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

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Stage Is Set...

I just can't believe it. In 11 days I will be traveling to Las Vegas to take part in, what I know will be, the most amazing experience of my life! You all could not imagine what I am thinking. So many things are racing through my mind! Am I prepared, am I ready? Will I slip and fall? Are my shoes to high? lol. :) Yes, I'm thinking these things, multiplied by a thousand! But even more so, I'm thinking of you all. Will I make you all proud? Have I represented my territory well enough? Will I be the first Miss virgin Islands to break that barrier and enter the top fifteen!? Questions, questions, questions. I'm probably a little crazy now, because as I ask them, I answer them! Who would have thought a former wall flower would bloom this brightly!? I've never been the average beauty queen and I think that is what makes me the best kind of beauty queen. I still hear my professors as we spoke, "Hmmm, A Miss America, that's a cultural feminist?" That's exactly what I am! A proud activist for women and for those different. I'm a mix of so many cultures, so I am a representation of these cultures and of the people within these cultures. With every step I take, it is to break down the walls set in front of us. 
I'm ready for those walls!. I could not have been more prepared for this. I have been planning on this for the past four years. I have had dreams of this my entire life and I finally woke up and made it an amazing reality. Just a few days ago, as I was doing my final fitting with my dress designer Juan Carlos Pinera, I felt like Miss America. I saw myself in that dress, I thought of all the hard work I  had done and all that I have sacrificed and all that I had prayed for. I could see myself being crowned in this dress. I could see myself as the last standing after everything that I had to overcome. Anyone that knows me, knows that this road has not been an easy one but it has been rewarding, and in my heart I know that my greatest reward is somewhere in the near, NEAR future. ;) 

The fears are here as well. Everyone has told me its quite normal to be nervous. I speak to my friends every day about my worries and they are always willing to knock me right out of my fear, party of one. "Take those panties of yours out of that knot and rock it!" Which is what I'm going to do! When that first night of preliminary competition arrives, I'm going to show them why every one says Islands girls do it best! Thank you all for your endless love, support and dedication to my success as Miss Virgin Islands. We are going to make history this time! 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

After you've been given..GIVE BACK!

I was recently asked to be apart of an amazing series of events this past weekend. Jabari Blash, a top tier league baseball player for the Seattle Mariners is by all accounts, a picture perfect example of what hard work and dedication can become. He is from St. Thomas and decided to hold baseball clinic free of charge for local little league players, on the islands of St. Thomas and St. Croix. Eight major and minor league players visited our territory to be apart of this great effort. It began this past Friday night, when a welcome was held for these amazing players at the Kokopelli Cafe. They, as well as myself, and other Virgin Island title holders were invited to meet and interact with children and parents of the community. We had a blast! Everyone was so welcoming of them and I'm sure they can't wait to come back. 

It was so humbling that I was welcomed to be apart of such a positive event. I was the "Head Face Painter" of the day and I was able to interact with both boys and girls attending the clinic. I'm always afraid to do face painting, if you get it wrong, BE PREPARED! They will let you no, and three children later, they'll be in line for you to get it right! But I definitely had an amazing time, I did hearts, cheetahs, dogs, roses, you name it, I did it. Just Call me Miss "Artistica" (I hope that was as full of  "whitty" as I thought it was.)                                      I made two best friends at the end of the day. That's the part I enjoy most about interacting with children. They are so easy to understand and relate to. They aren't yet confused by the things around them, they are still, simply enjoying it. It's a beautiful thing to see. All, in all the events spanning over the entire weekend, were a huge success. It's amazing to see so many of these young men that  have achieved so much, give back without having to be asked. I am extremely thankful that there is now an outlet for our young men, that teaches more than just the basics of baseball, it teaches the importance of dedication and discipline. Most of all, I am so extremely humbled to know that I was blessed with the opportunity to be involved in something so positive. So, remember that it is extremely important to give back, after you've been given!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Life Lesson #1

This experience has taught me so much, about so many different things in life. I want to share one of the most important lessons I've learned this far. I've learned the importance of relationships, and I've learned the importance of knowing when to let go of them. Don't let the glamour of the crown and sash be fooling. This experience is tedious, this job requires so much, not only do I prepare to do my very best at the upcoming Miss America pageant, but I am also vigorously giving back to those that deserve it.So yes the journey is spectacular in more ways than one but the luxury of it does not come without the labor. 

With that being said, my goal is set and I am determined to do well. I am so focused on representing the Virgin Islands to the best of my ability and I cannot afford to let anything or anyone deter me from that goal. Relationships, when negative, can do that. They can steer us away from the path that God has presented us with. They can hinder us from our greatest successes and triumphs. So we must know when a relationship is no longer worth our time because it becomes an obstacle, something it should never be. Whether it is a friendship, or a "family-ship" or one of intimacy, it should never be negative. 

You see what happens in life is very easy to understand. We are all painting a picture, and we get to choose our colors. If we choose the wrong color that picture becomes distorted because the ugly flows into the beautiful, it becomes blended until all you see is a brown, ugly muck. Don't allow that ugly color to distort the beauty of your achievement or success. 

I have come from so much to reach this point, I have been the shy girl, sitting in the corner, teased and made fun off, because I was "too skinny" or "not pretty" enough. I have been that girl that struggled to find my place among my peers, years older than me. I have been to the very bottom and that is why I am so humbled to be in this position. But, as humbled as I am, I will not take any of this for granted, nor will I downplay the work I so diligently put in to get here and I will never let anyone place shade on my accomplishments. I've worked hard for them, so as long as God will allow it, they will shine brightly. 

My goal is set, and as every other goal I have set for myself, I will achieve it and if not, come very very close.  In order for me to do this, I must be aware of relationships that have a negative impact on this goal. I must weed out the dark and musty colors, as we all should. What is your goal? Where do you see yourself in the next 12 months or 2 years? Answer these questions. Now, begin to surround yourself with people that will appreciate this goal. Engulf yourself with individuals that will congratulate you on every step of this journey, seek out those that will encourage you when it seems like you cannot make it. Let go of those that are a negative force towards your achievement, but a positive force towards your failure. They might not always do it purposely, but if they do not stop, release them. You don't need that, not do you deserve. We are only human, but you would not imagine the power our words and actions have on one another. So, unless there power is positive, release it, don't worry yourself with salvaging relationships that will only benefit your failure. 

I just wanted to share this with you all. I have learned so much and I just hope that my experiences can be a lesson to others.

With Love,
Miss Virgin Islands

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Donate To The Children's Miracle Network

Warm Holiday Greetings From Your Miss Virgin Islands 2012, Aniska Tonge.
As you all may know I am proudly involved with the largest scholarship program for women, Miss America, and as a contestant I now work very closely with the Children’s Miracle Network. Our goal is to raise funds for these local hospitals that are so dedicated to bettering the lives of children in need.
The Miss America Organization has teamed up with Children's Miracle Network Hospitals to help raise money for children’s hospitals in communities throughout the United States. Every single dollar donated to this page will be put towards granting miracles for these bright stars of our future.Now you can be a miracle worker and “touch the lives” of these sick and injured children by making a heartfelt donation today. By clicking the“Donate Now” button to the left on my donation page, http://missamericaforkids.org/Home/Donate . You may make a donation of any value.

These are so many stories of how normal people like us have helped millions of kids through the Children's Miracle Network. Now with your help, I have a chance to make these stories come true as well. 
Thanks so very much for your support and effort it  helping me make miracles happen for those that are so important to us and our future! So, please give a donation in my name and give the gift of a miracle this holiday season!

With Love,
Aniska, Your Miss Virgin Islands

Thursday, December 6, 2012

An Island Style Christmas and Catalina Swim!

