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Harry Potter Enthusiast, Island girl, All American Girl, Proud USF bull. Lover of all things mythical and "unbelievable"

Friday, September 28, 2012

Even the Rain Can't Stop My Reign: My Miss America People's Choice Video Shoot

How dare mother nature rain on my parade huh!? 
I'm a bit late with this post but better late than never, I always say. My shoot, had a few interruptions, the rain refused to stop and the clouds decided to visit my beautiful paradise but I had so much fun. I'm so excited for America to get to meet me. It's been an interesting journey up to this point, far from easy. My patience, strength and belief in myself, continue to be tested. But I hope that my hard work will resonate so far beyond everything else. I have sacrificed so much for this, but after seeing how proud I have made my territory and how proud I can make the people of my country, I know that every sacrifice is worth it. 

 Here are a few pictures from my video shoot! Enjoy......

                                      The Best Camera Man In The Business....ACTION!

 Born In The Great State of Texas, Raised in the Beautiful Virgins Islands, Proud bull of the University of South Florida...All American Girl.

There She Is...

Pageant Platform Interview: Miss Virgin Islands 2008

The She Is! Miss Virgin Islands 2008, and my second pageant platform featured queen! It was such an honor to have a former Miss Virgin Islands state title holder take part in my project to promote the benefits of pageantry in relation to building self esteem in young women. Having been a first runner up before capturing the title, Shamika has proven above all else that she is a fighter. She mentions the support she received from the MAO, and through the Miss America pageant system she realized her purpose and passion for assisting her community through her involvement with HIV awareness and prevention! Check out the entire interview below:

Tell us about yourself:
My name is Shamika Thomas. I am a 28 year old resident of St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. I am a graduate of the University of the Virgin Islands with a BA in Biology and I’m currently completing my Masters in Public Health at Benedictine University. During my reign as Miss Virgin Islands in 2008-2009, my platform was Prevention and Awareness of HIV/AIDS. I currently work as a Director of a HIV prevention program. I am completely honored to be a part of this project!
Why did you compete for Miss VI?
I competed for Miss Virgin Islands because it afforded me the opportunity to represent the USVI in Miss America, but it also provided the opportunity to further my education through the scholarships provided.
What did you learn about yourself during the pageant?
            It is as Miss VI that I really realized my true passion about public health issues. I am a very vocal person and being Miss VI gave me an outlet to share and discuss my opinions not just locally but on a national and international level as well. I also learned that being humble, having faith, and remaining positive goes a long way.
What did you do to prepare for the pageant?
The year before I was selected as Queen in 2008, I was the first runner up to Ms. Janesha John in 2007. It is from that very moment that I was able to reflect on how I could improve my platform and other components I felt a queen should possess. For the whole year, I took charm and poise classes, improved my modeling technique, and strengthened my platform issue to one that I was really passionate about. I began to search for a song for performing talent that not only demonstrated my vocal ability but told the story about how my life was being transformed.  This journey was not without trials, but I persevered despite the many obstacles that I faced.
Do you think that pageants are a good opportunity for young women? Why or Why not?
                I do feel that pageants are a good opportunity for young women as long as they remain humble and recognize that a crown does not define who you are, it is only one aspect of you. It is an experience in your book of life, not the title of the book. Even if your attempt at the crown is not successful, know that it is not the end of the world, but a learning experience for another great opportunity. Pageants can build character and self-esteem. Thus, I would recommend any young women to explore the possibilities if they are interested.
What has been your most memorable experience?
My most memorable experience as Miss VI was the overwhelming responses and support I received in Las Vegas and California. I truly felt like royalty.
Has pageantry assisted you in accomplishing any professional or personal goals? How has it done so/ not done so?
Pageantry has assisted me in accomplishing my personal goals as I changed my career path from dentistry to public health after fulfilling my yearlong commitment to service in HIV prevention. I have since enrolled in graduate school to study public health and I currently work in the HIV prevention field.

