Miss America’s Outstanding Teen week was nothing short of remarkable and memorable. Hearing my name called as “Florida” was a true honor and joy! Thank you to everyone who has supported and encouraged me along this journey. You have shaped me into who I am today. Five year old Hannah would have never imagined being on the MAOTeen stage, but because of role models that inspired me, I achieved that dream.
The Friday night before check-in, the Miss Florida Forevers Foundation hosted my Miss America’s Outstanding Teen Send-Off Party! I was able to see volunteers, friends, family, and local titleholders. It was the best way to kickoff my journey to Miss America's Outstanding Teen!
On Saturday, I arrived to the Rosen Centre Hotel and immediately began getting ready for a photoshoot with Ms. Deb Knoske. The photos turned out wonderful! I also worked on a video package introducing myself as well as B-roll footage for production. Then, I headed to hair and makeup for a photoshoot with Jenn Cady Photography, who had such fun ideas for the photos! Once I finished the photoshoot, the other contestants and I walked down to our first of many rehearsals. After I was ready for the orientation, I met with my awesome Executive Director Mr. Keith Williams and spent time with my family. During the orientation, I was very inspired by the passion that each volunteer contained. Right then, I knew that it would be an unforgettable week! At the end of the meeting, we said our goodbyes and then headed upstairs for a welcome party hosted by London Hibbs and the Miss Texas' Outstanding Teen Organization. As I entered my hotel room for the week, it was decorated with inspirational quotes, messages from friends, and lots of love! My family had unpacked my items before I saw my room, so they made sure to make it feel more like home. They definitely accomplished this goal!
After rehearsals all day Sunday, we visited The Main Event in the evening! I had a blast getting to know all of my Miss America's Outstanding sisters. It was also fun to see my family and meet Ms. Tiffany Porter, an incredible supporter of MAOTeen.
I had a fantastic time at Medieval Times on Monday night. It was an honor to walk across the arena representing the state of Florida. The show was very exciting with queens and knights; however, my favorite part was watching it with all of my new friends!
On Tuesday morning, I had my interview with the panel of judges. I loved being able to share my story with them and how much this opportunity meant to me. The first night of preliminary competition was fitness! I loved seeing my family and friends afterwards. I also wore a beautiful orange cocktail dress from one of my generous sponsors, Ann-Marie's Boutique.
Talent night went amazing on Wednesday! It was a dream come true to share my passion for dance on the MAOTeen stage. I felt so encouraged by everyone who came to support me! I wore one of my favorite outfits from the week at visitation; a sparkly jumpsuit from Regalia Magnificent Apparel!
I felt extremely confident in my absolute dream evening gown by Regalia Magnificent Apparel on Thursday night. Seeing my family and friends after the competition was the best part of the evening!
On Friday, I interviewed for the Teens In Action Award with an esteemed panel of judges. Afterwards, I attended the Mommy and Me Par-Tea! I loved spending time with my sweet National Princess Jaden, visiting with my family, and hanging out with the amazing girls. We hit the dance floor, decorated cookies, and had so much fun! In the afternoon, I went to the Miss America's Outstanding Teen trade show and had the opportunity to meet dedicated individuals, who pour so much into this organization. One of them was Ms. Trish Tidd of Togatae Designs, who made my talent costume vision come to life! Friday Night we took a trip to the movie theater and saw the new Lion King movie.
Saturday consisted of rehearsals, food, more rehearsals, and getting ready for the last time with my dressing room group, *white group is the best group*! During finals I was honored to be announced as the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen Teens In Action Winner! My platform, Finding A Cure for Pediatric Cancer, is a major part of my life and what I stand for, so receiving a $1,000 scholarship for my dedication to the cause means the world. I cannot wait to continue growing my platform, inspiring kids across the country, and fighting to find a cure. As the first childhood cancer survivor to be Miss Florida’s Outstanding Teen, I hope to show kids everywhere that their diagnoses do not define who they are and they can do anything they dream! Congratulations to all of the Teens In Action finalists that make a difference in their communities and inspire others everyday.
Throughout Miss America's Outstanding Teen week, I met the most kind, service-hearted, and intelligent young women from every part of the nation. They are each gorgeous inside and out, making their states very proud. I made lifelong friends and left feeling inspired by them! Wishing the HAPPIEST of congratulations to our Miss America's Outstanding Teen 2020, Payton May! Payton you are going to have such an amazing year and will represent our class so well.
Florida I am so proud to be yours for the next year and to make it the best (and busiest) year yet!