Anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that I’m an incredibly impulsive individual. Although I’ve gotten better at thinking through things first — wisdom comes with age, right? — I still find myself quick to react to things I’m emotionally invested in. And you can imagine what kind of trouble that can bring.
Cue Sunday’s Miss America Competition.
With the amount of times my heart skipped a beat, I should be in the hospital right now, having surgery to revive my impaired ticker. I finally got a glimpse into what my parents and supporters go through when I’m the one on stage.
This is a rough outline of my night to better paint a picture:
9 p.m. “OH MY GOSH, IT’S ON!!!!!”
9:13 p.m. “SARAH (Miss Ohio)! LOOK, IT’S SARAH! Wow, she looks like a Barbie.”
9:18 p.m. “VIRGINIA – I KNOW HER!!!!”
9:26 p.m. *Top 15 Announcement* “How? Why?!”
9:39 p.m. *Swimsuit* “I’m so confused.”
9:53 p.m. *Evening Wear* “Miss Georgia, I NEED YOUR GOWN!”
10:09 p.m. *Talent* “Miss Pennsylvania, CAN I BE YOU?!”
10:17 p.m. “LOOK, AGAIN, IT’S CECILI!!!”
10:23 p.m. *Top 10 Cuts to Top 7* “Knew it. But still confused. WHY IS SHE GOING SO FAR?!”
10:36 p.m. – 10:40 p.m. *Personality OSQ* “How can you not come up with an answer? Miss D.C. that was hysterical. Chris Harrison, I bet you do look good in a speedo.”
10:44 p.m. *Top 7 Cuts to Top 5* “WOW. DID THEY JUST CUT ALABAMA?!”
10:50 p.m. *The Real OSQ* “Your new Miss America is New Jersey.“
10:54 p.m. *Placements* “OMG NJ, WHY ARE YOU WALKING AWAY AS 2nd RUNNER-UP, NOOOOOO!”
10:57 p.m. *Top 2* “What am I missing?“
10:58 p.m. *Miss America 2018 is…* “I just don’t get it.”
This was all done in my gown from Miss Ohio 2016 and a crown on my head ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Now, if you’re a current or former contestant, a parent of contestants, a current or former director, or a fan of MAO, I know you’re probably shocked at how raw and honest my outline is, but please know that I mean well. I bet you’ve had similar moments such as these yourself.
You see, we are all guilty of judgment. We do it countless times in our daily lives. We complain about the weak. Assume the worst if someone’s qualities don’t measure up to what society tells us is “perfection.” Criticize when we have not stood in someone else’s shoes.
We are ignorant. We are cruel. We should feel ashamed.
I woke up on Monday, September 11th, feeling disgusting. Here I was, someone who strives to go against the grain – against the stereotypes – passing judgment about the new winner without having done any research. My journalism professors would be disappointed.
For once, I had forgotten all of the criticism I, myself, have undergone. I have forgotten the true meaning of the four points of the crown. And I have forgotten that this journey is less about YOU and more about the people in front of you, whose lives are awaiting your service. Cara Mund was selected to bring change, to give a voice to the voiceless and to bring a light into this dark world we call home. She has already lit up our world within the 2-hour televised event.
I judged a remarkable book by its cover. So now, let me tell you what’s on the inside of that book …the quick synopsis of our new Miss America.
Cara Mund is a graduate of Brown University. She has been accepted to one of the top law schools in the country (Notre Dame), and aspires to be North Dakota’s first woman elected governor. SHE IS SMART.
Her answers to the on-stage questions were brilliant, educated and full of gratefulness. She speaks with conviction and inspiration.
“If you have the ability to do it and you dream it, you can do it.” – Mund
From NJ.com: “When asked if she was registered with a political party, Mund diplomatically declined to reveal any affiliation.
“‘I’m an American,’ she said.”
Humility flows through her. She is proud to represent the greatest nation on Earth.
She is curvy and makes all of us curvy women feel like we are worthy. Like we, too, can own that runway. And we, too, can rock our swimsuits while being vulnerable on LIVE TV.
She is talented and energetic. She speaks from the heart and you bet your horses I would take out a loan to pay for an opportunity to be in that interview room as she stood behind the podium. Girl, you are one in a million.
Oh, and let’s not forget Cara is one heck of a fundraiser.
She is funny. She is charismatic. She is OUR Miss America. She is mine.
It’s thrilling to witness MAO and judges choose intellect, a servant’s heart and a remarkable interview versus the most talented contestant as their winner. At the end of the day, Miss America is a spokesperson, an advocate and a representative of something bigger than herself.
I am so proud to have Cara Mund represent an organization that many of us hold dear, and am ecstatic to see the direction MAO will take under her reign.
I hope this post encourages each and every one of you to be kind to one another and to only speak in awe of someone or something. The world we live in present-day is a scary one. We lack empathy and understanding. We don’t challenge one another like we used to. Instead, we fall prey to evil and fight with one another for amusement. We have turned our freedom of speech into a spectator sport.
“Only humility will lead us to unity, and unity to peace.” – Mother Teresa
The change begins with you.
P.S. Congratulations to every woman that crossed the Miss America stage last week. You all have much to be proud of, achieving a lifetime dream. Much love to my girls, Sarah Clapper and Cecili Weber. You two have made many of us Ohioans proud to know you.