July 12 & 13, 2013
Last weekend it was time. Time to say goodbye to the beautiful Michelle Aguirre, Miss Florida USA 2013, and hello to the next young lady selected to wear the crown. The pageant weekend was a time for relaxing at the pool, doing some shopping, and cheering for all the contestants competing for the title.
After Friday's preliminary, I could not imagine who would be our newest Miss Florida USA. All the contestants were beautiful and poised, and it seemed impossible that the judges could choose a single winner.
Saturday's final began with the announcement of the top sixteen, and two hours later Brittany Oldehoff was the new Miss Florida USA 2014. Congratulations to Brittany and to all the contestants for a job well done!
Seeing the competition made me even more excited for October. It will be here before we know it! To the other Teen contestants, I can't wait to see you all in September and October. For those I know already, I'll see you soon, and for those I have yet to meet, I can't wait to get introduced!
,July 4, 2013
Is there anything more American than a parade? Well, maybe apple pie, but I can't think of much more.
I was honored to ride in Safety Harbor's annual 4th of July parade on the 4th. What a wonderful, family-friendly event. We started out by greating the other parade participants, and then along the parade route I think I waved at everyone who has ever been in Safety Harbor. Thanks to everyone for coming out to support the American Legion's Independence Day celebration.
I am constantly reminded at how blessed I am to be an American, and today was just another of those days. God bless America, and God bless you!
May 27, 2013
Pageants are portrayed as places where you find back-stabbing competitors and crazy moms, but this photograph sums up what pageants are to me.
This is a picture of two of my friends, Hannah and Simona, who competed together at the Florida Coed pageant over Memorial Day weekend. They competed together in the pre-teen group. and this is a photo of Hannah running to Simona after it was all over. My mom was watching the live feed and happened to snap a screenshot at exactly the right time. This is the real pageantry: good sportsmanship, pride for your friends as they do well, and lifelong friendships.
May 17, 2013
Tel-Air hosted a send-off party for Michelle Aguire, Miss Florida USA 2013 in Hollywood Florida on the 17th of May. I was happy I was able to attend, because I wanted a chance to see her and say "good luck" before she leaves for the Miss USA pageant in Vegas.
The party gave me an opportunity to meet many of the beautiful ladies who will compete for the title of Miss Florida USA 2014 in July, and to meet some of my fellow teen contestants. And of course a big bonus was getting to see my friend Brianne Bailey, Miss Florida Teen USA 2013!
Michelle checks into the Miss USA pageant on May 31st, and you can be sure I'll be watching for her updates as the pageant approaches on June 16th. Go Michelle! Bring home that USA crown!
May 8, 2013
I have been looking forward to my birthday, but I had no idea what my Mom had in store for me!
Anyone who knows me very well at all knows that I am a big fan of Miss Universe, Olivia Culpo. She is a beautiful, funny, smart role model, and a terrific Miss Universe. You may notice our names are a little similar, but you may not know that we share the same birthday, and we both have dogs named Louie.
My Mom, my Dad and my brother were all up in the morning on my birthday before I went to school. They were filming me as I opened a stack of birthday cards. That is not normal behavior, so I knew something was up.
But when my cell phone rang I was not prepared for the voice on the other end to be Olivia Culpo wishing me a Happy Birthday! I was so surprised and excited. These photos tell the story! Thanks, Olivia, happy birthday to you too!
April 27, 2013
What a beautiful day for a pageant! I had a great time helping out a the Tampa pageant on April 27th. I saw my friend Sarah Pupillo again, Tampa's Teen USA 2013. Sarah and I met at the Florida Teen USA pageant in October, and even though we both live in Tampa, we hadn't seen each other since! The other great thing was that so many other preliminary winners were in attendance. It's always fun getting to meet the other girls.
Congratulations to Saturday's winners!
