Saturday, December 28, 2013

Cassidy Wolf, Miss Teen USA

--Wendy Lindberg, America's SUPER Queen

 Stephanie McGrane took a moment to interview Cassidy Wolf, Miss Teen USA.

 The Crowning Moment

Stephanie asked Cassidy about her crowning moment and what it felt like to become Miss Teen USA. "First of all, I couldn't breathe. ... My first thought when they called my name was, 'okay, take a deep breath, take a deep breath,' and I couldn't and all I could think in my head was, 'oh my gosh, oh my gosh, it's me!' ... it was a whole whirlwind of crazy emotions." Cassidy shared with excitement and smiles, "All I wanted to do was hug my family because they were just so amazing the whole time I was up there."

Cassidy credits a lot of her successes to her support team who helped her feel confident going into the Miss Teen USA competition. "Without them, I wouldn't be where I am today."

A Nightmare Extortion Case

Unknowingly, Cassidy found herself in a scary case of cyber hacking and extortion when an anonymous email arrived to her asking her to send inappropriate photographs to the emailer, or he would release photographs of her undressing in her bedroom: something she did not know he had done.  The investigation revealed that Jared James Abraham, a former high school classmate, had hacked the webcam built into her laptop and had been turning it on remotely to watch her and over a dozen other women.

I found this news article and interview with NBC exploring the case a bit more.

"One of my biggest tips is to change passwords every couple of months and always keep track (of your password) on a piece of paper, not on your phone. ... Change them (passwords) as often as possible. ... When you are not Skyping somebody that you are friends with, cover your webcam. If I would have known that, I probably wouldn't have had what happened to me happen." Cassidy shared, "It happened to me and it could really happen to anybody."

A Year as Miss Teen USA

"I've been focusing a lot on school." Cassidy told Stephanie. "I got to do New York Fashion Week, which was absolutely amazing. I did Project Sunshine visits and I look forward to doing those in the future. ... When you go to a Project Sunshine visit, it touches the kids, but I feel like it touches us even more. ... When you leave a Project Sunshine visit it makes you feel so good. That has definitely been my favorite part."

When asked about her highlights and challenges, Cassidy told Stephanie that the company and the time balances have been some of her highlights and challenges. "Getting to work with Miss USA and Miss Universe (has been great). They are so sweet and I love working with them. Getting to meet new people everyday (is a highlight). This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am so blessed to have this opportunity." Cassidy said. Speaking on her challenges, Cassidy also shared the challenges of balancing school and the Miss Teen USA title. "I am a full time student and I go to school five days a week. When I am not in school, I am Miss Teen USA. .. but I am learning a lot about myself, so I am loving it."

The final recipient of Chinese Laundry Tippy Top Shoes (an official sponsor of the Miss USA and Miss Universe Pageant) is also announced in this episode, so you want to be sure to watch all the way through to see who it is!

To see more on the Cassidy Wolf interview, you can view it below. 

Be sure you follow PageantLIVE and Ask the Crown on Youtube so you never miss an episode!


Friday, December 27, 2013

Erin Brady-- Miss USA 2013

-- Wendy Lindberg, America's SUPER Queen 2013-14

Stephanie McGrane met online with Erin Brady earlier this week to talk about being Miss USA.

Time at Miss Universe

Erin talked a bit about her experiences at the Miss Universe Pageant finals. "Honestly, it's a very mental process because you are there for such a long period of time and it's exhausting." Erin shared, "you need to go there and enjoy your experience, which is exactly what I did...I just loved every moment of it. You are only onstage and on camera for a very short period of time so you have to make sure you that you absolutely live it up because you never get a second chance to go back."

National Costume

When working on finding her national costume for the competition, Erin thought steering away from the "traditional" costume was part of what she wanted to do. "I had done my research and looked at years previous... I am a bit out of the box and an abstract thinker so I said, 'You know something, why don't we do something very modern, very over the top, like a transformer?' And I loved it because I obviously was about eight feet tall so you had this essence of this beautiful, strong, empowered woman which is really what I feel this whole position is about, being Miss USA."  Erin shared." I got good feedback and bad feedback, but any feedback is good feedback in my eyes."

And how tall were those boots she wore? "They were sixteen inches. So they gave me a good foot and then some."

The Evening Gown 

Erin was able to work with Sherri Hill to find the perfect gown for her competition at Miss USA. "Red is my color. I love red. So I knew that I wanted to go with a red gown. ... I put this gown on in black first and I said, 'can you make this gown in red?' and she said, 'absolutely'. The liquid beading is something that when you are on stage and the lights hit it, it makes you look so elongated and it really just fits my body. ... I  just fell in love with it. I think picking the gown is one of those things that you just put it on and know that this is what you want to compete in."

Photo Sessions With Fadil Berisha

Erin had the pleasure of working with Fadil Berisha for the "Ice Princess" contestant photo session.  "He is so good." Erin said, "Every year (he) comes in with this amazing concept, so he wanted to embrace Russia and his concept of what he thought would be a great really, really unique photo shoot. So he said, 'why not ice princess?'. ...They had two mirrors that were kind of fogged with the blue lighting and the make-up was different shades of blues and silvers to make it look really icy." 

"It is great to see somebody work with him for the first time and to see how they embrace his creativity." Erin recalled. 

Preparing for Miss Universe

Stephanie asked Erin what some of the preparations she took to get ready for Miss Universe. "A lot of it is mental. ... Really just making sure you can keep in the best fit shape that you can."

The Top 5

What did Erin think of the top five at Miss Universe? "Honestly, I was so excited. All of the girls that made it into the top 5, I had the opportunity to speak with personally. Obviously with so many girls, it gets a bit tricky especially with the language barrier. I thought that they were all deserving and had a great performance. You never know, when you get into the top five, before the questions are asked, it could go either way. I would have been happy with anybody. It's a unique situation for me because the winner gets to move to New York City and be my roommate, so of course, I am sitting there going, 'oh please be nice.' ... And Miss Venezuela (the new Miss Universe) is fantastic and extremely smart."

Tippy Tops and Chinese Laundry

Erin wore a pair under her evening gown. As an official sponsor of the Miss USA and Miss Universe Pageants.  Ask the Crown was able to team up with Chinese Laundry to give away three pairs to our viewers. To find out who the winners are, you need to WATCH the show! ;)

A big thank you to Chinese Laundry for the sponsorship of this prize!

To hear more of the interview and see what else Erin has to share and what she thinks was the secret to becoming Miss USA, you can watch the show here:

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