As I enter my final few months as Miss Massachusetts, 21 young women from around the Commonwealth are busy practicing their talents, hitting the gym, reading up on the news----and preparing to take my job. I've invited each contestant to be a "guest writer" on my blog and contribute a piece that demonstrates her unique personality, interests and experiences. Over the next several weeks, members of the Miss Massachusetts Class of 2017 will be featured in this series as we "Countdown to the Crown". This week's featured contestant is Emily Thomas, Miss Cambridge 2017!
There are a lot of things I could talk about for this blog post. I could describe my journey with the Miss America organization. I could talk your ear off about my platform and why I feel so passionate about being a teacher. I could talk to you about how I’m preparing for Miss Massachusetts and the excitement I have. Instead, I want to go behind the scenes a little and talk about a group of people who deserve a bit of spotlight. I want to talk to you about my family. For those of you that have had the honor of meeting the four other members of the Thomas clan, you know just how unique and special they are. I want to take some time to dive a little deeper into the extraordinary and distinct relationship I have with each one of them.
Let’s start of with my dad, because we all know that Pageant dads are the best. They are endlessly supportive of their little girls and hardly ever see any mistakes, trip ups, or needs for improvement that happen on stage. The reality is that most of the time, they are present and attentive for the few minutes their daughter makes it onstage, and then secretly check out for the rest of it. But let me tell you, this is especially true of my dad although not for lack of effort. My dad is almost completely deaf, although you can hardly tell because he relies on reading lips to communicate and hides it exceptionally well. Despite the fact that he sits in the audience through onstage question having no idea what’s being asked and answered, and zones out through the singers and musicians as they perform their talents, my dad has never missed one of my pageants. He may miss out on some things, but he picks up on some other important details involved in the pageant performance. As a tap dancer, everyone always comments on the crisp, clean sounds my taps make as I perform. My dad is one of the few people who focuses on the fast motion of my feet rather than sound and critiques the level of enthusiasm and excitement in my performance. This attention to detail is evident in other phases of competition too, as he notices the genuine smiles and expressions of the contestants on stage. The other great thing about my dad is that he is my ultimate interview coach. He’s a political junkie and will spend hours talking my ear off about the latest current events and political happenings. I can always count on him to prepare me for the toughest of interviews, and the conversations we have help me tremendously.
Now, let’s talk about my sisters. Amanda and Grace have been my biggest cheerleaders throughout my pageant life and I can’t thank them enough. I think it’s safe to say that Grace, my little sister, gets more nervous than I do when I walk onstage. I’ve heard stories of how she squeezes my mom’s hand so tight that she loses blood circulation. Grace is a college athlete, playing Division 2 soccer at Merrimack College. If she were to compete in a pageant, she would blow everyone away in lifestyle and fitness because she truly embodies what it means to live an active and healthy lifestyle. She motivates me to be the best version of myself, even though I could never go on a 5 mile run for fun the way that she does. Her support is more reserved; you’ll never find her screaming my name at the top of her lungs, but it is extremely present and I don’t know what I would do without it. I’m lucky to have such a great relationship with Grace. And then there is Amanda, my extra special big sister. I can truly say that I would not be the person that I am today if not for her existence. She has given me such a unique perspective on life and the challenges that come along with it, and I am able to channel that in all aspects of competition. She radiates positivity everywhere she goes with the biggest smile and warmest hugs. It’s impossible not to feel happy in her presence. She is an intricate part of my life both in and out of pageantry, and I am so thankful to have her there as my biggest cheerleader and sister queen.
Last but not least, there’s my mother. Throughout my entire life she has shown me what it means to be completely selfless as she dedicates her life everyday to the success and wellbeing of her children despite the challenges that come her way. In December she was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease called Guillian Barre syndrome that attacks the coatings around her nerves. She had no feeling in her hands, feet, legs, and lips and was hospitalized right before Christmas. She received treatment that helped, but unfortunately she relapsed right before the Miss Boston/Cambridge pageant. She was wheelchair bound and stuck in a rehab facility, but you better believe she did everything in her power to convince the nurses to give her a pass for a few hours so she could come see me compete. She busted out of the rehab center and wheeled her way into the Omni Parker House and was overjoyed that she was able to go back to the center to tell everyone that I had won. She does so much to help me prepare, and I owe my success to her. Her health is coming along and she gets stronger everyday, but through it all her love and support has never wavered. I appreciate all that she has done for me so much more after what she has been through. I’ll admit that my mom packs my bags and labels all my jewelry the night before all of my pageants, and I don’t think I’ve ever realized how much I relied on that until I was forced to do it myself the night before Miss Boston/Cambridge. I could probably write an entire blog post just about my mom, that’s how amazing she is.
So there you have it, the entire Thomas Clan. We’re a bit crazy and definitely put the “fun” in “dysfunctional”, but we’ve got enough love to keep us going through the good and the bad. There is so much more that can be said about my family, but I’ll end it for now and hope that you all have a chance to meet them and see for yourself how amazing they are.
Want to meet the other contestants vying for the title of Miss Massachusetts 2017? Follow my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages for weekly updates!