I woke up on the morning of January 19th, 2020, the day of the final competition. Within 14 hours, both Miss New York USA 2020 and Miss New York Teen USA 2020 would be crowned.
Before going downstairs for breakfast, I needed to make sure that everything was packed, since I would not be going back to the hotel room. I brought one large suitcase and a duffle bag. I strive to be a “light” packer, so I kept everything that I would need for the competition in the duffle bag.
My roommate and I double and triple-checked our room before we went downstairs for breakfast. We were one of the first Miss Contestants to arrive downstairs. Since the Teen final competition was first, the Teens were already eating, and their breakfast concluded shortly after I started eating. I ate roughly the same breakfast as the day before: scrambled eggs, juice, and an assortment of pastries that I should not have eaten. As the Miss contestants wrapped up breakfast, we turned in our hotel keys to the chaperones.
We exited the ballroom and moved towards the carpeted foyer near the ballroom then inched towards the doors of the hotel to board the buses. We arrived at The Performing Arts Center at Purchase College and left any belongings that we would not need for the competition in front of the seats of the theater in which hair and makeup took place. Contestants then made their way to their dressing rooms to leave belongings for the competition.
Similar to the day before, there was a meeting with the producer. Aspects of production were different today, due to only the finalists competing. We were informed of what to expect when the top finalists were announced, such as where they would stand on stage and the elimination process. Many contestants had questions, which the producer said not to worry about. I can understand why, because with so many contestants, about 170 Miss and about 100 Teen, and only 20 placing in each division, it would take a long time to answer questions that applied to very few contestants. The point that was emphasized was to keep your eye on the choreographer in the front row. Even if someone did not attend a rehearsal, watching the choreographer would provide the contestant with all of the information she needs.
The next new part of the show, which applied to all contestants was color blocking. Color blocking is groups of contestants wearing the same evening gown color while walking the stage together. At this part of the rehearsal, a pageant staff member called out different colors. The contestants wearing the corresponding color would meet a staff member backstage for instructions as we prepared for this part of the rehearsal. Some colors would make their entrance on stage together, so in some cases, two colors were announced. When they called for blue and purple, I walked to the stage. We rehearsed the color blocking, contestant introductions, and opening dance number. Moving from the stage to the side of the stage, reality hit for what would be happening today when I saw this.
It was then time for lunch, which was baked chicken, salad, and cooked veggies. This meal was a bit of a blur, because at this point, I was pretty worn down from the busy weekend, but I loved having hair and makeup to look forward to!
I checked the time as my hair and makeup appointment approached. By time it was my appointment, the Teen competition had already started. I worked with the same hair stylist and makeup artist as for the preliminary competition. My hair was styled the same and my makeup was slightly different. As I stepped away for my eyelashes, I was given a time to return to remove the curlers and touch up my makeup. Once again, it felt weird when the false lashes were first applied, but like the day prior, I adjusted.
Once my lashes were on, I had nothing to do but sit in my dressing room. There was no organized rehearsal, since most staff members were in the Teen competition. I spent time with my dressing roommates and other contestants in neighboring dressing rooms. As the time for my makeup touch up appointment approached, I went to the theater, where they were stationed. It was really crowded and got a bit delayed. Contestants were currently being touched up while others just sat on the stage and waited. Time was ticking away and no one was being taken. Now, I felt rushed, especially since some contestants arrived at their touch up appointments wearing their black cocktail dresses. An announcement was made that everyone would be taken care of before the competition and not to worry. Since I was given this reassurance, I went to my dressing room and changed into my cocktail dress. I kept my sneakers on, so I could easily walk to and from hair and makeup. Once I got back to hair and makeup, I hadn’t missed anything.
There was a TV on the stage where hair and makeup took place, which showed the Teen competition. Many of us gathered around to watch the crowning then went right back to our hair and makeup stations or back to waiting.
Due to the timing, and the competition quickly approaching, available CIA Agency staff members went to the waiting contestants, including myself, and started to unclip our curls. We had our hands out with our palms up in front of us, as they quickly removed the clips and placed them in our hands.
After my hair stylist and makeup artist finished with their current contestant, it was time for me. With my hair already down, she did some quick touchups. As for makeup, a little more of everything – lipstick, blush, and mascara were applied. Once I was ready for the stage, my hair stylist took pictures of me in front of the step and repeat backdrop.
I went back to my dressing room and put on my heels for the opening number. It was almost time to find out who would be competing at Miss USA.