To pick up where I left off from Friday, we were on our way to a fundraiser at the Siegel Estate. David Siegel, owner of Westgate Resorts, has hosted a party and fundraiser for Miss America for the past 3 years. He and his wife (an original New Yorker) have a beautiful home and open its doors to us for the evening. We ate at food stations of 14 of Orlando’s nicest restaurants around the pool, mingled with the guests and danced all night inside once the rain came on. Mr. Siegel donated $25,000 to Miss America, Caressa Cameron and Art McMaster for which we are all incredible grateful. (No, there wasn't a dress code of white/cream -- we just all had similar taste hehe)
Saturday, we had our official Miss America Class of 2011 Orientation – ahhh that’s crazy to say! We learned a bit more about production by Tall Pony Productions on ABC, learned that DSW will be our presenting sponsor above other major sponsors: Artistry Cosmetics, American Signature, Inc., listened to advice in a great chat with Caressa, received first hand information about the new Miss America Brand clothing line that launches this week, and got the low-down on security – Rodney means business! They spoiled us with tons of gifts – my bag was overweight on the way home…
Of course, the most important part of the trip was Saturday, the MAOT Finals. All of the Miss America contestants lined up in our evening gowns for an autograph session before the show. As we headed into the packed theatre, it all began! The production was incredible with tons of videos, featuring the girls from the entire week. As hosts Justin Guarini and Caressa Cameron called out the Top 10, of course there had to be a surprise…Top 15! Top 15 did evening gown and then a red carpet interview with Miss America 2008 Kirsten Haglund, followed by a cut to Top 10 for Talent and Activewear. I was blown away. I mean, I believe in the Miss America Organization with all of my heart, and I have seen first hand with Alison the growth and positive experience that it provides for young women, but this week exceeded my own expectations. We were definitely bummed that Alison did not make the Top 15, but wow, she impressed us all all week in every phase of competition. Congratulations to all 53 contestants, 4th RU Virginia, 3rd RU Washington, 2nd RU Georgia, 1st RU Alabama and Miss America's Outstanding Teen Lacey Russ (Oklahoma)!
Overall, it was such a great week!! I had a blast getting to know some of the girls better - crazy to think that I don't think I even met everyone face to face - so many of us. I've got my favs! And by the fact that my final night photos are pretty much just a montage of Caitlin Uze and me, I think it's pretty obvious that VA and NY are going to be buds this year :)
More photos in my Miss America's Outstanding Teen photo gallery