Thank you for the opportunity to be a part of this project
                                                  Always &Forever               

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Miss V.I. Pageant Platform Interview: Miss V.I. World 2012, Taiesa Lashley

In order to promote my platform nationally, I will feature a former or current queen every week. In her interview she will give insights on the benefits of pageantry in regards to self esteem, academic success and professional success. My first featured queen is a two time, former contestant of the Miss America Program, a veteran of the US Army Reserve, and an amazingly well rounded young women. Meet my first Platform Featured Queen, Miss V.I. World 2012 Taiesa Lashley!

Tell us about yourself.
I have a passion for singing, reading and cooking. I have 6 siblings and I am a veteran in the US Army Reserve.  I love Law and order SVU and I am terrified of snakes. My career goal is to become a hospitality professor. 
Why did you compete for Miss World VI?
It has always been a dream of mine to be an ambassador for my territory. When the opportunity arrived I decided to take a chance and compete for the title. It was my last year to be eligible for the Miss World competition before I aged out so I figured I had nothing to lose. I also love the fact that Miss World travel and supports charitable causes. Community service is something that I am very passionate about. I volunteer a great deal, so it seemed like the perfect job for me! 
What did you learn about yourself during the pageant?
I have always considered myself a positive person. My Miss World experience put my positivity to the ultimate test.  My competition wardrobe was lost by the airlines so I went 5 weeks without a wardrobe while in China for the Miss World Pageant. At first I was very unhappy and wanted to give up, but I felt as though I would be letting my supporters down. After a week I realized I to become mentally tough and stay as positive as possible. The contestants were extremely kind and gracious enough to lend me clothing throughout the competition.  Once I overcame that mental obstacle it made it easier for me to represent my home. I managed to be the recipient of extraordinary kindness and gain friend around the world. Becoming and remaining positive made my experience priceless. 
What did you do to prepare for the pageant?
I started attending the gym and eating healthier. I also worked on my interview skills and my talent. I did not have a lot of time - roughly 4 weeks- but I made the time that I had count. 
Do you think that pageants are a good opportunity for young women? Why or Why not?
Most definitely. I especially think that pageants that offer scholarships like the Miss America Competition are great opportunities for women. The focal points in these pageants are not solely on beauty. It is about being a community service oriented, a great speaker, being mentally and physically fit and successful academically. These attributes are not only essential for a pageant but for life in general. 
What has been your most memorable experience?
Performing in the talent finals for the 2012 Miss World Pageant has got to be one of the most memorable and cherished memories. The contestants were very supportive and it was truly an honor to share my talent with people from across the globe.  
Has pageantry assisted you in accomplishing any professional or personal goals? How has it done so/ not done so?
I have won over 20,000 in scholarship funds from competing in pageants over the years. Almost half of that amount came from the Miss America Pageant System (Miss VI 1st runner in 2008 and 2009). I am currently working on my M.S degree and eventually will pursue my PhD in Education. Pageants have also helped established me as a role model with in my community. Personally I love to travel and I was able to visit a few cities in China during the Miss World Pageant. After a pageant is over I walk away with more than just a trophy, sash and flowers. That is the reason why love competing in pageants.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Caribbean Cultural Expo: Embrace Your Culture and Open Your Mind To Others

I'll bet that not many Saturdays compared to mine. I was invited to be apart of the Jacksonville Caribbean Cultural expo.  I took part in both the parade and the Village, known by many others as the Fair Grounds. I had so much fun and I was so warmly welcomed!

The vendors provided delicious foods from various Islands. Jamaica, The Virgin Islands and Barbados were just some islands featured. I munched on authentic Caribbean dishes like chicken pate and fried plantains as well as traditional American Fair dishes. The shaved ice was welcomed on such a hot Florida day. The list of food could go on for days! I'm sure I ate for five of me in just a few hours. I was also given some beautiful gifts from many vendors! My favorite being my new Virgin Islands bracelet. 
The entertainment was so festive and lively! I heard music from back home as well, which was a welcomed surprise. The members of the carnival troupes danced their way through the village in costumes bedazzled with gems and rhinestones, in a number of beautiful colors, feathers and headdresses. 
Miss America is most definitely an ambassador of her country, and having such a rich connection to the Caribbean, it would be an honor for me to represent my country, the United States of America, throughout my fellow islands. 

However, as Miss Virgin Islands, I will continue to represent not only my territory but America with pride through out Caribbean celebrations.

