It feels like yesterday when I heard my name called as the new National American Miss New York Teen. It was a moment I worked toward for eight years and it was worth the wait. The moment I was crowned I knew it was my turn to be a role model because for the rest of the year all eyes would be on me.
Throughout my year I enjoyed participating in events such as the Queens Corner Expo, marching in the Eastchester St. Patrick's Day Parade, attending the Earth Day "Be the E" fair and walking the red carpet before a Neiman Marcus fashion show; distributing cards on behalf of Love Letters at the Maria Fareri Children's Hospital, volunteering at many charity walks such as: Multiple Sclerosis, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, Lupus, AIDS, Autism Speaks, and the Kids Walk for Kids with Cancer; emceeing the Miss Next Level Youth and Miss Earth Northeastern pageants, assisting at NAM open calls and call backs and traveling to the New Jersey and Upstate New York pageants as visiting royalty.
In November, I attended Nationals in California, where I had one of the best weeks of my life. The week was filled with fun opportunities including the 70's party, a day in Disneyland, touring the streets of Hollywood, Thanksgiving dinner, and a lot of rehearsals. I met so many wonderful girls from across the country, who I know will continue to accomplish great things in their futures. To my teen queens: we really were an outstanding group of leaders. We always joke around saying the class of 2010 was the best of the best but in my heart we truly were, I love all of you girls.
To my sister queens: Faith J, you have such a big heart and I will miss your hugs dearly. Faith P, you have to be one of the most beautiful little girls I have ever met inside and out. You're so special to me and always have the ability to make me smile. Selena, winning together was the icing on the cake to the end of our pageant weekend last year, we always said we were sisters but NAM truly brought us even closer together. I can't wait to see what the future has in store for us. Paige, your beautiful face and shinning personally always brightens my day, I will remember our long talks that always led into laughter. Alyson, I couldn't have asked for a better big sister. Thank you for always being there for me, we have made some incredible memories this year from being attached at the hip in Disneyland to our adventure in Tarrytown. Abisola, i'm so happy we got to spend our year together. Thank you for all of your endless support and your awesome pep talks, but most importantly always being able to make me laugh. I love you all so much and although our reigns may be coming to an end we will always carry crowns in our hearts and be sisters forever.
I've had so many people help me get to where I am today. I can't thank you all enough. Miss Gigi, you gave me the confidence necessary to achieve all of my dreams and definitely taught me how to strut my stuff while I'm making them come true. Debbie and Sasha, you two are an awesome dynamic duo. You both have seen me grow up throughout the years and know how to truly make me shine every time. Rene, you're always there to listen to me, lend a helping hand, and put me in my place whenever I get out of hand. Taccara, you truly made me into a pro, I love our shopping trips and will never (and I mean never) forget our memories from Nationals. Our long talks in the middle of the night helped me get through the week. My second pageant mom, Debra, thank you for always being there for me when I need someone to talk to, lace up my dress, or put a bobby pin in my hair. Thank you for helping me plan all our fun events this year. To my best friend, Claudette, words can not describe how thankful I am to NAM for bringing you into my life during our competition in 2005, you were such an essential part to not only winning the state title but to making my year a successful one. You were always there for me no matter what time of day with your inspirational words to lift me up and help me make all of my decisions. To my other half, Lisa, we also met at that NAM competition in 2005 and have been inseparable ever since. You are an amazing person and are always there for me; thank you for helping me get through the tough times and never letting me quit something I have started. Most importantly mom, thank you for all of your love and support. I still remember the day I was crowned, looking out into the audience and seeing you jumping up and down crying. This journey was a long one but I couldn't have asked for anyone better to always be by my side. I love you so much! To the rest of my family, friends, and supporters: thank you for always pushing me to be my best and supporting me in all of my dreams, you all mean the world to me.
Special thank you to the Mayes for running an amazing pageant production, that makes me want to return year after year. Kathleen, I am truly grateful for your help at the national pageant, you always made sure I looked my best. Steve, I enjoyed getting to know you better during our chats at the open calls. You two are the best state directors I could ask for. LaKishia, thank you for always being there to answer my questions and help me at the state pageants. Tiffany, I had an awesome time with you at the open calls and call backs and treasure your honesty and sassiness. I love the whole NAM staff and am honored to be part of the exclusive sorority we like to refer to as the NAMily.
To all the contestants, I wish you all the best of luck and remember you are all beautiful and you don't need a crown to define who you are. After the pageant is over I encourage you all to take the skills you have learned over pageant weekend to grow as a person and chase all of your dreams because anything is possible when you believe in yourself. To my successor, get ready for the time of your life. When the crown hits your head the journey has only begun. The title of National American Miss New York Teen is a job first and an honor second, always remember that. Make sure you put your crown and banner to good use, make a difference in the world, and be the role model you are meant to be.
National American Miss New York Teen