I was given the opportunity by the Chicago Blogger Network and Diamond Nexus to interview Miss USA. Since I don’t keep up on the pageant world, except by watching Toddlers & Tiaras when I visit my mom’s, I had to do some research. Alyssa seemed like an ok person and I was curious to know what she would say about the feminist question.
We meet at the Cheesecake Factory in the Schaumburg Mall. I am not a mall person and almost had a panic attack upon entering this mall over 2 years ago, haha. Food is a powerful motivator for me though and you don’t have to actually enter the mall to go to the Cheesecake Factory.
Alyssa was accompanied by Dena who works for the Miss Universe Organization and Kyle who works for Diamond Nexus, the maker of the crowns. Everyone was very pleasant and personable. It was a great conversation with great food.
Alyssa currently lives in an apartment in Central Park in New York City with Miss Universe. She is hardly ever there because of all the fabulous places she “has” to travel to such as Chicago, Miami, the Bahamas, Los Angeles, Cannes and others. Once her reign as Miss USA is over she wants to attend culinary school and has been doing some work with the Food Network to prepare.
Now for the interview:
- Pageants receive criticism because they are seen as negative to young women because the focus is on appearance. How do you think pageants can be empowering?
Part of my job is to travel around with charity organizations raising awareness about women’s issues. I’m learning skills that I can apply to my future. This work is not just about being a glamazon. I help out organizations such Susan G. Komen For The Cure, Gilda’s Club, God’s Love We Deliver, and Project Sunshine. I would rather put less make up on, wear jeans, and spread cheer.
- Are you a feminist?
We are all human beings, so what if we have different body parts? There are women presidents, not in the U.S. but soon. There are women all over the world in positions of power doing a good job such as the Queen of Denmark and Brazil’s president. In history, there is Margaret Thatcher England’s first female prime minister. We don’t need only a man to do the job. Let women have power.
- Have you had negative experiences that have helped to shape you into a better person?
I was bullied as a kid. I became so upset about going to school I asked my mom to homeschool me. I was bullied because of what I wore. I liked to dress more mature, like my mom, so I was shopping at New York & Co. when I was 12. I took school very seriously and was teased about that. I never went to high school parties, so I wasn’t cool. When I became Miss Teen New Jersey everyone wanted to be my friend, but I knew it wasn’t sincere and remained friends with the three people who always stuck by me. I’m naturally thin and have always been teased about that. Even at Miss Universe people were spreading rumors that I was anorexic. I was stressed and eating a lot, but the weight wasn’t sticking.
We commiserated over how it is socially acceptable to tell someone they are too thin and to eat a burger. However, if you reverse that and tell an overweight person to eat a salad you are vilified. What people need to know is that feelings are hurt in both scenarios. And women shouldn’t be attacking each other’s weights out of insecurities and jealousies.
- What are your best beauty and fashion tips?
For beauty I think the more natural the better. A little moisturizer, mascara, and lipgloss is all you really need. For fashion, I look for comfort and what is trendy. I like to play around with color and have fun.
- Do you enjoy watching movies for style inspiration? Do you admire any old Hollywood actresses for their style or personality?
I love the clothes in Titanic, but there’s no way I could actually wear it. I like corsets because they show off your feminine shape and fix your posture. I adore Grace Kelly. Her wedding gown is my favorite ever. She had class and elegance and looked so regal. She was a queen before she even met the prince. I really liked Katharine Hepburn for her attitude. She was feisty and spunky. She got away with it and was loved for it.
- Any favorite quotes?
My mom always said “You can’t make a difference in the world without knowing what’s going on in it.” She would leave a newspaper on the table in the morning and I would read it while eating breakfast. I still do this everyday and I feel weird if I don’t.
- Any advice on how to stay motivated on the path to fulfilling one’s goals?
You aren’t a loser unless you give up. If you don’t get what you want it’s because something else is on the horizon if you keep going. That’s what happened with me. I placed first runner up in a pageant, but I persisted and won Miss USA.
- How would you describe your fashion style?
Forever 21 and H&M are my stores. I want teens to be able to look at my style and recreate it. I want to be a trendsetter and a little outside of the box, but I want it to be affordable.
- What is your favorite dessert?
In L.A. there is this bakery Nothing Bundt Cake. You can get 18 mini bundt cakes with different flavors and cream cheese frosting. I also love any dessert my mom makes.
- What are your favorite things to do while in Chicago?
Eat deep dish pizza. Go to Garrett’s Popcorn and get the Chicago Mix-caramel and cheddar. The next time I come back I want to explore the artwork and Navy Pier.
I actually didn’t notice that Alyssa had come into the restaurant until someone’s grandma leaned over to me and said “I don’t know how she walks in those heels.” I looked up and was like oh, I think that’s the person I’m interviewing! When I relayed the story to Alyssa she cracked up and promptly took her shoe off to show all of us. What makes it so easy to walk in is the platform on the front. These 5 inchers are by Chinese Laundry.