With Love, Miss Virgin Islands.     

Friday, September 14, 2012

Miss America 2013 Lottery.

I'm going to have to do much better with keeping you all up to date on all my Miss America Adventures...But I think I'm getting much better.

Just recently, all 53 contestants took part in the Miss America Lottery! If you aren't sure what that is, it's simply a random selection of each contestant. When you are selected, you get to choose what group and numerical slot you would like for preliminary judging. I knew what spot I wanted days ahead; "MU Group" 5 or 6. I prayed ,along with my friend and organization sister Jasmine, that God would grant me an early selection, so that I may pick the slot I wanted!
Miss West Virginia was the very first chosen! How amazing she must have felt. Texas came, later South Carolina, then Puerto Rico. I still hadn't seen my name...I called my director "Miss Jerry," I said, "We might just be here all night! I'm going to be the last selected!" She laughed at my dramatics. Then, as if it were magic, my named appeared in the "Next Up" column! I was ecstatic! I was next to go and BOTH "MU Group" 5 and 6 were open. I chose 5! I should have known not to worry one bit. You see, I have faith in a God that is very real, a father that will never forget the very smallest detail on my journey to Miss America. So, he knew I needed this spot and he gave it to me... And to him I am forever grateful. It may seem small, but never count out the little blessings.
With Love,
Miss Virgin Islands

I'll be in the MU group for preliminary judging! Check out my performance line up below:

Tuesday-On Stage Question
Wednesday-Swimsuit & Evening Wear

Moms are the most important accessory to any successful journey...

I can't begin to express how amazing and rare this experience is. Today I took my official head and competition shots. What a feeling! I brought my mom along as well and although I love how proud I have made others, her being proud of me is truly the most fulfilling. She said last night that her little girls were all grown up and soon we wouldn't need her anymore. But how wrong she is. She has taught me every value of a true queen; Resiliance in the time of struggle, faith when the dark times seem more powerful, and above all love and compassion. I feel as though I am most prepared for this journey because of what she has taught me, so today I took my official pictures for Miss America, and that meant such a great deal to me...But today my mom used her phone and took a million unofficial pictures of her "princess" and that meant the world to me.
With Love,
Miss Virgin Islands.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Crowning Moment....

...And what a journey it's been thus far!

...And what a journey it's been thus far!

After being crowned Miss Virgin Islands just over three weeks ago, the work began. I didn't have a honeymoon phase as I traveled to Orlando just three days after for the Miss America Outstanding teen pageant.  

But let's begin with my state pageant. What an experience that was. We began quite early in the morning first with interview. I was extremely nervous as I face a panel of judges that consisted of esteemed community officials, business owners and former Miss Virgin Island title holders. The questions were thrown at me, but luckily I answered each from the heart, and by the grace of God that had been enough. I then prepared for the fitness section right away. That section came and went so quickly my swimsuit, colorful and fun, represented my personality perfectly....Moments later was the Talent segment of the nights pageant. I sang my heart out to the tune of New York, New York by Frank Sinatra, however I knew my fellow contestants were just as amazing as I thought they were, so I knew it would be extremely close. For my evening wear, I dazzled in a gem and glass covered gown, and before I knew it, I had answered my on stage question and was waiting patiently on stage for crowning. Fitness I had won, Interview I had won, but who had won the title of Miss Virgin Islands? I still wasn't sure if it was me. But soon my dream of four years became a reality, I was Miss Virgin Islands 2012. Every amazing moment documented by the wonderful photographer, Eric Johnson.

Days after I traveled to Orlando, where I met my teen and princess, as well as my 52 Miss America 2013 sisters. "What a whirlwind this must be!" the said. They all were in shock and disbelief that I was just crowned the Sunday before. My trip consisted of official MAO workshops, autograph signings, and choosing my swimsuit for the Miss America Pageant! But after all those long days my sisters and I were treated to a much need trip to Disney World! Tours, rides and meeting Mickey and Minnie mouse! What else could an queen ask for?

My journey has just begun, but I am sure it will be one of excitement, adventure and memories to last a lifetime! I don't want to miss a moment of this year to come. 

With Love,
Miss Virgin Islands