Kali Gaertner, Miss Tampa Teen USA 2014
Amber Jackson, Miss Hillsborough County USA 2014
Suzanne Vaughn, Miss Tampa USA 2014
April 20, 2013
Jen Johnston, Miss Safety Harbor Teen USA and I spent the morning supporting Autism Speaks. We met some great families and teams, got our picture taken with a couple of Storm Troopers, and started our version of a flash mob dancing to the Cupid Shuffle.
Thanks to all our supporters and those who are working toward a cure for this disease!
April 13, 2013
Posimoto-Changing Faces is an organization in Tampa whose mission is to provide opportunities for positive growth to at-risk youth ages 8-18. I met with the kids yesterday to share my story and talk about how anything is possible with hard work and dedication. I felt so welcomed as I joined in their regular Saturday program, and I hope to return in the summer.
Posimoto's website defines a "Posimoto" as someone who gives others the positive motivation to be successful in life.
Are you a posimoto?
April 9, 2013
Thank you Troop 234 for allowing me to come and talk with you about the importance of making good decisions and of being a good friend. I loved all your questions and the stories you shared with me!
Thank you Mrs. Gall for inviting me to speak to the girls. Be sure to see the video of our visit on my Videos page!
April 6, 2013
Well that was fun! The Miss Lakeland USA and Teen USA pageant was held on Saturday April 6th, and I was happy to be invited to help host the competition. It was great to see Kennedy McClain again, Miss Sanford Teen USA 2014, and to meet Carolina Guzman, Miss Orlando USA 2014, Annie McFarland, Miss Space Coast Teen USA 2014 and Georgia Foster, Miss Osceola County Teen USA 2014. The contestants were beautiful and friendly, and I loved reading the names of the winners at crowning time. And who knew how huge the Lakeland Civic Center was? I think my mom moved the car three times trying to get it outside the right door!
Congratulations to Saturday's winners!
Jessica Maynard, Miss Lakeland Teen USA 2014
Rolana Edwards, Miss Lakeland USA 2014
March 24, 2013
Wow, that was fun! Today I threw out the first pitch at the Yankees/Rays spring training game at Steinbrenner Field. Thanks to the NY Yankees for the invitation! My dad and my brother both helped me practice so when it was time my pitch wouldn't hit the dirt. I am happy to say I got it over the plate!
Thanks to everyone who stopped to say "hello" and take a picture today. I had a wonderful time at the game, and I look forwarding to representing Tampa Bay in the Florida Teen USA pageant in October.
Coming: April 20, 2013
I am participating in Walk Now for Autism Speaks to help find the missing pieces of autism. Autism is the second most common developmental disorder in the United States affecting one in every 88 children born today. More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than with AIDS, diabetes & cancer combined. Research is crucial. Despite some promising discoveries, the cause of autism is unknown and a cure does not exist. Our goal is to change the future for all who struggle with autism spectrum disorders, and soon.
Walk Now for Autism Speaks is our chance to make a difference in the fight against autism by raising money for autism research and heightening public awareness. Please join me in my fight as I raise money to help fund essential research. You can donate to Walk Now for Autism Speaks by clicking the pink "Support Autism Research" button on this page.
Thank you for taking an important step in the fight against autism.
February 28, 2013
I visited with Troop 990 and had a wonderful time talking to all the girls. We shared our hobbies and interests, and got to know one another. Thank you to Mrs. Woliver for inviting me to speak to the girls. I love to share my life experiences, especially to younger girls. I appreciated the opportunity to spend the afternoon together.
February 24 , 2013
I was happy I could attend the Miss Orlando USA and Miss Orlando Teen USA pageant on the 24th, held at the Colonial High School Performing Arts Center. The show was hosted by Miss Sanford Teen USA 2014 Kennedy McClain and Miss Sanford USA 2014 Gloria Hausman. I met Kennedy last summer at the Miss Lake Eola USA and Teen USA pageant, and it was great to see her again!
Congratulations to all Sunday's winners!
