Q: What was your opinion on the Miss USA 2014 pageant being held in Baton Rouge, LA after so many years in Las Vegas?
Alyssa: Las Vegas will always have a special place in my heart because it is where I won Miss USA (I still get goosebumps whenever I walk into Planet Hollywood), but I do enjoy seeing the pageant held in many different parts of the country. It is the Miss USA pageant, after all! Baton Rouge was a fun change for the pageant, although I am sure one thing did not change despite the new location – the heat!
Q: Who were your Miss USA 2014 standouts for swimsuit? Who was your favorite in swimsuit?
Alyssa: One thing was for sure after I watched the swimsuit competition, and that is I must get back to the gym! My personal standouts were North Dakota, Nevada, Iowa, Georgia, Florida, and Louisiana. I think my personal winner in the swimsuit competition was North Dakota.
Q: Who were your Miss USA 2014 standouts for evening gown? Who was your favorite in evening gown
Alyssa: My favorite part of the competition is evening gown! My personal standouts in gown were North Dakota, Iowa, Nevada, Louisiana, and Wisconsin. My favorites in evening gown were Louisiana and Nevada, but my favorite gown was South Carolina’s.
Q: What did you think about the Top 6 for Miss USA 2014? Was there any contestants that you think should've been in the Top 6 that did not make it?
Alyssa: I actually think the top 6 was pretty spot on, and I was actually really happy to see states such as Iowa and North Dakota make it into the top 6, as they had not in such a long time.
Q: What advice would you give to the contestants that did not make the semifinal/final/Top 6 cut?
Alyssa: Not hearing your name called to the next phase of competition is one of the most heartbreaking moments. You begin to feel upset, embarrassed, even angry. But what each contestant should go home remembering is that they were chosen to represent their home state, which is such an incredible honor. Each year, thousands of girls compete for the chance to represent their state at the Miss USA pageant. Each year, only 51 out of those thousands are chosen, and you were one of them. Remember what I said when I passed on my crown – you are more likely to have a son play in the Super Bowl than to have a daughter compete at Miss USA.
Q: What were your thoughts about Nia Sanchez winning Miss USA? Do you think she will be successful at Miss Universe?
Alyssa: When the final two came down to Audra and Nia, I almost couldn’t breathe. I know both of those girls, and both were incredibly deserving of the title. I was away in Monaco at the time of the pageant, and it was 4:30 in the morning during the final question. I had several friends texting me the results as they happened – who made the top 6, who nailed their question and who didn’t, and the announcement of the runner ups. When I got the text message that Nia had won, I was not at all surprised but I was still elated. When I returned home and re-watched the pageant, I had no doubt in my mind that Nia deserved to win the crown. Her final look before crowning made me so emotional. She was relaxed, beautiful, and effortless as a Miss USA should be. I think she is going to have a fantastic year and hopefully be the next Miss USA to at least make top 5 at Miss Universe.
Q: What was your opinion about the entire Miss USA 2014 production? Location, hosts, judges, contestants, entertainment, etc.
Alyssa: I heard the stage this year was hundreds of thousands of LED lights to project the image of 3D – that’s insane! But I thought the backdrops were incredibly beautiful. I was not sold on the evening gown music but I did certainly enjoy seeing Florida Georgia Line having a grand old time up there. I wasn’t sold on the commentary this year for I felt there was much more that could have been talked about each girl or even their state’s history in the pageant rather than hearing the same hobbies and facts over and over again. I’m biased though when it comes to the hosts because Giuliana Rancic hosted the pageant when I won so I love seeing her host it again each year. I also think was a solid group of contestants and one of the most beautiful classes (aside from mine – shout out to my 2011 class!) ever.
Q: As a contestant who moved from New Jersey to California, eventually winning Miss California USA and Miss USA, what are your thoughts on Miss USA 2014 - Nia Sanchez's residency situation?
Alyssa: People move all the time. I have moved from New Jersey to New York City back to New Jersey back to New York City then to San Francisco then to Los Angeles, then back to New York City and then back to Los Angeles again. I am glad there are residency requirements that still give young women the chance to compete for the crown even if they end up relocating, especially if they are going to school in another state. If girls were not allowed to compete in the state they were not born in, well there would be a very small number of contestants each year. Since I know Nia personally, I know that she has family all over the west coast, just like I have family living all over the USA. Nia saw an opportunity for work in Nevada and took it, just like I did with California. If the Miss Universe Organization has signed off on a contestant’s eligibility prior to winning her state, then there should be no question about her residency situation. I know from experience, since when I applied to compete at the Miss California USA 2011 pageant, the Miss Universe Organization was thorough and had to make sure I did indeed meet the requirements to be eligible to compete that year. If I had not meet the requirements, I would have been told I would have to wait until the 2012 pageant. Such is the case with Nia – she was just shy of the six months requirement for 2013, so she was told she would have to wait to compete in 2014. There’s no “controversy” here.
Q: A former Miss USA recently commented that pageant directors and organizers should be to blamed for contestants that "state hopped". Do you agree with those comments?
Alyssa: I cannot speak for other states, but I have to wholeheartedly disagree with that former’s statements when it comes to my experience competing in two different states and volunteering for another. Directors should not be blamed for state hoppers, as it’s the girls themselves who decided to relocate. I have personally never seen a director force a girl to move to another state to compete for them. I have, however, seen contestants choose to move elsewhere if they felt they could get something better out of what they wanted somewhere else, whether it be the pageant itself, school, or a career move. When it comes to my own experience, I was encouraged to move west because I was told I would have greater modeling opportunities in the market out there. At the time I was modeling in New York City and barely booking anything. After weighing the pros and cons (and after saying “no” many, many times), I decided to take the risk and try working and living in California. To my surprise, I ended up working a ton and felt I made the best move for my career. Do you know how many other girls do this as well?
Have a question for Alyssa? Whether you're seeking pageant tips or advice, curious about her experience as Miss USA, or just want to talk pageants, click here to "Ask Alyssa".
This article was written by Will the Pageant Guy
I'm the Guy at thePageantGuy.com