fourpoints Magazine

The #1 Resource for Everything Miss America & MAOTeen

One Big, Happy Family

Friday, 17 August 2012 12:13

201735_10102443939492484_722315377_oThroughout the past several months that I have been writing for fourpoints magazine, I’ve interviewed and gotten to know so many wonderful people involved in the Miss America Organization, and its little sisters Miss America’s Outstanding Teen. Often as my co-workers can tell you, I end phone interviews with a big grin and tearful eyes. I hear so many stories about how this organization has touched people’s lives.

This week at MAOTeen, I’ve had the opportunity to put faces with names, and what’s more, the chance to convey how grateful I am to those who have shared intimate details of their lives with me. From Texas to New Jersey, from Wisconsin to Florida, contestants, executive board members, and volunteers are more than a phone number or list of names. They’re a family. Thank you for welcoming me and making me a party of that.

Written by: Erika Fifelski, fourpoints staff writer. Photo: Miss America 2012 Laura Kaeppeler, Erika Fifelski, Laura's traveling companion

Tuesday was my first day at the Teens and Training Camp. A lot of my worries were about not fitting in with the girls because they were “pageant girls,” but all of them are super nice and I actually get along with some of them. First was orientation which was intimidating seeing all of the girls packed into one suite. Our workshop for the Mental Management by Heather Sumlin was really amazing because she told me how to handle my nerves before a big performance and how not to psych myself out. She taught me how to compete with people and not against them and that I should boost myself up. Next was wardrobe with all the pretty ways to make my waist thinner, legs taller, and camouflage my chest. The prelims were amazing, seeing the talent and all of the contestants up on the stage were just to prepare us for the big show Saturday!

Day 2:

Wednesday was my second day at Teens in Training Camp. We worked on networking, which was really fun for me because it gave me more confidence to go up to someone and just start talking. I put my skills to use last night when I met Chris Judd. We got to go behind the curtain and see how the back stage team does while the girls are on stage. I really think this program is a great idea. I just get bored sometimes just sitting. I wish one thing they would add would be mock interviews with the judges. I think that would be really cool!

MAOTeen Makes a Good First Impression

Tuesday, 14 August 2012 22:59

After a full day, and an exciting night, you’d think I’d be exhausted, but I’m just excited! Last night’s program exceeded my expectations. I was blown away by talent and breath-taking gowns. But what dazzled me most were the looks on teen contestant faces. I am not one to direct attention to myself, and when I do receive it, I tend to blush. But these girls come alive in the spotlight, indeed they glow. They are exhilarated by the fruits of months’ worth of preparations, and if any of them were nervous, I couldn’t tell. Confidence and joy radiated on that stage.

The on-stage question competition was inspiring, and I was thrilled with the age-appropriate questions asked of the teens (questions were written by contestants from each state). Issues of bullying, the growing use of technology, and school and family-related issues tested the young women who responded gracefully. How would you quell online bullying? What would you do if you saw a friend cheating in class? How much should teens share with parents about their lives? What is the biggest problem facing teens today? These questions are of heavy subject matter, but were answered confidently and with a smile. MAOTeen truly prepares college-bound girls for important matters they will face in the “real world.”

Written by: Erika Fifelski, fourpoints staff writer

What's to Come this Week at MAOTeen?

Tuesday, 14 August 2012 08:53

We're here in Florida at the Rosen Centre and although sunny didn't describe our initial arrival-it was about 9:30 p.m. when we touched down-the humidity was full force, and there are quite a few more palm trees here than we left in Michigan.

This morning starts the Miss America's Outstanding Teen trade show where vendors and suppliers of all things pretty will be set up and at the service of contestants and their families as well as program directors from Princesses to Miss. fourpoints will be there too, and on this particularly exciting day, visitors to our booth will get to meet Brittany Cozza, our 2012 Cover Model, and Sheridan Garbe, fourpoints' 2012 Precious Princess. Brittany will be with us signing magazines at 10 a.m. and Sheridan will have her autograph session at 2 p.m.

Tonight is the first of the preliminary teen pageants as well. Already I've met so many wonderful scholarship organization executives and even some contestants (from Michigan to South Carolina to Oklahoma). I can't imagine the acquaintances and memories I'll make this week!

Check back with us in Headline News tonight where we'll announce today’s preliminary winners!

