Sunday, October 17, 2010

Miss NC International at Nationals 2010!

Hello everyone!

Happy fall!! I know it has been such a long time since I blogged, but it has been a whirlwind few months. I will update you all on my appearances and events from the past couple months, but first I wanted to give you all a recap of one of the most wonderful experiences of my life, Nationals 2010!!

It was such an honor to represent North Carolina in Chicago at the Miss International Pageant. Mary and Mel Richardson truly produce such a well organized, well staffed, well run pageant. They truly have the well being of their contestants at heart. The Carolina International Dream Team did not disappoint! I am so proud of how we all presented ourselves, and we received wonderful compliments from all of the staff and other state directors on how poised, beautiful, well-versed and strong in our faith we all were!

Day 1- After my entire family helped my mother and I load our 5 suitcases and 1 trunk (full of shoes of course!) in the car (only 1 was overweight), we were headed to RDU to take off for O'Hare in Chicago, Illinois! Mom served as my chaperone for the whole week! When we arrived in Chicago we were greeted at our host hotel, The Doubletree Hotel, by Starr (Miss Teen SC), Megan (Miss Teen NC) and our fabulous director, Joy! Later, we were able to great the fabulosu Miss SC Leslie. Joy was truly marvelous and she did my hair (except for 1 infamous moment... we won't go there lol!) and make up for the entire week! After we were settled and after a brief emergency trip to Nordstrom's, I ended Day 1 with orientation where I met all of the contestants and our Nationals director. We listened to inspirational stories from two young women respresenting Go Red for Women with the American Heart Association, found out what groups we would compete in (Group B, Contestant #11), and received our schedules for the week. It was a beautiful start to a magical week!

Day 2- On day 2, we started our day off with amazing appearances and events! First, we went on a Rockin' Speed boat ride! We had fabulous music, and we rode the waves like pros. After the speedboat ride, we visited an art museum where something truly humbling happened. While I was at the art museum, a woman excitedly came up to me and said "You're Miss North Carolina! I'm from North Carolina, and it such an honor to meet you!" Talk about being totally taken aback! We preceeded to discuss different aspects of North Carolina, why she was visiting Chicago, and talked for such a long time we felt like we were old friends. It truly pinpointed why I was there, not only to represent myself but to represent the entire state of North Carolina. God had a plan far greater than I ever knew was possible! After that amazing experience, we were blessed to visit the Boys and Girls Club where I made many boyfriends! It was so much fun eating lunch with the kids, learning about their hopes and dreams, and playing all sort of hilarious games with them. We ended the trip with signing autographs for all of the kids, and really understanding our purpose for competing in Chicago... serving our communities! After all of our activities, we ended the evening with a formal dinner with inspirational speaker Eddie Peterson, whose motto "You Don't Know My Life" resonated througout the rest of the week! Eddie spoke about the story of Esther in The Bible, and it was incredibly touching for me because before every pageant I have ever competed in, I always read and re-read the story of Esther. She was an amazing woman who followed God's purpose for her life without looking back. It was a perfect end to a perfect day!

Day 3 (The pictures below are a culmination of Day 3 through the end of the experience)- This day was our final appearance day and the start of rehearsals. We visited the Skokie Library which is either as big or bigger than my University's Library. It provided access to computers, internet, educational classes and all around amazing opportunities for the community. It was such an informative and wonderful tour that ended with us playing with one of the baby classes and reading books to some of the younger kids. After our Library tour, we grabbed our lunch (meals were always ready and waiting for us) and went to rehearsals. The International Pageant production team are amazing, professional and incredibly multi-talented. Rehearsal was so efficient and so much fun! It also gave each of us a chance to get to know each other and really bond over funny anecdotes (Hey Girl Hey!), common pageant competitions, and just common bonds in general. I can honestly say that every single Miss International contestant got along so very well, and we will always be life long friends! We ended the night with a semi-formal dinner and great fun!

Day 4- Teen Prelims night and interviews! We started off the day with interviews, and I have to say I put everything out on the table for interviews. The fabulous Joy truly prepared me for interviews. I was more than ready for this moment, and I loved interacting with all of the judges. God placed a plan in my heart, and I just shared His plans for me to the judges. They were incredibly receptive! Afterwards, I was excited to meet up with the infamous Tim Kretschman from Pageantcast and interview with him! Love him, and it was so fabulous to see him again! He was such a great support and encouraged me througout the rest of the week! Afterwards, we had rehearsals which were mainly focused on the Teens, since this was their big night, then we picked up dinner and headed to Teen Prelminary night! Both Megan and Starr were AMAZING!! I was so proud to be their sisters! Megan captured the Teen Miss Congeniality award (not suprising at all!!). So proud of my girls!

Day 5- Rehearsals, Miss Prelims and IHOP!! After a day full of rehearsals, the Miss competition took place where we competed in fitness wear, fun fashion wear and evening gown! I felt so at peace and ease and like I was truly representing my state and God in the best way I possibly could. However, the highlight of my night was definitely getting to see my dad and boyfriend, Jim who drove the 14 hours from NC to see me compete and take mom and I out to IHOP afterwards!! What's a pageant competition without some pancakes?! It was such an unbelievable night!

Day 6/Finals Night- This was it, the big night! After another day full of rehearsals we prepared for finals night! As we all held our breaths waiting on stage for the announcement of the top 10, I knew it was all in God's hands. I took a deep breath and just smiled knowing that God was in control and He had plans bigger than I could ever imagine. As I listened to the teens top ten announcement I was overjoyed to hear Miss Teen SC Starr's name announced! I was initially sad not to hear Megan's name announced, but God's plans for Megan are far beyond what we could ever imagine. He used Megan to shine a perfect light of his love and compassion for others, and she left that night with 70 new friends! Well, the teens were done now it was the Miss' turn. 3 contestants down, and the 4th contestant announced into the top 10 was yours truly!! So exciting! We did not have time to relax and celebrate because we were off to get ready for on-stage interview. After on-stage interview, we competed again in fun fashion wear, fitness and evening gown. During intermission and right before evening gown competition all of the contestants came back stage, and they were so amazing! They were so helpful and made all of us in the top 10 feel so amazing. After our final competition and we were all on stage, I was so proud to be called as 4th runner up!

 God blessed me in ways far beyond what I could have ever dreamed. While I was so proud of my accomplishments at the Miss International Pageant, I know that the true accomplishment was being the light that God wanted me to be. His plans were far greater than mine, and I was so blessed to be part of such a magical experience!

Thank you for reading my blog!

All my blessings,

Kristie Tobias
Miss North Carolina International

"For you have been brought to this royal position for such a time as this." Esther 4:14