This past February I was able to cross a MAJOR goal off my bucket list, ATTEND NEW YORK FASHION WEEK! The hustle and bustle of NYC is always invigorating but this was a whole new level!
What many people don’t know is how big a role God played in making this dream possible! Obviously, it all started with my learning about the Miss USA system and the two years of preparation it took to win Miss Idaho USA. Having a degree in fashion and dreams of becoming the next Stacy London/Jeannie Mai/Giuliana Rancic are part of what drove me to compete! I knew that the journey of a Miss USA titleholder came with exposure to many individuals in the fashion and entertainment industry, which could help launch my career. This opportunity was proof of that!
Getting access to invite 102 ladies (50 states plus DC, Miss & Teen) to any event takes time meaning we usually get these invites about two weeks in advance! That means buying last-minute plane tickets, hotel rooms, and praying there’s nothing on the calendar at the office! I definitely didn’t have the $500+ it would cost for a last minute round trip flight from Idaho to NYC but I’m blessed with an amazing family member that flies every week for his job and he offered to buy my flight with his miles (MIRACLE #1)! Hotel rooms in downtown NYC are expensive as are taxis so I wanted to stay somewhere relatively inexpensive that was close to the shows we would be going to as well as the Miss USA headquarters we would be visiting! I found a good deal on a Holiday Inn in Midtown and was able to find two other Miss USA girls to split the room with me! Hallelujah! Finally, working full-time and being a titleholder is A LOT! My work has been a huge blessing always allowing me to embrace the opportunities as long as I flexed my hours and my clients were taken care of! Unfortunately, the two days I needed off for Fashion Week happened to fall on the one week my boss was scheduled to be out-of-town for a conference! The general rule is one of us has to be in the office to handle any event details or questions that come up. I knew the chances of getting the time off were slim but since they all know my obsession with fashion week (I usually do a recap in our staff meetings even though most of them couldn’t care less and it has nothing to do with the work we do!) they allowed me to take the time off and said they’d hold down the fort while we were out! (Miracle #2!)
When my plane touched down I had two hours to get to my hotel, change clothes and get to the Angel Orensanz Center for the Mac Duggal show. A converted synagogue in the East Village, this venue was an incredible backdrop for Mac Duggal’s designs!! Miss USA contestants were given the opportunity to model in the show however, I was one dress size too small and one inch too short! *sigh* Alas it was a great way to kick off an amazing weekend! Following the show my teen, her mom and I hailed an Uber to take us to dinner but our Uber driver managed to hit a parked car pulling up to the curb… so that was a no go! While our driver got into a yelling match with the owner of the vehicle, we slipped into a nearby diner to rest our aching feet and fill our stomachs!
Remember how I mentioned those last-minute invites? Well at the end of day one we found out we had invites to more shows the following day! Since I hadn’t been able to pack for such an incredible surprise, day two started out at NYC’s Rent The Runway’s Flagship shop looking for more outfit options! Seriously becoming a Rent The Runway Unlimited member was one of my best decisions as a titleholder and one I recommend to all future titleholders!! It was a Project Runway dream getting to watch Christopher Palu (Season 10, All Stars 3) and Mondo Guerra (Season 8) show their collections at fashion week! Christopher Palu’s might have been my favorite because we got to sit FRONT ROW!! Dream come true X2!! Finally, a recap of day 2 would not be complete without the Victoria’s Secret debacle! I am a VS Fashion Show FANATIC so when I was told there was a display at one of the VS stores in Manhattan I knew I had to go!! My teen and her mom were happy to indulge my dream so off we went! We had been told it was at “the VS near Rockefeller Center” … long story short there are five Victoria’s Secrets in Midtown Manhattan… the display in question was at store number 5! It took our entire four hours of free time but it was worth the trip to me to see the incredible artistry and craftsmanship of each design and each set of wings! Photos just do not do them justice!
My one regret from a previous trip to New York City was that I never walked through Central Park so with a few hours to spare on the morning of day 3 I convinced my friends to do breakfast at The Boathouse. You know THE boathouse? The one from 27 Dresses, When Harry Met Sally, Enchanted, THAT boathouse?! I just underestimated the walking distance from the edge of the park to said boathouse especially on a chilly February morning…oops! Good thing we found a nice man with a bike buggy who peddled us there allowing us to enjoy the sights under a warm comfortable blanket! After that adventure it was time to take our right of passage as titleholders and go to the Miss Universe office!! For my non pageant fans this is the office where Miss Universe, Miss USA, and Miss Teen USA work out of during their reign, kind of a big deal when that is your dream job!! We were given a tour, took some fabulous gif’s with the media team, and of course took our photos next to the MUO logo! After lunch with my sisters, it was time to load up the cab and get ready for an evening with Miss Sherri Hill! The Sherri Hill show was held in Gotham Hall, a STUNNING venue just south of Bryant Park! One of my favorite memories was taking a taxi past Bryant Park after a big show had gotten out and watching the swarms of paparazzi capturing the looks of those leaving the venue. It was like watching my Women’s Wear Daily in real life! The show was full of beautiful gowns and a few familiar models (Miss USA and Miss Universe always model in this show) and I was able to meet both after the show! Photos were taken of all the titleholders who made it into the city for this event and then it was time for a late bite to eat and packing for the early flight home!
It was a whirlwind trip but one I will never forget! If you’re looking for a fashion recap on the shows I attended I was lucky enough to get my very first fashion article published following this trip (Dream Come True #2) and you can read that here:
I hope it won’t be my last fashion week in the big apple but if it is I’m just blessed to have crossed another dream off my bucket list!! Keep your dreams and your prayers big friends!