For the talent portion of the Miss America competition, I very well could have chosen a song that showcased more of my range or that fit more neatly into the mold of what is expected of pageant contestants…consequently fading into the background and probably not winning Miss America.
I stayed true to myself and took a risk. And…it paid off. I’m here to tell anyone that will listen: IT’S OK TO BE DIFFERENT. You just might win Miss America…just saying.
The first time I ever performed my cup routine in front of judges at the local level in New York, one judge came up to me afterwards and said, “Never lose that. You have something and it shines when you sit on that floor.” Over the past 2 years, I’ve also seen how kids react to it…and it’s priceless.
One of the most important job responsibilities of Miss America is being an inspiration to young children. And that means being relatable. My cup routine is entertaining for kids to watch, but more importantly, they can do it too. It has been a great way to connect and start a conversation about pursuing their dreams.
This week, I got to relive my Miss America talent performance all over again for the Boys and Girls Club in Atlantic City. Honestly, these kids were the brightest spot I’d seen all week. Their smiles melted away layers of stress while we clapped along and sang “Happy” together.
The best part of being Miss America is the kids. Hands down. They give my life meaning and purpose. Despite anything else, I can look into the face of a child and be touched by their unconditional love.
Don’t be surprised if you start to see crown cups in hospital gift shops or being left mysteriously at the bedsides of children nationwide. What Wilson (my cup) does is pretty remarkable. He brings pure joy to children. While a red plastic cup might not be the fanciest of contraptions, it does it’s duty…and I have a feeling that even the naysayers out there can’t help but clap along when they see those joyous smiles on kid’s faces.