Written by: Erika Fifelski, fourpoints magazine staff writer

This week I will be attending Teens in Training camp, part of the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen scholarship program. What am I doing??? I am not interested in pageants at all, but I feel like this is a great opportunity. I will be a sophomore this year and I feel like attending this will help me mature and give me life experiences. There’s so much that I’m looking forward to but what I’m really excited about is meeting new people, going to the shows, and learning about new stuff and what they teach you about style and interviewing techniques.

I think I’m most of afraid about is fitting in with the other girls at the camp. I have no desire to go into pageants, and this is a camp to prepare for that and they’re probably all into it and I’m not, so finding stuff in common with these girls will be hard. Then again, if any of the girls like One Direction, reality television, and fashion then I’ll make friends.

I have a lot of high expectations for this week. I’m hoping to learn more about style, but the one thing I’m most excited about is learning how to talk to people better and how to respond to questions. I think these skills will help me in school and finding my first job.

So, here I go…into a whole new world I know nothing about. Wish me luck!

Orlando, Here I Come!

Thursday, 02 August 2012 09:51

8-7_Pageant_Blog_Photo_resizedI have my bags packed and waiting to fly from Grand Rapids to Orlando on Monday, August 13. This will be my first official pageant week, and I could not be more excited.

I've spent the past several months easing into my role as writer for fourpoints magazine. What I have encountered since the beginning is the joy of contestants and volunteers alike to be involved in an organization that promotes and encourages women young and old to be their best selves. I am most looking forward, during my week in Orlando, to making the acquaintance of those with whom I have spoken on the phone. To put a face to a name will bring my experiences with MAO thus far full circle.

Stay tuned for daily blogs and pageant updates throughout next week. The fourpoints team is flying down Monday night, and we'll be at the trade show bright-eyed and bushy tailed on Tuesday, August 14. Visit our booth Tuesday at 10 a.m. to meet our August cover model, Brittany Cozza! Later in the day, we'll introduce you to this year's Precious Princess winner Sheridan Garbe! See you soon Orlando!

Written by: Erika Fifelski, fourpoints staff writer Photo: xenia

Cover Model Hits the Road

Tuesday, 26 June 2012 08:36

Brittany_Cozza_1Hello, again fourpoints readers!

I just wanted to take a moment to thank each and every one of you that take the time to read my blog posts. I think the amount of support within the Miss America Organization is great, and I am so thrilled to be involved with it!

Last week’s blog post was centered on my platform, Joining Forces.  I had also mentioned that I was preparing for Miss Washington, my own state pageant. And for this week’s posting, I figured I would talk about just that: the Miss Washington pageant!

In 2009, I competed and won Miss Spokane’s Outstanding Teen, going on to Miss Washington’s Outstanding Teen, where I placed third runner-up, received the Preliminary Talent Award, People’s Choice Award, and Spokesmodel Award. Growing up an avid softball and basketball player, it was hard to believe that I was bitten by the pageant bug! I went on a three-year hiatus to gain some life experience, then I grabbed my heels, gown, and (this time!) swimsuit and grabbed the title of Miss Inland Empire for a one-way ticket to the Miss Washington stage.

And now it’s here: the moment I’ve been preparing so hard for these past few months. I would be absolutely lying to you if I didn’t say that I was a little bit nervous; but this is a great thing! My background in sports and theater have taught me to channel these nerves and throw them, wholeheartedly, into the pageant. I think the one thing I am the most excited for is the opportunity to talk about my platform at the state level: in front of judges from across the nation. I couldn’t have asked for a better stage to get the word out about Joining Forces! Although I’m nervous and excited, I know it will be the week of a lifetime, thanks to all of the hard work of the volunteers and Executive Directors, Peggy Miller and Patti Belik at Miss Washington. I’m grateful I’m not alone: I now have a list of twenty-one fabulous young women to call my sisters! Thanks for being such great friends, and I wish nothing but the best for all of us!

In the midst of exercising, talent rehearsals, walking rehearsals, and overall preparations for Miss Washington, I’ve also been preparing for the wonderful photo shoot opportunity I received this month, thanks to all of you! I cannot tell you how excited I am for this; my mom and I always travel together during the summer to embark on new adventures (American Idol, The Voice, The X-Factor). Our trips have taken us to more than fifteen different cities, and Detroit is one we have never been to; we’re glad we can add it to the list! It’s going to be so cool to work with the fourpoints photographer and have my hair and makeup done—I am SO ready to see the amazing ideas the people at fourpoints have come up with for the cover! I know I’ll LOVE IT!