Christmas is right around the corner y'all! But, as I see pictures of snow covered drive ways and snowflake decorated trees, I just can't relate! You see, I'm from paradise. It never goes below 75 degrees during the day and we'd trade snow for sand any day of the week. My Christmas time is different! Friends are beginning to come home but we aren't planning ski trips, we're planning a day jet skiing, zip lining and snorkeling! We aren't pulling out heavy coats or scarves or boots. We're debating if we should add new swim suits to our, already overwhelming, collection. Our beaches are some of the most beautiful in the world and we take such pride in them. From Magens bay to Brewers Bay, Coki Point and Lindquist, the selection is overwhelming! I just love calling this place home. I can't wait till all my favorites ladies get back so we can spend our entire days on the beach. I just have to remember not to fall asleep under the sun or I'll look like a burnt KitKat! All this talk about the beach has me even more excited that my Catalina Swimwear for the Miss America competition is here, fits perfectly and is ready to be seen in all its glory on that Miss America stage! I'm so happy that the are a sponsor and I can't wait till this line makes it debut in Walmart shopping centers all over the country! When we traveled to Orlando we had an opportunity to sneak a peek at this line and I think it's truly amazing that Catalina has made an array of swimwear fitting for every woman of every color, body type and height! I'm an island girl so I surely live on the beacg, and trust me when I tell you, once you see the Miss America Swim by Catalina you'll want to live on the beach too! That cute swimsuit will have you beach babe ready. The selection of styles and colors are to die for and the fabric and quality will surely be worth the price. I can't wait to make both Catalina Swimwear and the Miss America Organization proud when I hit that stage in January! Thank you again to Miss America and Catalina for not only providing us contestants with gorgeous suits but for providing every woman with the right suit to feel good and comfortable and gorgeous in! 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Life of Miss Virgin Islands...

I've done terribly at keeping you all updated on the "outs and abouts"of Miss Virgin Islands, so this post is dedicated solely to updating you all on what I've been up to! First let me say I hope everyone had an amazing Thanksgiving holiday! I'll definitely remember mine, the very first thanksgiving where I paid attention to how much food I put on my plate. (Not Fun but Necessary :). This was also the first Thanksgiving holiday that I refrained from taking a slice of every single cake, pie, and tart on the kitchen counter! 

"Drug Free Is Me"

Now, that I've told you about my ''eventful'' holiday, what's next!? My community service and involvement of course! Over the past few months and have been consistently involved with many different activities here in the Virgin Islands. One of the most uplifting was certainly that of the "Drug Free is Me" march and program. I was asked to walk with students and the Ivanna Eudora Kean marching band in a parade promoting drug use prevention among the entire community. I was also asked to speak on the topic of drug abuse, and I made it clear that drug use affects our community terribly, but if we work together to prevent the senseless use of illegal drugs, we can certainly make it past any obstacle that negative drug use presents. I was also given the opportunity to learn quite about about red ribbon week from a featured DEA agent and gained so much inspiration from the true story of Mr. Vanterpool and how he overcame his struggle with substance abuse as a veteran of the police force.

"There She Sings"
Kokopelli's Kafe has quite a few of the BEST things in the world, best hamburgers, best steaks and best owners! Jen and Pat Witcher have become such a solid force behind me as a get closer and closer to my task of dominating the Miss America competition this coming January. Jen has if anything, become the one of persons on my team, most determine to see that I do well, but also to see that I am happy and comfortable with every thing. Pat has made it his goal to see that I am fully prepared for any curve ball question during interview and that I am extremely grateful for. They are both so very dedicated to me and I am so grateful. I was invited by them to sign autographs and perform my Miss America talent during there night of live music!
I had a great time showcasing my talent for my local Virgin Islanders and their support was amazing. It truly brought me to tears. I simply cannot wait to perform my talent for the entire nation to see, and make my territory proud. It was also amazing to see how many people were just as excited to meet with me! While signing my autograph cards (Printed by the amazing Color Max V.I.) I received so many well wishes and words of encouragement. I was reminded how truly loved and respected I am among my people.

"Speaking to the Delta Gems"

Most recently, I was given the amazing opportunity of speaking to a group of girls that are mentored by the local chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority. I was so enthused to see so many amazing women of our community truly take part in uplifting those that remind us so much of our former selves. I shared this moment with my fellow queen sisters, Miss USVI World, Taeisa Lashley and Miss USVI International Vanessa Donastorg. We spoke on the benefits of pageantry and how it should be used to build confidence, determination and the will to succeed even after having failed. We each, spoke on our separate experiences and on how pageantry was beneficial towards us.  I am so grateful to both Taeisa and Vanessa for helping me with promoting my platform and for being continuously supportive of my journey. 

So far, so good. As January draws closer, my preparations have become far more intense but I continue to involve myself endlessly because above all, my goal is to serve.I hope you all enjoyed this post! Stay tuned for my work out post and my next pageant platform queen! 

All My Love,
Miss Virgin Islands.