Monday, July 13, 2009

I love Dolly Parton.


Just days before leaving for Miss New York, I flew to Jackson, TN to see my good friend and Sweetheart Sister Brooke Waddell, Miss Greene County compete for the title. She was the returning 1st RU and therefore under a lot of pressure with expectations. Expectations of others, yes, but expectations of herself. We all know our potential and our capability for this job, we just hope that others – 7 strangers – can see that too.

We went to the Miss TN lunch where they handed out the MAO and MTN awards. Brooke won the Miss America Community Service Award for her work with her platform “Reach to Buckle Up.” Her platform work is incredible as it stems from a personal story. As a former college basketball player, Brooke breaks the pageant stereotype and becomes more relatable when she speaks in schools. You should see how the kids in her presentations are drawn to her like magnets, hanging off of her every huggable limb. She has IT.


I was able to see Friday night prelims and Saturday finals. The show was incredible to watch – live television really structures the show and makes things fly! Brooke looked stunning in every aspect of competition in the Top 10. In each conversation leading up to the pageant, she said “I could not have run one more mile, watched another minute of CNN, sung my song one more time…I’m ready.” That’s the feeling you have to have. 100% prepared to leave it all on the stage and see if the judges are smellin’ what you’re cookin’. Let’s just say they were having appetizers and salads with Brooke and didn’t quite make it to the steak. She was 2nd RU to Miss Tennessee. No, not . - !!!! Stefanie Whittler is the new Miss TN.

“GOOOOO BROOOOKEEEE!!!!” This is what echoed in my ears for days following Miss Tennessee from sitting next to Brittany Waddell, the twin sis.

As hard as it was, Brooke was incredible. I admire this woman immensely for the way she dedicated sooo much to this program, yet she had the ability to at that moment let it go, seeing it in the perspective of her life. She had amazing family, boyfriend and friends there cheering her on and she knows she is loved. It may not have been the motivation I had envisioned, but watching Brooke lay it out there on stage with all of her heart was what lit yet another fire under my butt for Miss New York. I flew home on Sunday to head up to Albany Tuesday morning. I followed suit and left it all out there, and we know the story from there. You better bet Brooke Waddell was calling to check in, encourage me, and quickly to congratulate me and send hugs and love from her family immediately after Miss NY.

You’ve been a blessing in my life, Brooke, and we are living proof of what this Organization does for women, relationships and personal growth.


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