It goes without saying that this year has been the most fruitful! I have been blessed beyond words and have had opportunities unlike any other. Let’s take a look at how 2013 went…
My life changed the first week of June when I won the title of Miss Kansas. I still am in disbelief at how the months have gone by so quickly!
Three short months later I competed for the title of Miss America. I made international headlines everywhere by daring to be different; showing my tattoos, promoting the military and the outdoors, and standing up for my beliefs. Almost 500,000 people watched my YouTube video on why I should be Miss America, winning me the “America’s Choice” award. I placed in the top 10. The experience of those 2 weeks I spent competing for the title will never be forgotten. I made a great friend in Miss Nevada, I challenged the norm, and America was so receptive and willing to listen to my message. Thank you, America!!!
The months after Miss America have been incredibly busy. I speak to schools about bullying on a weekly basis, and I speak to other organizations about my personal platform; empowering women to overcome stereotypes and break barriers. Women face so many stereotypes that we may not even be aware of, which only aids in perpetuating them. My goal is to inform, educate and empower.
Since my love and passion for the outdoors became well known at Miss America, the months following have also been busy with “unusual” bookings for a Miss Kansas. I have attended the Governor’s Pheasant Hunt, I have taught girl scout troops how to shoot a bow, I have been a part of the Kansas BOW (Becoming an Outdoorswoman) event, I have traveled to Georgia to speak for the Concerned Veterans of America group, and so much more!
The last event of 2013 had to have been the greatest moment of my year. Given my very busybusy schedule, I had not been able to go hunting all season. The incredible staff at Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism understood what a passion it is for me, so they lined up a hunt with JB Outfitters in Pratt, Kansas. The outfitters asked that David Blanton, a hunting TV show personality for Realtree Outdoors, come film my hunt.
The three long, cold days of being in a tree stand with Mr. Blanton exceeded all expectations. He is the type of person that makes you want to be closer to God. He makes you want to be a better Christian. When I was around him, I could literally feel the Holy Spirit. I am so blessed to have gotten to know him, and honored to call him a friend. Thank you, David for sharing with me your testimony.
In the last hour of the last day, I harvested a warrior; an old, mature, rough-looking buck. Godtested my patience waiting for this guy! It was 20 degrees all three days, it snowed on the second day, and on the third day the wind just wasn’t cooperating with us. But, good things come to those who wait, right?
The hunt would not have been the same without the help of Bear Archery and Realtree. A week before the hunt, Bear sent me a brand new bow—the Venue. It shoots like a dream (and has no pink on it…you guys know I hate pink camo)! Realtree ensured that I was outfitted properly for a cold-weather hunt. Thank you, both!
So what does 2014 have in store? I have 6 months left of my Miss Kansas reign before I’m forced to decide my path. I have been blessed with so many opportunities that I could go many different ways; having a TV show, working for Realtree, being a professional spokesperson, etc. I pray that I make the right decision in due time.
Whatever I decide to do, I know that I will not lose sight of my cause. I will continue to speak to women, empowering and challenging them to step outside of their comfort zones. I pray that God continues to use me as His servant, working through me to reach others. I am here to serve.
On a final, lighter note, I am on day 11 of a successful new year’s resolution! This year I needed more of a physical challenge. I wanted to take my body and its level of health and fitness to a new level. I decided to try the paleo diet. The paleo diet asks people to follow a diet similar to those who lived 10,000 years ago, essentially eating like hunters and gatherers. This diet is high in protein and produce. Now, make no mistake, I am NOT doing this to lose weight—I am doing this as a lifestyle change. I want my body to be in peak condition, physically and physiologically. How can I truly know the capabilities of my body if I’ve been polluting it with processed foods for 23 years?
The paleo diet was recently ranked last on the U.S. News and World report for being the worst diet. Why? Not because it is unhealthy…but because it was too restrictive for most people to actually follow. In other words…it’s a challenge! Right up my alley.
In the 11 days that I have gone paleo, I have never been so full of energy. I have never slept better (I’ve suffered from insomnia for many years), and I have never been so focused. Countless studies show how certain additives in processed foods yield ADD/ADHD behavioral effects. Well, problem solved; eat only natural foods!
I will continue to update you all on my journey through this challenge, through pictures and posts. I have a feeling it’s going to get difficult!
For those of you who have supported me through 2013, I thank you and I pray you’ll continue to support me through the events of 2014. What I have accomplished would not have been possible without my sponsors, my supporters and my fans. God bless you all!
