A dream coming true is an event that comes few and far between. This moment happened for me the day I was crowned Miss Teen America for the year 2016 and I will never forget every second of it.
Being up on stage that night, I had no idea that I was about to experience a life changing moment. After being called up for top 5, I honestly was filled with such an overwhelming feeling of being blessed just to be in a top 5 with such a great group of girls that I would have been satisfied with any placement.
As each girl got called for a runner up, however, the thought of winning the crown became more real. By the time the second runner up was called, so many different thoughts and feelings entered my mind. I might be the one traveling all year to amazing places, doing community service work as a national titleholder, and one other slightly less important thought: if I won, what in the world would my caption be on Instagram?
Before I knew it, I was holding hands with Madeline, Miss Georgia Teen America and my soon to be first runner up. The only thing I remember telling her was that I would be so happy no matter who won, and I truly meant it. Madeline has a beautiful heart and it was such a great experience getting to know her throughout the week, and those are the types of girls you want winning a pageant. Almost the second after those words came out of my mouth, her name was called for first runner up and I could not feel anything on my body- I went numb!
I remember letting out a huge scream and kneeling to the floor because honestly that was all I could handle doing- I would have passed out standing at that moment! By the time Summer was able to put the crown on my head, it finally felt real.
If I could choose a favorite part of my crowning moment, this was absolutely the one. The crown always feels special on my head, but the first time wearing it is the most surreal. I was so overwhelmed with gratefulness that I used the entire first walk just thanking the judges for giving me such an amazing opportunity.
Now here is the funniest part of the night- after I did my first walk, all I could think about was a deep dish cookie at TGI Fridays and how I was going to get it as soon as possible, and I even asked Erin, my new Junior Teen America, what she wanted to eat! I think pageant girls can eat as much food as teenage boys post-pageant!
I could talk about this moment over and over again for the rest of my life because it never gets any less exciting to relive. Even three weeks later, I am still in absolute shock and can not wait for the incredible year I have ahead of me as the new Miss Teen America. For me, my crowning moment is not special because of the new crown I have on my head, but the endless opportunities I now have gained.