In closing, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my posts thus far. I can’t wait for the issue to come out in August so you can really get to know me a little more! I am so blessed and so grateful for all of the opportunities I have been given, and I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without my family, friends, and the Miss Washington and Miss America Organizations! As I prepare myself for Miss Washington next week, keep me in your hearts and keep those fingers crossed! Thanks for reading—now go and enjoy the rest of your day!

Cover Model Answers Platform's Calling

Thursday, 21 June 2012 09:31

Salute.jpg_to_serviceHello fourpoints readers!

Sorry  I missed you last week—I’m gearing up for my own state pageant (Miss Washington) taking place July 6-7. Keep your fingers crossed!

For this week’s blog, I'd like to share a little bit more about my platform.

Joining Forces: Taking Action to Serve America’s Military Families is a national initiative started by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, and one that I fully support. My dedication to our nation’s military and their families began when I was Miss Spokane’s Outstanding Teen 2009. At a military luncheon in conjunction with our Armed Forces Torchlight Parade, I had the privilege of dining with military spouses, service members, and their children. Listening to their compelling stories of how they get through deployments and how difficult it can be for them made me realize something: no one fully understands that when these servicemen and women go to war, their families go with them. One percent of Americans may be fighting for our freedoms, but we need one hundred percent of Americans supporting them and their families back home.

I really do believe that my platform chose me. I have no personal ties to the military—no parents, siblings, or close relatives currently serving. I just have an extremely big heart for men and women in uniform and for all they have done for me. When I sat at that table with those military families, I was answering the call to give my support and provide opportunities to them that they have earned—and I expect nothing less of other citizens of this nation.

My platform is about patriotism: loving the men and women who continually fight everyday so that we can go to bed knowing that we are free and safe. By mobilizing all sectors of society to “Join Forces” and provide support to service members’ families, we can put them at ease knowing that their children, spouses, and other relatives are well taken care of back home.

rotcJoining Forces is the reason why I compete within the Miss America Organization. I have heard it said that with my title I have a crown-shaped megaphone—this crown and this sash command attention, and when I wear them, I know people will listen. And to show that I am truly dedicated to this effort of Joining Forces, try this one on for size: I willingly put myself at the heart of the intense physical training our nation’s brilliant Army Officers receive. Three times a week, I am property of Gonzaga University’s Army ROTC Bulldog Battalion—one of the top ROTC programs in the nation. Forming up at 0550 and ending at 0700, I am pushed to my limit during each session: and I expect nothing else. Upon joining the program, I stressed to Lieutenant Colonel Gregory Jacobsen and Captain Kathryn Shaw that I did not want them to go easy on me—they were to grade me as they would the other cadets. If I didn’t pass the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT), then I shouldn’t get an A. But by the end of the year, I can officially say I am Army Strong—I passed! I very much look forward to my continued participation with the battalion—Bulldogs, lead the way! HOOAH!

navy_croppedI could go on for hours about my platform and why I love it so much—and this is exactly the way that every contestant within this organization should feel about her own platform. Lending support to our troops and their families has not come without hardships: recently, our battalion said goodbye to one of our own, 1LT Mat Fazzari. There have been stories from veterans and military spouses that have made my heart ache and tears fall. But with each hardship, the fire only burns hotter—the need to “Join Forces” for our troops and their families is something that everyone within this nation should feel compelled to do. As a titleholder within the Miss America Organization, it is something that I vow to do, and will continually do for the rest of my life.

Read more about Brittany Cozza and what she's doing to support her platform in the next issue of fourpoints!

Photo: Cameron Glass Photography

'The Crown is a Microphone'

Friday, 15 June 2012 09:38

Blog-Erika_and_Elizabeth_Miss_MichiganLast night in Muskegon, thirty-one of Michigan's beautiful and talented young women gathered to perform their hearts out for the crown, and because the fourpoints office is located in Grand Rapids, we were invited to attend the preliminary pageant event. Being my first pageant, anticipation for the talent, interview, bathing suit, and evening wear performances was high. But what impressed me the most about the contestants (apart from the courage of walking on stage in a bikini) was something Miss Michigan 2011, Elizabeth Wertenberger said.

"The crown is a microphone."

Because of local, state, and national pageants, young women involved in MAO wear as Elizabeth put it, "more than an accessory." The crown to MAO titleholders is a microphone through which hundreds of women past, present, and future can advocate for their platforms, and speak volumes as representatives of womens' empowerment.

Written by: Erika Fifelski, fourpoints editorial coordinator

Winner of the 2012 Make Me A Cover Model contest Brittany Cozza will vlog and blog with fourpoints leading up to her cover shoot! Check out her first vlog here!