It was only 3 weeks ago that we celebrated the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s acclaimed “I Have a Dream” speech. Dr. King spoke out against racism and inequality. He fought for freedom and justice. One of the most famous quotes of his, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
Have we really progressed as a nation? Have we overcome the obstacles of injustice and racism? Have we lived up to what Dr. King envisioned? Evidently not, because it is 2013 and Nina Davuluri, Miss America 2014, is receiving racist backlash for her heritage.
This outstanding woman has broken so many barriers. She is the first AMERICAN of Indian descent to win the prestigious title of Miss America. She is the first contestant to bring bollywood (a form of dance) to national television. She embodies her platform to the fullest; embracing cultural diversity.
Most of you are familiar with my own platform; Empowering women to overcome stereotypes and break barriers. Well, Nina is doing just that. As her friend, as a titleholder, and as a leader, I give her my support. Nina, if you’re reading this, I leave you with a fitting verse; “Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you; rebuke the wise and they will love you.”
To my own fans; you supported me for breaking so many barriers and I ask that you now do the same for the reigning Miss America.
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter,”
It was the last few minutes of the pageant, names were being called from the top 10, announcing 4th runner up…3rd runner up…I’m nearly on the verge of hyperventilating, in disbelief that my name hadn’t been called yet. Then it happened, the moment that is now a blur. “And the new Miss Kansas 2013 is……contestant number 12! Theresa Vail!!”
This is the moment that my life will have changed forever.
Many of you that have been following me and the news know everything there is to know about my surface. So for this post, I would really like to share my experiences and thoughts on the actual pageant week.
Before I met all the women that I competed against, I held many preconceived notions about the types of girls that do this sort of thing. I was told to watch my back, lock up my clothes and heels, and not to trust anyone. Boy, was I blown away by the truth.
The 24 women that I had the pleasure of competing with are the most selfless and sweet women that I have had the honor of getting to know. I went there with my guard up, and left with my vulnerabilities in the air. I would not have won without the support of my fellow contestants.
For the same reason I love the military, I love the pageant system. It is a sisterhood, an unbreakable bond. Every assumption I held against these women were abolished the minute I got to know each and every single one of them. I am ashamed to say I held these judgements to begin with.
I spent a week with these women, and I have already made life-long friends. I connect with each of them in different ways, each having their own unique and special characteristics.
There was not one moment that I felt like I was being judged. It touched my heart when they came to me for advice, when my roommate and I had late-
night heart-to-heart talks, when all the girls tried helping me on my less than desirable dance moves. They accepted me for my flaws and imperfections.
If like me, you hold/held judgements against pageant girls, I ask that you reserve those judgements until after you meet one. They will change your life forever.
To the Miss Kansas Class of 2013, I thank you and I love you.
Remember that you can go to my “SHOP” link and purchase a custom Miss Outdoor Girl t-shirt. ALL proceeds go towards supporting the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, the national platform for Miss America.
-Your Miss Outdoor Girl…
It was Dec 8th, and a day I will never forget! That was the day that I became Miss Leavenworth County for the American system. I know most of you reading this blog don’t know me, so you might think that I was born to compete, or have been dreaming of being Miss America all of my life. Well, let me correct your thought process and really allow you to get to know me.
When I was younger, I was the girl that just never really fit in with the so-called “pretty girls” or the “popular” kids. I wasn’t a nerd, but just didn’tfeel the need to work hard to fit in. Because I was a little bit different, I turned to mother nature and she provided me with what is now my passion…..the great outdoors. I am the happiest when I am in a deer stand or drawing back that bow to mark the most perfect buck I have ever seen. Now, your thinking to yourself, there is no way this chic is an outdoor girl but I assure you, it is my passion and my heart and that is why I created Miss Outdoor Girl.
I normally wouldn’t think of myself as a beauty contestant, well, actually, I still don’t, but what I have learned about myself is that I truly believe in my platform and because of that I feel this pageant system will enable me to impact so many lives through my outdoor program for young women. I can’t tell you how surreal it was to hear my name called as the winner. You ever have that moment when you need someone to pinch yourself? That was me in that moment. I was one step closer to my dream of representing Kansas in the Miss America Pageant. Changing lives through empowering young women to embrace their own personal passion for outdoor activities. That is why I did this and I am so thankful for all the support I have been given to help me on this journey to achieve my own personal dream.
I will share my journey with you through updates of events and appearances and some of the pageant prep as I get ready to compete in June. I will also be posting pics of some of the amazing people and young ladies I get to meet along the way. I hope you will take the time to check back in and follow me as I take on what I know is sure to be the biggest year for me yet! Thanks so much for all of your support and have a Very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!…