Here is a repost of the interview:
1. You placed 1RU in Florida last year after placing 2RU in California & 1RU the year before. Was it hard to bounce back and how has that experience changed your preparation for the 2015 pageant?
Placing first runner up at California for the first time competing in a Miss pageant was unreal. I couldn't believe out of 200 something beautiful women it was Natalie Pack and I at the end. My heart was pounding out of my chest and seeing as I had a very strong, positive mindset of winning I was upset when I didn't. Yes I placed very well, but I thought I nailed every stage of competition and didn't feel like I could've done any better. Since then and having competed twice, I know why I didn't win. I wasn't ready. I went in with a positive mindset, I had fun, and didn't really know what to expect. I was just along for the ride.
Having competed twice since then accompanied with some life experiences, things happen only when it's right. It was hard to bounce back after the 1st year at Miss California USA because I felt very pressed to do better than the year before, which would be winning. I compared myself to girls, over thought every aspect of the competition, and really was not myself. When I placed second runner up, I didn't think I would ever compete again. I thought I was done. After graduating college and traveling I really felt the need to get out of Los Angeles and move back home to Florida to be with my family and just renew a happiness I felt I was lacking. When my pageant family heard that, they suggested I compete in Florida. It was very sudden and I wasn't sure I wanted to do it all again, but I figured why not. At least it will give me a chance to make new friends! Going through the very difference process of preparing for Florida in just two months, I felt the same way I did competing at California the first year. Just so excited, not knowing what to expect, and along for the ride.
After placing 1st runner up again, I took a serious look at my preparation, mindset and performance deciding if I wanted to try again for a fourth time. This is what I came up with: My pageant experience over the past three years has given me so much confidence not only on the stage, but in life and in my career. A lot has happened in three years and if anything would've turned out differently, who knows where I could be today. I am so in love with my life right now with endless possibilities. I think any pageant girl will agree, that its addicting. its addicting because every time you compete, you grow as a person and as a woman, meeting new friends and creating memories with old ones. Yes, winning would be amazing and another life changing moment, only if it's the right time. But I am proof that winning isn't everything, and coming back for now a fourth time I am excited for the new experience and going into it just being me and hoping this year will be my time.
2. How does the experience of competing in Florida differ from competing in California? Which is your favourite state to compete in?
Competing in California and Florida has been a very different experience. In California, you don't have to win a preliminary competition to compete at the state level and in Florida you do. So the amount of contestant is significantly less (give or take 150/70). With fewer contestants I think Florida has been able to give the girls who do compete a more enriching experience. We all become very close due to the many events they set up prior to check in week, and the amount of time we are all together before we actually compete. We check in three days before prelims and finals, with numerous rehearsals, dinners, and even a team building night, which makes it so much fun and allows the girls to bond. Last year I truly felt all of the girls were so happy for the the ones to placed, got top five and the winner, simply because we all knew each other so well. I remembering standing there holding hands with my roommate at the 1st runner up/second runner up decision, which was such an amazing moment for us both. Even though I miss my California pageant team and girls, I love competing in Florida simply for the experience they provide all of us. Not to mention, since it's televised, its a mini Miss USA so the winner will kind of know what to expect.
3. What would your advice be to those considering competing in a 2015 Miss USA state pageant for the first time?
My advice to someone competing for the first time, is to have fun, be yourself, make friends, and DONT COMPARE YOURSELF TO ANYONE! I know this sounds cliche, but its true and very difficult to do believe it or not. Some girls have a tendency to be closed off and focus on her "game." I did this my second year at Miss California. I wasn't being mean or rude, I was just focused because I thought thats what would help me do better on stage. By not talking to anyone and being in my head the entire time, I looked bored and unhappy on stage. Even my friends were telling me I wasn't acting myself and asking what was wrong. Another huge mistake I made was compare myself, and thought too much of the other girls competing. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and with 7 different judges they are all going to have their own opinion that might not be in your favor that year. Thats why they say, "different judge, different day, different winner." All you can do is be happy with yourself, your preparation, and your presentation. In the end, if it's your time and right for the path of your life and happiness, it will happen. My favorite quote, "The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are." -Joseph Campbell
4. Other than competing in pageants what are your interests and hobbies?
Other than competing in pageants I have many other hobbies that mostly have to do with being outdoors. I love being at the beach and doing anything that has to do with water. Surfing, swimming, snorkeling, boating, fishing, kayaking, and recently I got my diving certification! I also love to bike, play softball, soccer, listen to country music, go to concerts, go line dancing at least once a week and travel as much as possible.
5. If you could represent any country at Miss Universe except the USA, which would you represent?
If I wasn't representing USA, I would want to represent Italy at Miss Universe. My background is French and Italian and when I traveled to Europe 2 summers ago, I fell in love with my motherland. The people, diverse culture, diverse landscape, history, architecture, and of course the food made me feel so special to be semi-Italian. I feel like I could really show my love and be proud of the country I would be representing.