When I was a kid I loved watching the Miss America Pageant. I’m sure like other little girls I practiced walking with a book on my head and dreamed of having a tiara of my own. I was always fascinated by how the newly crowned Miss America never seemed to be able to keep her crown on as she walked down the runway as Bert Parks sang, “There she is…..Miss America.” It was wonderful what a few bobbie pins could accomplish.
When I became a mom of our first two daughters we played a little game as we watched the pageant. Each girl chose a contestant to represent herself and we pretended to be watching her charm the country to the point of, “Wow, you did great in the talent division!” or “That color looks prefect on you.” It was always unspoken that we cheered for our home state as well as the girls’ personal representatives.
When Heather Whitestone from Alabama competed and won we were proud. She carried herself with such grace and poise. One of my daughters was a ballet dancer at that time so we particularly appreciated the effort that went into the talent Miss Alabama possessed and since she was deaf we all sat in stunned amazement as she danced. That year I don’t think either of my daughters “competed” against Heather. We all agreed she was the best contestant and left it at that.
Last Saturday I gathered with four of my five daughters to watch a local girl follow her dream. From the very beginning we were mesmerized by Mallory Hytes Hagan, Miss New York. I do not know her personally but have met her sweet mother, Mandy and Aunt Jamie. Since Mallory attended Opelika High School the years between my children I never even saw her in any production at school so she was a fresh face to me.
I have to say with no reservations that I picked her from the start. I liked her smile, her gracefulness and the fact that she called herself a “goofball”. I like a girl who can do that. She had a stage presence that seemed totally confident, yet warm and inviting. I knew if this girl didn’t win the crown I was going to be really ticked off.
Mallory finished first in the evening gown competition and swimsuit competition. We cheered and chatted back and forth with facebook friends after finalists were announced. Things were looking good, then the talent portion was up and Mallory’s name was called. She totally blew the judges away. Not only did she deliver a fantastic tap routine, she did it to none other than a James Brown song and presented with such charm and humor that no one could resist her. The crowd went wild. I knew she had it then.
By the end of the program one of my three little girls had fallen asleep on the floor in front of the TV. We woke her up screaming when the final decision was announced. We probably disturbed the neighbors too, if so I apologize. But, it is not every day you watch a girl become a queen. And it is not every day that a queen comes from your little town. What an awesome thing for a little town to say she’s one of ours. Atta girl Mallory Hytes Hagan. You rock that tiara! Dreams come true.