I have your weekend plans ready for you. I've been working hard with friends from college, Terra and Marcie, to produce a benefit concert for Haitian Relief. We have had some amazing people jump on board, namely the cast of Broadway's RACE, singer/songwriter Scott Alan, my dear friends Leigh-Taylor Smith (Miss NY 2008) and Jen Corey (Miss DC 2009), and many of the rising stars and voices you'll see in Broadway soon, but we need YOU to finish our circle. So here goes:
In light of the recent disaster that has devastated Haiti, a group of New York artists are coming together to produce a benefit concert to fund medical relief. The music and voices of Broadway, the passion of spoken word and slam poetry, the rhythm of Indie rock, R&B and reggae will all come together in one night at The Canal Room in New York City. Sunday, February 28 at 8:00 pm, please join us in celebrating our gifts of song, word and laughter to benefit the Haitian people.
Purchase tickets at www.canalroom.com -- PRESALE DISCOUNT $40, At the door $50 Make donations by contacting me 646.469.7559 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org An for more information, a complete (and incredible) list of perfomers, and to see exactly where our money is going, the GHESKIO Medical Center, go to www.lightforhaiti.net
So, this is not a traditional post in my blog...but you have got to see these dresses! Last Tuesday, the PFLAG Executive Director invited me to attend a private screening of CELINE: Through the Eyes of the World, a movie/documentary of Celine's Dion's tour. My roommate Matt and I went, not really knowing what to expect. It was great! - Private screening room at Sony Headquarters on the UES. The movie really humanized the "celebrity" of Celine Dion...she's a nutcase and has a beautiful relationship with her family. But really the point of this post is just fashion-oriented. LOOK AT THESE MINIS!!! Girlfriend looks amazing - hello 40+ with a bod like that, has amazing hair, and I wanted to wear basically EVERYTHING that she walked on stage in ... ok and off!
She had some fantastic long dresses as well. That's all.
Weeeee!!! Miss America time!! 3 am wake up call? Whyyyyy???? (ok enough punctuation.) Thursday morning, bright and early, The Trio (Megan, Ashley and I – the Trio that cheered Katie Stam all the way to Miss America together last year) headed out to Vegas for the Miss America pageant. I spent Thursday catching up with friends whom I haven’t seen forever, shopping around at the trade show, visiting my friends at Regalia and Red Carpet Pageant & Prom, and making our predictions for the competition. Thursday night brought an interesting night because I only got to see the girls in 1 phase of competition each, so I really didn’t have a good prediction for the pageant. I was very excited to watch this year though because I knew many contestants – from DC, NM, IA, MA, UT from National Sweetheart, IN, VA through LT, and of course SS prelim winner NY! (2 years in a row, baby!) There are some things I learned about going to Miss America last year: Tip 1: Stay at Planet Hollywood Tip 2: Buy your tickets the day of – we saw in the front center section row Q and had better seats than those who preordered!
Friday was an exciting day! A bit more shopping, perhaps a purchase of an evening gown (!!!) and we were ready for Evening of Dreams. This was a great night – a bit long, to be honest, with a lot of talking with not so much audience attention…but the food was great! The contestants all looked amazing and it was fun to see them up close and personal. It was incredible when Katie began talking about her experiences this year with the US Military. She address the wives and children who were named honorary Miss Americas at EoD and thanked them for their sacrifice. Through her tears, she captivated an entire room of 800 people to the silence that you could hear a pin drop. The room had not been that quiet all night – that’s why she was Miss America. Ok so you’ve probably heard, but then came the best part of the night. Something we knew was going to happen, but just not at what point during the night. The engagement. Brian Irk deserves so much admiration and respect for the commitment he has made to Katie this past year. And vice versa. Their relationship is inspiring and beautiful. The proposal was perfectly planned and executed, and I feel so special to have been a witness to it! I know Katie was ready to pass on the crown, job and lifestyle, but now it is even that more exciting!! Infinite congratulations, Katie and Brian!
Tip 3: If you know someone is going to propose to Miss America in front of 800 people, buy the ticket for Evening of Dreams ☺ And it’s the big day!! Miss America 2010. First of all, we lucked into something this year, which leads me to another tip.
Tip 4: If you want to support your friend in Miss America, but can’t necessarily afford the $150 and have a few extra hours to wait, be a seat filler! Ashley and her boyfriend Mike, Miss Lisa Smith and myself stood in line just an extra hour before the pageant before being escorted into a secret hallway backstage and into the theatre where we were directed to our front and center FREE seats to Miss America LIVE! We were just behind the screaming Outstanding Teen contestants who were full of energy and love for their state contestants. After an awesome introduction by Katie Stam from the rooftop of the Planet Hollywood, the 53 contestants performed a great opening number and introductions – New Jersey took the cake for best intro... “And no, I don’t know ‘the Situation!’ ” Alyse, Miss NY definitely stood out with her fantastic stage presence (and hair tosses!) in the opening number! Top 3 People’s Choice based on America’s votes, Top 11 from the judges and then SURPRISE! The remaining contestants had to vote 1 girl into the Top 15 of Miss America. This was a tough Top 15 because I felt that there were a few (5-6) girls in particular whom I thought would be definite Top 15ers…but there wasn’t really anyone whom I would have taken out of the Top 15! With so many prelim winners not making Top 15, I think this shows the wonderful quality of objectivity that the judges showed. They truly chose the best girl in each category, each night rather than succumbing to the pageant politics of throwing points to girls in all categories.
