As I enter my final weeks 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 Miss Lakeville, Aubrie Przybysz.
I feel like my journey in the Miss America Organization started many, many years ago. Even before I started actually competing 6 years ago. Since the time I was 5 I knew I wanted to walk on the Miss America stage. It became such a fantastic dream of mine. Recently, I celebrated my 24th birthday and in MAO that's the one birthday you want to put off as long as you can because it means you're aging-out. Womp. But part of me feels like it was always supposed to come down to this. Now let me back up for you! There are 3 very big reasons I stepped on stage in a pageant and they are the 3 same reasons that keep me going.
My aunt Mary Lynn is a former Miss Connecticut USA (1983) and Miss Bristol (CT America). And I remember admiring her so much as a little girl. Not just because she was Miss CT USA, but because she has such a wonderful light about her. She was also very involved in the community. It didn't end when her crown came off, it was just part of who she was. Everywhere I went people knew exactly who she was and always gave her such esteemed praise. I knew that someday, I wanted to an integral part of my community like that. And I knew a great way to start was competing in the Miss America Organization. So of course, the first local title I held was Miss Bristol because that was my aunt's title. I really made the most of that year of service too, participating in over 100 appearances.
The next reason I decided to start competing was the talent portion. I have been a dancer since I was 4 years old. Performing has been a major part of my life and I always thought dancing and pageantry went so well together. It's mesmerizing to watch someone be both powerful and graceful at the same time. I can say that about watching a ballet performance or hearing Miss America speak. I'm so glad I get to continue to express myself through dance by competing in the Miss America Organization. I hope that my passion for dance inspires other young girls to find something they're passionate about. It has really transformed my life and added so much color to it.
The number one reason why I chose to compete was to serve and represent my community. I love meeting and interacting with people. Nothing excites me more! Which makes a lot of sense when you look at my platform, Social Media: Putting Your Best Foot Forward. Social media is our online community and I work with my platform to help people navigate social media, understand it's ins and outs, and empower them with helpful guidelines. I even have a website (www.socialmediahandbook.com) I direct people to where I address questions I get about social media. After holding local titles in almost every part of the state, I've had the opportunity to meet many wonderful people and stay connected with them through my social media accounts. Before I may have only had a single opportunity to impact someone's life, now with social media, I have endless opportunities. It's quite powerful.
Writing this blog post is definitely bittersweet. I love this organization from the bottom of my heart. It has changed my life for the better. As contestants, we are always asked why pageantry is still relevant. This is my answer: I can walk into a room full of strangers and never feel uncomfortable, I can strike up a conversation with anyone, and my skin is a layer thicker from my years of competing. I'm proud I never gave up. There were a few times I had the chance to bow out, but that's not who I am. If this organization has made me anything it's resilient. When my journey comes to its' end I hope I leave a legacy that inspires others to never stop following their dreams and to keep believing in themselves.