidays with my family!