What an amazing 1st month this has been being Miss Maryland USA 2012! I have been so so busy..and I LOVE it!
(Photo courtesy of photographer Christopher Shea)
I have always heard from former titleholders that the crown is what you make it..I am choosing to make my reign a busy one by taking advantage of every opportunity that comes my way. I have been all over the country doing photo shoots, supporting different charitable causes and making appearances at several events!
I made a video of all my November appearances at http://vimeo.com/33137450! But take a walk with me here through the first 4 weeks of my holding the title of Miss Maryland USA 2012:
I was crowned on Sunday night, October 30, 2011! My best friend Kathy David flew in all the way from California to support me and that night we shared a room at the hotel I won in.
(Kathy with the absolutely gorgeous Alyssa Campanella, our Miss USA 2011. The Miss Maryland USA contestants and I were beyond honored to have Miss USA in the audience finals night!)
You may think we ordered a ton of room service and pigged out on junk food, BUT I had gotten food poisoning the night before finals and all I could keep down was strawberry and banana baby food:/ That's right! I competed on about 1hour of sleep and having only eaten baby food all day....Nonetheless, my winning night, Kathy and I had a fun girly slumber party going through all of my fabulous prizes and staring at my crown. Thank you to all the sponsors of the Miss Maryland USA pageant! (you can see a complete list at www.MissMarylandUSA.com).
(Kathy and I finals night before our fun slumber party upstairs in the host hotel! Thank you Marriott Bethesda for the accommodation!)
The very next day, my mom, Kathy and I woke at about 5am to pack up and ready for my interview in Baltimore with Fox 45 News! I met up with my beautiful Miss Maryland Teen USA (Stephanie) and we did a live interview and sports segment.
Immediately after our interviews at Fox 45, we left Baltimore and traveled back to Bethesda where Stephanie and I had our first photo shoot as titleholders!
(I think my beautiful teen Stephanie Miss Maryland Teen USA 2012, looks like a certain someone who is dating Justin Beiber...what do you think?? Thank you to Studio Momenti Photography!)
Kathy was leaving on the night flight back to Los Angeles, so after the photo shoot I took her to see some of the beautiful sights of the DC Area(The DC area consists of DC, parts of Maryland and parts of Virginia. All the states and the district are easily accessible. For example, growing up I lived in Maryland but went to school everyday in DC at the Sidwell Friends School.) It was Halloween night so I took Kathy through Georgetown and we did a little trick or treating!
(Kathy and I at our Nation's Capitol. When I was younger my dad would take us to the Capitol steps and make us run them up and down for exercise...it was more like torture;)Nowadays I do not think the steps are accessible for security reasons...my hamstrings are grateful.)
The weekend of my win I traveled to War Memorial Hospital in Berkley West Virginia to accept Christmas Donations on behalf of my 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, The Meriwether Foundation. The head hospital administrators took time out of their busy schedules to meet with me and I felt so grateful they were willing to help the projects we support in now 5 countries of Southern Africa!
(Video of some of The Meriwether Foundation's projects:
(Accepting the generous Christmas donations on behalf of The Meriwether Foundation)
On Veteran's Day, which fell on 11.11.11, I attended the Luke's Wings Gala held at the historic Terminal A of DC Reagan National Airport. As a distinguished guest, it was an honor to support the Luke's Wings cause, our troops and their families.(www.LukesWings.org). I also got to mingle with some of DC's elite! Check out the press release, can't believe I made the list.
The very next morning 11.12.11, I flew to Los Angeles for 2 days! The first night I had dinner with Kathy and Meagan Tandy(Former Miss California USA) at Katsuya. It was great to catch up with the girls and I got some inside advice for competing at Miss USA from Meagan who finished 3rd runner up to Miss USA 2007. I remember idolizing her on TV watching her compete and years later we are good friends!
The next day I had a photo shoot with Francis and Glen of F&G Photography (www.FGPix.com) in downtown LA. Not only are they talented photographers and artists, they are so nice and made the shoot so comfortable. The pictures turned out incredible and I highly recommend them if you are looking to spice up your portfolio! Their work is amazing!
