I quickly grab my mahogany crown box off the kitchen table, and make a beeline for the door. In a flurry, the latch of the box breaks. My crown topples to the ground and the once secure crystals pop out of place like silver confetti. I look down in horror as the small round gems and statement teardrop rhinestones that form my Miss Idaho crown lie scattered at my feet. Scooping up the pieces from the floor, I realize that my once perfect accessory is missing two points and multiple gems varying in size. However, I had no time to mourn the current state of my crown as I was running late for the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen Finals night. Hoping my 6-ft. height would ensure that no one could notice the gaping holes in my crown, I scurry out the door.
Although my crown clearly did not survive Orlando, I spent a fulfilling week at Miss America Orientation enriched with new friendships and an eye-opening understanding of the direction for Miss America 2.0. During the first day of orientation, Cara Mund, Miss America 2018, spoke to
the group of 51 representatives. One of the most memorable things Cara said was that Miss America does not fit one mold. Every Miss America brings something different to the title. There is no need to let the title change you, instead, change the title.
Reflecting on orientation week, I don’t think Cara could have said it any better. There is no singular mold required to fit the Miss America crown. Small round stones, large spheres, and distinguished teardrops all combine to form the coveted crown. Missing even one small gem, the
crown would not be complete. Every piece plays a part in a large puzzle, and regardless of size or placement, each piece is of equal importance. Looking at the loose stones absent from my crown, I see that every person can embody Miss America.
As I attempt to superglue the rhinestones back together, it is incredibly clear that my Miss Idaho crown is comprised of nearly 500 unique stones, none of which can be substituted for the other. Heading to Miss America, I can never attempt to conform into something that is not me. Each of us is our own version of Miss America, living our own versions of service, style, scholarship, and success.
Thankfully, my Miss Idaho crown will make a full recovery, but I do not regret its unfortunate (and untimely) downfall. Destruction creates an opportunity for the new. In this situation, the “new” was an idea, the realization that regardless of size, shape, or extrinsic sparkle, every person is capable of growing and creating their own destiny. A path is not paved in a day. Every mile is curated with time, experience, and care. Your path can lead in any direction, but if the pieces crumble, fear not: pick them up, and remember anything can be fixed with a little effort and superglue.