Monday, June 1, 2015

Glitter and Gratitude

Miss New Jersey week is so close!  One week from tonight I will be in Ocean City ready to check in for my third year competing for the title of Miss New Jersey.  Looking back on my experience with the Miss America Organization, and especially with the Miss New Jersey Education Foundation, I am filled with nothing but fond memories and lessons.  I’m sure that regardless of what happens in this year’s pageant, those memories will grow and continue to shape the person I am!  My year as Miss Gloucester County has been a dream come true.  I have been so blessed to have met numerous community members and have been able to complete countless volunteer acts in Gloucester County.  I was reminded of how lucky I am yesterday at Kelcie and my send-off party.  We were surrounded by so much love and motivation- I don’t think I can put into words how it made me feel.  As a teen contestant growing up, I was afraid to tell my friends about my pageant endeavors.  I was afraid of coming off the wrong way and wanted to avoid the stereotypes that so many believe.  I looked around the room yesterday and saw so many faces of people I care about, supporting me and my journey. 
 One of my "little stars" for this year!
 My beautiful cousin, Maddi :)
 Mama Grabert & Christopher!
 Rachel allowed me to come speak in her 5th grade class this year!
 The most lovely Mom-mom!
 Thank you, Amanda for serenading us with your amazing voice and being such an awesome sister!
Love the Miss GC/MissSJ pageant family!

            Today, because of your confidence in me, I am proud to tell friends, family, and strangers about my time competing in the organization, and enjoy proving the “pageant girl” stereotype wrong.  Do I have an affinity for glitter?  Yes.  Do I enjoy wearing make-up?  Yes.  Do I strut on stage in a swimsuit and 5 inch heels?  Yes.  Do I live a lifestyle of health and fitness?  Absolutely.  Do I spend every free moment I have advocating for a cause?  Absolutely.  Some aspects of the pageant stereotype are true, and I am unashamed and proud to show that side of myself.  What others may not know is that there is so much hard work and dedication that goes into competing in the Miss America Organization.  Next week I will compete with some of the most competent, healthy, bright, determined young women I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.  They are all astounding in their ability to juggle being full-time students, philanthropists, performers, and fierce friends.  While some of us may fit into the pageant stereotypes of glitter, makeup, hairspray, and high heels, we do not fit a mold of perfection.  Each contestant has a unique story that has lead her to the Miss New Jersey stage.  Most importantly, each contestant defies the “pageant girl” stereotype’s idea that we must not get along.  I cannot count the amount of times I have lost my breath from laughter with these girls.  I cannot count the times I’ve been offered help when I needed it- whether emotionally, in volunteer endeavors, or backstage.  Next week will be no different.  I am beyond excited to spend another week with my fellow contestants, laughing, dancing, (not) sleeping, and making memories that will last a lifetime.

            Thank you, to all who keep up with my crazy #RoadToMissNewJersey.  I hope you all understand that your support does not go unnoticed.  I feel like the luckiest girl in all of Gloucester County to represent my community and what it stands for!  Stay tuned for another blog post pre-pageant- there are plenty of thoughts going on and I’m excited to share with you!  To follow my day-to-day endeavors as Miss GC, follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook!  
Twitter: or @kcandvo
Instagram: or @keepcalmandvolunteeron

Follow Kelcie and I as we represent Gloucester County and South Jersey at:
Instagram: or @missgcandmisssj
Until next time,

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