Journey to the Crown: Countdown to "Miss America"

By Kaitlin Gates on November 24, 2012 from Journey to the Crown via Connect-Bridgeport.com

As many of you know, I was crowned Miss West Virginia in June! It is a goal I have worked toward for a long time and I am so fortunate God has given me this opportunity. I knew I was capable of winning, but with being involved in such a subjective hobby, you never know what to expect.  I like to think that I got lucky that night because on a different day, the judges could have seen something special in another girl and I wouldn’t be where I am today. So far, my year has been full of incredible moments and great opportunities.
 
Since the state pageant, I have been a busy girl! As Miss WV, I belong to the state for an entire year. Because I won, I had to take a year off from my studies at West Virginia University in order to complete my duties. I am not permitted to have a job or be a student because, for this year, Miss West Virginia is my job. Many have asked what I do while I am not at school. Well, there is always something going on! Even if I am not physically somewhere at an appearance, I am busy at home sending e-mails, doing paperwork, planning, scheduling events, and preparing for the Miss America pageant.
 
The biggest part of my year is my school tour.  I will speak to over 100 schools and more than 40,000 students on my platform which is entitled Healthy Kids, Healthy Futures. I have a presentation for elementary schools and then one for middle and high schools. I absolutely LOVE these appearances. I am so passionate about my platform and hope to encourage the youth of our state to take an interest in their health. So far, I have been to Bridgeport Middle, Bridgeport High, and WI Middle in our county. I will be at the Simpson Elementary Health Fair in March, so look for me there!
 
The Miss America Pageant is coming up on January 12!  It will be televised live on ABC from the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, so you will have to watch for me! At the pageant, the judges pick the top 14 contestants and America votes in the 15th finalist. You all will have an opportunity to vote for me, so I will release that information when Miss America opens the voting.
 
To prepare for Miss America, I have been doing a variety of things. Every day, I exercise with personal trainer, Melissa Romano of You First, LLC. She was kind enough to sponsor me and is really getting me into shape! My personal interview with the judges can be on a plethora of topics, so I have been studying current events and controversial issues to make sure I am well informed on different hot topics.  I went to Kansas City last week for talent preparation. The man I worked with has had five clients win Miss America, so hopefully I am another! My wardrobe for the pageant isn’t completely decided upon, but I have received my competition swimsuit from Miss America sponsor, Catalina. When my clothes arrive, I will be busy at fittings and making sure every look is complete. 
 
I often get asked if I am excited for the pageant. Obviously, YES! However, it is so surreal to me that I have this amazing opportunity that it doesn’t feel like I am preparing for Miss America. My dream since I was little has been to compete on that stage and knowing that I will have that chance is unfathomable. There are so many girls who compete for six or seven years to win their state title and never do, but I have been given that honor. Regardless of the pageant’s outcome, I am among the nation’s top 53 contestants, and to me that is an accomplishment. I will be so proud to declare myself  “Kaitlin Gates, Miss West Virginia” for the nation to hear!
 
Keep up with me on social media! Twitter: @MissWV2012  and Instagram: misswv2012. My personal blog where you can read about individual appearances is www.kaitlingates.blogspot.com. To have me at your event, visit http://misswestvirginia.org/appearance_request.
 


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