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My Time at Miss America’s Outstanding Teen

After I won Miss California’s Outstanding Teen, I had about three weeks to prepare for the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen competition in Orlando. Those weeks leading up to Orlando were quite busy, full of trying on dresses and filling out paperwork. I was very anxious leading up to the pageant, but I was also extremely excited!

Upon arriving at the hotel, I was able to meet some of the girls at our AMAZING Tony Bowls photo shoot. It was so much fun to have our hair and makeup done, and dress up in some gorgeous dresses. Some thereafter, we had our first rehearsal, and that was the first time we were all together in one room! We all had an instant connection, and I was ready to begin the week!

After orientation that night, we said good-bye to our parents (and our phones) and we were off to our rooms to spend our first night with our roommates! I was a little… no… I was REALLY, REALLY nervous about my roommate, Megha from Kansas. I mean, I was spending a week rooming with someone I had never met before. I was worried we would not get along, but thankfully, it was just the opposite. We became great friends, and that made my week a whole lot easier. We helped each other get ready, made sure we were on time, and picked up anything the other needed.

In the days following, we went to many different events and many long hour rehearsals. Through it all, we became closer as friends, and it was long before we all started acting like sisters who have lived together their whole lives. The funny thing is, the reason we all became so close is because we didn’t have our phones. We had no access to the social world, and we had to make conversation. I am so glad that they took our phones because if they hadn’t, we wouldn’t be as close as we now are.

The prelims came and went fairly fast. I was extremely proud of each of my performances, including my private interview. I was so humbled to be able to stand on the stage with some of the most amazing, talented, beautiful, and kind teenagers in America. After the prelims, we are all so anxious for Saturday night, but we had to wait two whole days! On that Friday, we had no competition, so we went to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, and met some of the hardest working people I have ever met.

On Saturday, excitement (no not nerves) was high, and we could not wait to see who the new Miss America’s Outstanding Teen was. After the top 12 was announced, I was so excited to watch my friends compete! When it came down to it, I (along with everyone else) starting freaking out and crying when Olivia’s name was called. Olivia (Georgia) was and is one of the most down to earth, real, and inspirational people I have ever met in my entire life. She is going to be a rockin’ MAOT, and she will change the face of the organization in the best way.

So, after all of that, I am very excited to be back home in California, and I cannot wait to see what the rest of my year has in store for me.

Thank you all for your love and support!

Kyla