On the eve of Miss America, I finally decided to sit down and blog about my Miss USA experience. It will be nice to cuddle up on the couch tomorrow night with my Miss USA roommate, Ellie Holtman Miss Missouri USA, and reminisce on our time at Miss USA. It’s also comforting to know we don’t have to be the ones on tv in a swimsuit in front of millions of viewers. You better believe there will be a lot of sweets and junk food involved in our viewing party.
So many people have asked me what Miss USA was like, and to be honest, the only people that will ever truly know what it was like are the girls who experienced it with me. It was unlike anything I could have imagined and I feel honored to be one of the select girls that really know what happens in Vegas, and as they say… What happens in Vegas… stays in Vegas.
As comic relief through the experience as well as to provide a humorous insight to how it felt sometimes, I describe it as a real life Hunger Games, of course without the vicious killing. For those of you who are not familiar with the Hunger Games series, this will make absolutely no sense to you. Here’s how the story goes...
Fifty-one lucky tributes (and in my rendition of the story we actually are extremely lucky) are chosen to represent their district (state) in the 2013 Hunger Games (Miss USA.) After preparing with my mentor, (my State Director and fabulous Vanbros team) I was shipped off to the extravagant Capital (Vegas.) Once there, I began my extensive training for the pageant (photo shoots, filming, rehearsals, etc.) and just like in the book, I had Stylists, like Cinna, that helped make me look my best and gave me support and encouragement along the way. I quickly formed allies with other “Districts” in order to survive. These “allies” became my support and family during the three long weeks in Vegas. During long days of rehearsals and having cameras on us constantly, I couldn’t help but hearing “Gale” in my head saying, “they just want a good show, that’s all they want.” And having Guiliana Rancic and Nick Jonas with us at rehearsals, I kept picturing them as the Caesar Flickerman character. When it came closer to the telecast, I could feel the pressure and tension rise as if people were watching me constantly. As I stood there onstage the night of the telecast, waiting to hear the top 16, I felt as if it were the reaping. While I stood there onstage, it felt like the final drop on the emotional roller-coaster I had been on for the last three weeks. A bit of terror, followed by a bit of relief, followed by a bit of sadness.
Being from Nebraska, I felt a little bit like Katniss Everdeen. Nebraska is a lot like District 12, not exactly what you would call a “career” state. However, I went to Miss USA ready to represent the greatest state in the country. It was the greatest experience of my life and I feel truly lucky be part of the class of 2013! As my year as Miss Nebraska USA slowly comes to an end and the 2014 girls begin to take our places, I want to give all the ladies competing for their state titles some advice, one of you will be the next “girl on fire” and of course… “may the odds forever be in your favor..”