The cut to Top 12 lost Miss IN, Nicole Pollard, of whom I am soooo proud! She really lit up on stage and was a good example of truly living in the present and making the most of every moment on stage. Great swimsuits, beautiful evening gowns, but wow --- TALENT! You know how one big difference emphasized between Miss America and Miss USA is talent? Well this year they really proved it! Top 10 talent was just spectacular. Woman after woman graced the stage with flawless performances. A special shout out to Nicole Miner, Miss New Mexico, who has grown immensely in the past year. At Sweetheart so small and timid, and at Miss America soooo huge and expansive with her talent presentation, captivating all 7,000 people in the PH theatre. And Miss DC, Jen Corey – that was your moment, girl! You sang on national television and shared your beautiful voice and emotion with everyone. “Who makes Top 10 at Miss America? Who does that?” “YOU DO!” Top 7 On Stage Questions were amazing, but in my opinion, this is where Caressa Cameron, Miss Virginia, won it all. Woooowwww. (Granted if you check my phone, I do have a log of text messages from the minute she introduced herself in the opening number to Lisa and Leigh-Taylor Smith saying “Hey VA, I think ya’ll may have a Miss America this year” Yet another extremely successful Miss Arlington…can I be Miss Arlington?) 4th RU Kentucky, Mallory Ervin (vocal), 3rd RU Louisianna, Katherine Putnam (piano), 2nd RU Tennessee, Stephanie Whittler (vocal), 1st RU California, Kristy Cavinder (ballet en pointe), Miss America 2010 Caressa Cameron (Virginia, vocal)!! Caressa is talented beyond belief, an incredible activist for her platform about AIDS in America, and from the couple hours we spent together at Miss DC this year, quite a spitfire and a real girl. Good choice, judges! Watch Caressa's first press conference HERE.
Congratulations to all on an amazing pageant. Thank you to all of the people who made this trip a blast! And I’d be crazy not to thank Katie Stam for her dedication to this year of service, one that has been incredible, selfless, inspiring and admirable with immeasurable success. To the future and your return to normalcy (non-existent), your wedding, and our friendship – cheers! You'll never be a “has-been” to me! View all my photos here!
I sit down to write two completely different blogs: One of sadness, one of happiness, but both of celebration. The Miss America Organization lost an amazing woman this past week. Joy Robbins, the contagious personality that completes the duo of the incomparable Jim and Joy Robbins, passed away after an incredible battle with cancer. Jim and Joy have coached, mentored and prepared the past 3 consecutive Miss Americas in addition to 2 others. Their interview preparation is unique and thorough, but more importantly, their amazing support and the honest and loving bond they form with contestants is a beautiful thing.
I was so fortunate to work with Jim and Joy in preparation for Miss Indiana and for National Sweetheart as they simultaneously worked with Katie Stam in preparation for Miss America, which changed her life. I could not imagine missing this opportunity. Joy was selfless; she was beautiful and enthusiastic, and a little bit of a spitfire. ☺ She lived her name, “Joy” in the most perfect way. Throughout her battle with cancer, we all learned so much: to live in the moment and embrace the present whole-heartedly, to find what’s important in life and celebrate it daily, to smile and to mean it.
Of course Joy wanted more than anything to see Miss America this week, for the completion of Katie’s reign and to witness the outcome of their 8 contestants of this year’s class. They did pretty well – LA and KY in Top 5, DC in Top 10, IN in Top 15! We know that she was watching though with VIP seats, sending good vibes and prayers to everyone on that stage. Joy will be missed, but the way we are to celebrate her life is to share her compassion with others and to really pay it forward. She has touched so many young women's lives in addition to all of the other aspects of her life as a teacher, friend, wife, and coach and the world truly is a better place because of her.
Katie Stam, Megan Meadors and myself will be starting a scholarship in her memory called the "Joy of Life" Award, given to someone who embodies the characteristics of selflessness, love, spunk, and genuine joy with which Joy lived every day. Stay tuned for details and contact me if you would like to donate to the scholarship. email@example.com
As Miss Jubilee 2009, Claire represents the Five Boroughs of New York City and Long Island. She promotes embracing diversity with her personal platform "Straight for Equality: Promoting Acceptance through Dialogue." Spokesperson for PFLAG NYC, Straight for Equality, The Human Rights Campaign