Monday, January 25, 2010

I thought it was fun working in the office at Robinson & Maites, but as it turns out ... it's the most fun when the employees of R&M get together at a party and cut loose. WOO! Saturday night we all gathered for a Bat Mitzvah celebration for Ellie, the boss's daughter. I have never been to a Bat Mitzvah before and didn't really know what to expect, but I was excited to see how a religious ceremony happens differently from the Catholic services I am used to. Well ... it was an awesome experience and I couldn't be happier that I got to take part in it.

Earlier that day I was getting down on myself. I was starting to feel a little pressure as Miss Illinois USA, wondering if I could match up with the other girls at the Miss USA Pageant, and just questioning if I had what it takes to be a great representative for my state. I know I have it in me, but for a moment I questioned that spark, wondering if anyone saw it other than my friends and family ... and trying to figure out a way to bring that spark to life -- to make it shine for all of Illinois and the country. I wondered, "Ugh. Where do I start?!" And then, as if it was being sent to me in a direct message from some power greater than myself, Ellie inspired me.

Ellie, a 13-year-old girl ... got up in front of nearly 200 people on Saturday, proving to all of us that she had worked hard, studied long, and was ready to be a Bat Mitzvah who would become responsible for her actions and her future. Her bravery radiated as she sang the Hebrew lyrics from the scroll and her courage never failed her. She had learned another language (and quite a difficult one), and sang it loud and clear for the people there supporting her. Some of the guests she knew and some of them she didn't, but she worked hard for that moment and couldn't wait to show it, no matter who was watching. I was so proud of her for accomplishing all of this, for working so hard to learn Hebrew and for getting up there in front of everyone. It made me think, "OK. Ellie is obviously nervous, but she worked so hard and she wants to do this for herself, so she is just going to do it!"

Her courage and her performance reminded me that this is what I want - a chance to shine as Miss Illinois USA at the Miss USA Pageant. I remembered how hard I worked to get to the Miss Illinois USA Pageant and how much harder I worked to achieve the crown. Ellie re-lit my spark in a way, and I feel better than ever ... if she can do it, so can I. :)

And then came the party ...

The guests gathered in the ballroom of the hotel for music, food, friends and fun and boy did we have it all. What a great time dancing and singing along to the music and eating all of the wonderful food! At one point I was on the dance floor breaking out my moves (or lack there of, you know ... whatever), and a little boy from Ellie's school came up to me and said, "Excuse me! Are you reeeaaally Miss Illinois USA?" My reply being a somewhat hesitant, "Yes, I am." He immediately turned around to the crowd of 13-year-old boys standing behind him (that I hadn't noticed up to that point) and exclaimed, "Guys! She is!"

Immediately, about 25 13-year-old boys ran up to me, camera phones in hand taking pictures, pushing me up against the wall to try and get closer to me, and just completely taking over my moment on the dance floor. It was so shocking and crazy that I didn't quite know what to do! Before I knew it, the adults had gotten security to get them off of me, lol, and sent me to another room so they could clear out the boys and get me back to my table safely. It was just hilarious, but awesome. I felt like I had the paparazzi on me with all of those camera phones. I had never gotten such a great reaction from boys before -- particularly 13-year-old boys. I had to have security follow me around for the remainder of the evening as the boys tried to scheme new ways to capture my photograph. I really wouldn't have minded taking pictures with them, but I think the adults were worried that I may be tackled again, haha.

At the end of the party the boys and I did manage to get a group shot of which I'm very much looking forward to seeing. It was really crazy, but definitely something I'll always remember even if I don't ever get to see the picture!

And if you've made it this far in the post, thank you for reading. I have three appearances this week -- Wednesday, Friday and Saturday ... and will be doing a photoshoot on Friday for new pictures for the Miss Illinois USA website and the Miss USA website as well. Check back to hear more later in the week! ... and wish me luck!!



Carly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carly said...

Hey Ashley

Congrats on being Miss IL USA... what a great story, I loved it! Believe in yourself & you will go far... of course you are just as wonderful as the other contestants & I'm sure you're going to do great at Miss USA! Just wanted to let you know I have been reading & enjoying your blog, what a difference technology makes for keeping up with what titleholders have been up to!

~ Carly (

amaites said...

Great post. Thanks for all you did to help-the "program", logo, banner all came out great. Event and party were great fun. Think I have finally recovered.

The Boss

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