Thursday, August 30th – “I woke up to Allison (my roommate, Miss District of Columbia) getting ready for Boardwalk Hall fittings. I stayed in bed for a bit, fully soaking up our ‘down’ days before the chaos of early morning rehearsals kick in,” I wrote in my Miss America 2019 journal for the day. I got up and ordered room service that morning, watching the news as I got ready for close-up filming for production purposes.
When I arrived at Boardwalk Hall, a gentleman by the name of Eddie took me to the opposite side of stage from our dressing rooms and upstairs practice hall. He escorted me into a vast, empty make-up room with stage mirrors and lights adorning the walls. It was in that room that I sat and waited to record for production. “They confirmed my talent music and had me share fun, interesting factoids about myself. I talked about my platform, explained #BossOfMyFuture and encouraging people to hone their soft skills and channel their time and talents into embracing their goals — both personally and professionally!”
When I walked into the filming room, the first thing I noticed was the rich sapphire blue, sparkly background that caught the reflection of the lights oh so perfectly. I sat down and they placed a microphone on me as we began talking through various questions and introductions needed for the live telecast; especially if I were to make the Top 15. When I was finished recording, I had a period of time to go back to my hotel and get ready for the Miss America Arrival Ceremony which was taking place that evening along with dinner and
a tour of the new Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. “I curled my hair and put on my black jumpsuit that my bestie, Tori had given me when she was in Rapids for my send-off party. Note, with $20 black and gold medallion heels I’ve had for years, a jumpsuit that was given to me for free, and cheetah crystal earrings from TJ Maxx, I made my way to the jitney feeling like 1,000 bucks — eager and honored to make my mark on history.”
When we got to Boardwalk Hall we were kept in a holding room before walking outside as a group to make our way to the stage. As the doors opened to the boardwalk, cheering and clapping commenced and I couldn’t help but get a little emotional. For years, I crept on photos of other women taking this exact same walk, signing their name on the ‘Miss America map,’ having their opportunity to vie for the job of Miss America and now, it was my turn. If you have not traveled to Atlantic City, New Jersey, along the exterior of the building tower reads the words, “Festivities, Music, Pageantry, Drama, and Athletics.” The structure was built in 1926, seating roughly 10,500 people for hockey games and 14,770 max capacity for concerts and other large scale events. Aside from all of the concerts, sporting engagements, and rallies it hosts, Boardwalk Hall is and always has been the home for the Miss America competition.
Fun fact – Boardwalk Hall also contains the world’s largest musical instrument. Backstage, a pipe organ with more than 33,000 pipes, eight chambers, and the world’s largest of seven manuals and over 1000 stop keys sits behind the stage curtains. In fact, “The Guinness Book of World Records states the following “… a pure trumpet note of ear-splitting volume, … six times louder than the loudest train whistle.”‘ Each evening before competition the organ sung out various iconic tunes including Bert Park’s one and only, “There She Is, Miss America,” tune that was sung during the crowning of Miss America for decades.
Back to the arrival ceremony…
We filed onto the back ramp of the stage and one-by-one made our way to the microphone in alphabetical order to introduce ourselves and state our educational background. “With utmost pride and excitement radiating from every inch of my body, I waved and turned to the left to walk toward the Miss America map, grabbing a Sharpie to sign my name over the state of Wisconsin.”
Following the arrival ceremony we were driven down the boardwalk to the brand new Hard Rock Hotel and Casino where we took photos with staff members and some pretty gnarly guitars before going on a tour of the spa facility which was set to open the following day. The workout area upstairs had treadmills overlooking the ocean and despite the fact that there were snacks set out for us to enjoy (don’t worry, I was 100 percent indulging), I wanted to throw on my running shoes and jump on the machines; quite a beautiful view! A special thank you to BABOR Cosmetics for the incredible goodie bags they provided every one of us candidates following the spa tour. I went to sleep that night feeling overjoyed and grateful, eager to begin rehearsals the next morning.
Book Miss Wisconsin 2018, Tianna Vanderhei to speak, perform, take photos, or sign autographs at your next event! Submit a request at www.misswisconsin.com/miss-wisconsin-appearances/ or contact firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire.