Reign as Miss Delaware a career-shaping experience

I’ve been asked countless times over the past five years why on earth I would choose to walk around on national television in a swimsuit and high heels while several celebrities are writing down a number to attribute to said presentation.

kayla martell mug

Kayla Martell

It takes a few moments to work past the misconceptions of all things associated with pageantry but I am certain that any former Miss America contender would agree, it is a worthwhile task.

Becoming Miss Delaware was a dream come true; I felt like my name had just been called for my “dream job.”
Hailing from a state where no woman from Delaware has yet to be named Miss America, brought an even stronger sense of empowerment. It was an honor to be selected to represent my home state that supported me before, during and even in the five years after my journey to Miss America.  Much like this year, the Miss America Organization hosted a voting opportunity for everyone across the country to vote for their favorite Miss America contender.

And, even though I come from the second smallest state in the country, we must be the most supportive and willing to stand behind our own because, believe it or not, I (Delaware) was voted as the People’s Choice for the job! That same night I made the top 10 and was able to perform my talent, and compete in swimsuit and evening gown competitions live on ABC.

And while I did not become Miss America, I left feeling full to the brim from love and support from our incredible state.

Five years have passed and I look back on that experience as one the greatest I have ever lived.  Since I passed the crown on, I have traveled the world speaking professionally representing the cause that I served as my platform during my reign as Miss Delaware. I have met thousands of people from Tanzania and Kenya to the tiniest of American towns hoping to spread a message of faith and positivity.

While my job as Miss Delaware may have ended, I have shaped my own career by using the greatest parts to continue the work I was so proud to perform that year. The opportunity to serve my state as Miss Delaware and compete for the job of Miss America helped jump-start the career I am living and loving every day. It opened doors that never would have existed and created relationships in my life that have helped me through the hardest times and cheered me through the best.

I look forward to seeing our current Miss Delaware, Brooke Mitchell, compete for Miss America on Sunday, Sept. 13 at 9 p.m. on ABC!

Editor’s Note: Kayla Martell of Milford served as Miss Delaware 2010.

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