Amanda Cooksey, Miss Orange County Teen USA 2014
Katelyn Wilson, Miss Orlando Teen USA 2014
Carolina Guzman, Miss Orlando USA 2014
February 23, 2013
Today was a beautiful day to be in Plant City supporting the 2nd annual Reeves Charity Polo Classic Event and three terrific charities:
Each of these charities provides valuable programs to the community. The Children's Cancer Center supports the families of children battling cancer. Starting Right, Now seeks an end to homelessness and has a special focus on assisting unaccompanied youth. Wheels of Success helps our employed neighbors who might struggle with reliable transportation.
Saturday was a great day of pageantry in St. Petersburg, and I was happy to be a part of the festivities. I emceed the pageant along with Collins Medlin (Miss St. Petersburg USA 2013), and Amber Robinson (Miss Polk County USA 2013). We had a great time spending the afternoon together and getting to know all the contestants!
Congratulations to all Saturday's winners!
Jennifer Johnston, Miss Safety Harbor Teen USA 2014
Emily McKenna, Miss St. Petersburg Teen USA 2014
Amanda Gray, Miss Safety Harbor USA 2014
Jenelle McKee, Miss St. Petersburg USA 2014
January 24, 2013
I had a blast today with Girl Scout Troop 678! I'd like to thank Mrs. Steinfeld for inviting me to speak to the girls, and to say I hope to see you all again soon.
Thanks to all of you girls for spending your afternoon with me today. I enjoyed having the chance to share my experiences with you all. You are really fun, smart girls, and it was great to find out how much we had in common.
Scouting is a great place for girls to learn to be good friends and citizens, and oh, those cookies!!! Mrs. Steinfeld, I need to place my order! :)
Be sure to see the video of our visit on my Videos page!
January 18, 2013
I was honored to represent Tampa Bay at the annual Shriner's East-West pre-game banquet at Tropicana Field. Also in attendance was Lacey Morgan, the current Miss Teen United States.
The evening was filled with the opportunity to meet new friends among the players, Shriner's patients and supporters, and to hear motivational stories of triumphs over adversity. I had the privilege of sitting with Hunter Woodhall from Syracuse, Utah and Jérémy Gabriel from Quebec City, Canada. These young men are Shriner's 2013 Patient Ambassadors and you can't help but become inspired hearing them tell their stories.
I also was honored to meet Keith Pough, linebacker for Howard University, who was awarded the Pat Tillman Award at the banquet. This award is presented each year to the player who demonstrates courage, perseverance and talent throughout the week leading up to the game as it recognizes his overall achievements.
The Shriner's organization operates 22 facilities and provides medical care to kids regardless of their ability to pay. They specialize in four areas: orthopaedic care, burn Care, spinal cord injury, and cleft lip & clef palate care. They are lifesavers to their patients and patient families, and I was proud to participate in this annual event.
Read more about Hunter and Jérémy here.
January 14, 2013
I am excited to be visiting with and speaking to several local girl scout troops, starting with troop #678 on January 24th. Get ready girls, this is going to be fun!
If your troop would like me to visit, send me a message on the Contact page or on my Facebook page. I'd love to meet you and have you get to know me!
December 31, 2012
I celebrated New Year's Eve in Tampa at Channelside by making some new friends. Here's wishing everyone a healthy, happy, prosperous 2013!
December 9, 2012
I'm thrilled to be the new Miss Tampa Bay Teen USA 2014! The Tampa Bay pageant was held at the Italian Club in Ybor City on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. Tiffany Raia and Natalie Gonzalez, the outgoing Miss Tampa Bay USA and Miss Tampa Bay Teen USA, served as MCs for the competition. Also crowned were Miss Clearwater USA 2014 Allyshia Gupta, and Miss Tampa Bay USA 2014 Candice Diah.
You might ask "why 2014"? I'll hold this title for a year, and in October, 2013 I will represent Tampa Bay in the Florida Teen USA pageant. The winner of that pageant will represent Florida in the Teen USA pageant in July 2014. That's why the title refers to 2014, even though I will relinquish it in December 2013.