Right after the shoot, I booked it to the Miss Los Angeles 2012 pageant where I made an appearance. I am a former Miss Los Angeles and knew a lot of the contestants competing. For the last couple of years while I was in school in California, I competed for the title of Miss California USA and last year I competed as Miss Los Angeles. Right after my night catching up with my California girls and crowning the new Miss Los Angeles, I prepared for my 6am flight back to the east coast the next morning.
(Backstage at Miss LA 2012! Was fun to be honored at Miss LA when I competed and won just last year!)
Like my previous weeks, week 3 was filled with travel! I left Thursday 11.17.11 to South Carolina to do a speaking appearance at Summerville High School near Charleston where my father's side of the family is from.
I woke early at 5:45am and headed to speak at Summerville High School about college, being Miss Maryland USA 2012, my non profit The Meriwether Foundation and playing collegiate, professional and Olympic level volleyball. The school has over 3000 students! It was such a great experience inspiring the students with my life experiences! Truthfully, a lot of them inspired me with some of their stories, questions and accomplishments.
( The school set up a small side assembly for aspiring beauty queens! I told them to get their homework done and set goals for higher education before ever aspiring to compete.)
I left that very afternoon for DC to attend an event at Jimmy Choo and Hela Spa for the Libby Ross Foundation. I got a tour of Hela Spa, the premiere and go to Salon and Spa in Washington DC. I am so happy to be working with Hela Spa throughout my reign and beyond to help maintain my hair, skin and sanity(they have an array of fabulous massages!!) check them out: www.HelaSalonSpa.com.
( Twas a beautiful day in DC!!)
The next morning, Saturday, I was a guest at the 1st Annual Thanksgiving Bowl a Bird put on by some of my former high school classmates from Sidwell Friends. I had a great time raising funds to help eradicate hunger in the DC area. More than 633,000 residents are at risk of or experience hunger and 200,000 of that total are children. All proceeds went to the cause and I look forward to the event next year!
That Saturday afternoon right after the Thanksgiving event, my mom and I packed up our car and drove to Chicago!! A 12+ hour drive, we danced, talked, sang and bonded on our way to see the crowning of Miss Illinois USA 2012. It was such a treat to visit Chicago! I had never been and my mom and I arrived really late around 4am. When I opened my bedroom curtain the next morning the city was right there and I couldn't wait to go walk around! It was perfect timing because the whole city was in a holiday/Thanksgiving/Christmas mood and you could really feel the energy.
(This was the view I opened my curtain to the morning I arrived in Chicago! Gorg!)
(Watching Miss Illinois USA 2012!)
The directors who own and are in charge of Miss Maryland USA, also own Delaware, Rhode Island, Illinois, and New Jersey and I got to go watch all of my sisters be crowned this year except for Delaware:(
Week 4 was Thanksgiving week! I got to spend Thanksgiving morning at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and was as excited as all the 5 year olds around me to see all the floats go by! By evening I had prepared a Thanksgiving FEAST for about 20 people. I love cooking and hosting dinner parties!
(At the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade!)
(The Thanksgiving feast I prepared with my asst. chefs Tiba and Florence! I was the only one with an American accent, all the friends I cooked for were from either Brazil, France or Spain! Helped truly define what being American was for me! We are lucky to be part of such a diverse melting pot!)
The Saturday of Thanksgiving I took the train to Rhode Island to attend the 2nd Annual Heart and Soul Ball to remember Gabrielle Dinsmore and to raise funds for children with heart defects. I attended with my good friends Mark and Jillian! Thanks for hosting me you guys!
The very next morning I woke at 5am to take the train back to DC to attend the crowning of Miss DC USA 2012!
(At Miss DC USA 2012 with former Miss Maryland USA 2011(she made top 8 at Miss USA, woohoo go Maryland!!!) and John Paul Hamilton!)
(At Miss DC USA 2012)
WHAT A MONTH!! I traveled to a total of 9 states! My December is already looking as busy as my November and I cannot wait to share all of my moments with you in my next blog post stay tuned!! and don't forget to watch my video!!
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR READING!! Don't forget to follow me: www.twitter.com/NanaMeriwether see my daily updates as I continue my journey to Miss USA 2012!!