Journey to the Crown – Devin Grissom (Final Week)

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So this week is officially October and all I can say is where has the time gone?! I feel like it was JUST New Years Eve and I was ringing in the new year in California. Now it's fall and I have had the most incredible 2014. Between moving to Nashville, having the most amazing experience attending Miss USA, and getting to travel to four new countries, one could say that 2014 couldn't get much better. And I would have to agree except for one thing, of course. Going to Miss USA...but this time as a contestant! Every girl who enters a pageant wants to win. Why else would you enter? This year there are 36 girls who want to be Miss Tennessee USA 2015 and have worked ridiculously hard to be their personal best this weekend. I am one of those 36 and I feel absolutely amazing.

However, I have gotten to a point where I have grown so much merely through the preparation for one night that no matter what happens, I will be proud of myself for the strides I made towards my goal. There is truly something incredible about working hard and knowing you have done everything you could possible do to be your best. If you remember from my early posts, the worst thing about last year was knowing that I didn't commit myself fully and do everything that I could to prepare. I feel the complete opposite this year! And no matter who is honored with the title of Miss Tennessee USA on Saturday, I will truly be at peace with myself and the work that I put in this time around. That's a good feeling, folks!

What the week ahead looks like:

Miss Tennessee USA 2015 pageant headshot

For the next two days I will be taking care of the "finishing touches" for the pageant. Last chance workouts, nails, spray tan, packing, the works! (Throwing a Skrillex concert in the mix on Tuesday night just for good measure.)

Then comes pageant time, I have to be in Clarksville, TN for registration bright and early on Thursday. We will be rehearsing pretty much all day Thursday-Saturday and that includes dancing around in heels like fools which is nice since we won't technically have time to workout. Thanks, Kent!

Besides rehearsals, the key points of the weekend start on Friday afternoon. Swimsuit preview-- Yep, the first time the judges will see us is in our skivvies. Nice to meet you, ladies and gentlemen!

After swimsuit preview, all of the contestants will get ready for prelims! All 36 ladies will compete in swimsuit and evening gown. Prelims are fun because there is pretty much no pressure-- you don't have to be nervous about any potential cuts!

FYI- I AM OBSESSED WITH MY EVENING GOWN. It's the most glorious article of clothing that I have ever owned and I don't think I've ever loved anything more. Well except for my Harry Potter snuggie, for obvious reasons.

At last year's Miss Tennessee USA pageantThe real nerves kick in on Saturday. Up until this point, the judges have yet to hear us speak. Interviews allow them a chance to get to know all of the girls. Honestly, this is my favorite part! Kim Greenwood always selects extremely distinguished judges for Miss Tennessee USA so it's an amazing experience getting to talk to such cool people. Last year I fan-girled out on Herschel Walker AND got him to admit that he was some-what of a Bama fan (SCORE!) In my opinion, the pageant is 75% won in interview. Anyone can look great in a swimsuit and evening gown -- but it takes a special lady to have beauty and brains.

The grand finale is on Saturday night-- EEEEK!

The show starts with our snazzy opening number to a popular song that all of the contestants will end up hating by the end of the week (I've heard that the Teens get to dance to Taylor Swift-- NO FAIR!) After intros, the Top 15 will be announced. Waiting for this announcement may be one of the absolute worst feelings in the world.

Think the tower of terror drop + wanting to puke + fake smiles all around... yep, torture. This torturous feeling is mitigated by the best feeling in the world of having your name called! Unfortunately there are only 15 and I have been on both ends of the spectrum. Here is hoping for a good result on Saturday!

Last year's Top 5 Onstage QuestionThe Top 15 will then compete in swimsuit and evening gown again to determine the Top 5 ladies. Being called into the Top 5 is such a great feeling-- You are like "Oh my gosh, YES!" then that quickly fades into "Oh my gosh, On-Stage Question!" Last year I was asked about Miley Cyrus twerking haha!

Of course, crowning comes next and one girl's life will be changed forever! Only one girl can win, but the experience is one that none of us lucky competitors will forget.

Keep up with my Miss Tennessee USA 2015 shenanigans this weekend on Instagram and Twitter: @devin_grissom

And of course, thanks SO MUCH for sharing this journey with me! I am excited and hopeful for the week ahead : )

Devin G.

This article was written by Devin Grissom

Devin Grissom got her start in pageants as Miss Tennessee’s Outstanding Teen 2007. Devin then competed at Miss Tennessee Teen USA 2009 placing 2nd runner up to eventual Miss Teen USA 2009, Stormi Henley. Recently, Devin placed 1st runner up at Miss Alabama USA 2013 and 3rd runner up at Miss Tennessee USA 2014. Devin is a graduate of the University of Alabama and currently resides and works in Northern California as a marketing specialist.