fourpoints magazine is excited to announce that our February issue will have a special theme: The Men of Miss America. This edition will highlight the work and dedication of male volunteers, executive directors, dads, mentors, and friends. We've talked with several people already who have expressed their gratitude for the men that have helped them along their pageant journey.
Click here to submit Crown Watch photos for this issue!
This week, I interviewed Miss Michigan Haley Williams. Haley was named the Quality of Life Award winner during the 2014 Miss America competition week for her platform, "Through a Child’s Eyes: Conquering Childhood Grief." When she was four years old, Haley's father died, and consequently she spent much of her childhood dealing with the grief that came with her loss. Haley's story of rebuilding her life and confidence through grief management is a perfect reflection for our Men of Miss America cover story. Even though her father isn't physically with her, Haley credits this man's influence to her platform success. Her life events inspired her work with other children experiencing loss.
But Haley is also doing some inspiring of her own. While the cover story is typically a place to highlight a contestant's successes in the four points of the crown, Haley requested her article be a little different. Before our interview, she wrote in an e-mail to me, "I am so touched to be recognized by your publication, however I am requesting to use this opportunity to focus deeper on the purpose of my platform and the needed societal awareness for the cause itself rather than my own success, actions, and accolades in regards to my efforts."
I hope that readers of the February issue will be as moved by Haley as I was. In seeking to share hope with grieving families instead of highlighting her own winning qualities, Haley reveals her true selflessness.
Don't miss out on the February issue! Click here to subscribe now!
Written by: Erika Rose is fourpoints magazine's staff writer. Photo: Allen Dye
It's all happening you guys! I whirled into Las Vegas this evening, in plenty of time for the first night of preliminary competition! It was lovely, to say the least. I hope you are following us on Twitter for all the updates, news, and information I can possibly give you! I had a blast live-Tweeting the pageant tonight and we have a big day planned tomorrow. The judges press conference is first thing in the AM and I am finally going to get close enough to Mark Ballas to challenge him to a hand jive competition. Well...we'll see if it works out! I am excited to listen to the judges talk about their experience so far!
There is so much energy and hubbub happening here, it's wonderful! I ran into some people from Good Morning America and they start filiming at 2:30 AM - whoa! They offered to let me come along, but we all know a pagaeant girl needs her beauty sleep!
Hey - what should I ask the judges tomorrow? What are your burning questions?
Welcome to our new MAOTeen Elizabeth Fechtel! And welcome home to me! Now that I'm back in the office and have my desk cleaned off (that's no small task, trust me) , let's talk about MAOTeen. What a great week! I hope that you guys stayed in touch with the pageant happenings through our Twitter, Facebook, and all the articles/videos on the web. In case you couldn't tell, fourpoints had a total blast during pageant week! Every year, it's so inspiring to see our relationship with MAOTeen grow. And each class of contestants is just as wonderful as the last.
Another of of the best things about MAOTeen is that I get a "sneak peek" at the 2012 Miss America contestants. I had the pleasure of chatting with our Miss America 2011 Teresa Scanlan while she signed autographs at our booth during pageant week. She was as lovely as ever. It's so impressive to me to see a Miss America about halfway through her year of service, and she is as fresh and cheerful as the day she was crowned. Every reigning Miss America I have ever met has been that way, and - well, let's just say that I don't think I would be so pleasant! It was nice to have a moment to talk with Teresa.
I also got to do one of my favorite things, which is have my makeup done by an Aristrty professional. I am seriously in love with their products - and I'm not just saying that! He even managed to make me look believably tan - a true artist!
Of course, the most exciting part of the week is seeing our new MAOTeen crowned. Elizabeth is going to do a great job and I can't wait for you guys to see her on the cover of the October/November issue.
As a final note, though, I want to extend my congratulations and affection to the entire MAOTeen class. Time and time again, I find myself thinking that every contestant who competes really wins. As Donna Bozarth mentioned during pageant week, MAOTeen has already written half a million dollars in scholarship checks. And those didn't go to just the winners of the national pageant. So many young women are stepping into their future with scholarship money, a great skill set, and an unforgettable experience.
During pageant week, I had the chance to speak to some of the contestants. They all had wonderful things to say, but one thing has stuck with me. Miss New Hampshire's Outstanding Teen Lauren Percy gave MAOTeen the highest accolades it could ever receive. She said, "This organization has give me the confidence to take my make-up off and just be who I am."
I hope that every young lady had the same experience that Lauren did.
Miss South Dakota Loren Vallaincourt is passionate about spreading the word about distracted driving and reducing the number of accidents related to this phenomenon. Her efforts were recently recognized by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. He personally called Loren last week to thank her for her efforts and even spoke about her work in a blog post.
" To help spread the word in South Dakota about distracted driving, Loren has teamed up with State Farm to offer a new grant program that rewards the two South Dakota schools with the best anti-distracted driving campaigns.
But this program also has an innovative twist. From now until January 15, Loren's video diary will be posted on the State Farm Teen Driver Safety Facebook page. For every time viewers click "like" on one of Loren's diary posts, State Farm will add one dollar to the grant amount.
That's right; the amount awarded, up to $10,000, depends on the number of Facebook users who "like"Loren's entries. If that's what it takes to get America's webizens to see and hear Loren's message, I am all for it!
Congratulations, Loren! I wish you the best in next week's pageant, and I thank you for your important service," said LaHood in a recent blog post.