On Friday, I got my nails done and packed my bags to head off to Yonkers, NY. The first night of competition consisted of horse races where we wear encouraged to wear hats. We signed in, got our sashes, and jumped in the winners circle to take pictures with each winning horse. Then interviews came! I was contestant number 3 after a small mix up. Poor contestant number 2, she was asked all of my questions! So they continued with her and I was then called in as contestant number 3. My interview went great! We talked about my job, my goals, my future, and social media. The time flew by. I left with a weight lifted off of my shoulders- I rocked interview! The 11th contestant finished at 11 pm and at that time they postponed the group interview until Sunday, they knew everyone was too tired on Friday.
Friday night was unique. I slept in my car. From homeless to Harvard. I mean from homeless to Rose of Tralee. I just couldn't justify spending $150 on a hotel for 6 hours when I had my brand new and spacious car with me. I slept in the back seat of my car. It felt like a genius idea until I realized I didn't have access to a bathroom but I went to sleep anyway. There were lights all over the parking lot so it wasn't exactly easy to fall asleep. At 5 am, I got a knock on the door from a security guard telling me that the casino was closed and I could not be parked here. At 5 am, I put in my contacts and drove to the diner across the street to use the bathroom. I know I could have stayed there for 1.5 hours and eaten breakfast but I wanted to get a little more sleep so I found a new parking lot and fell back asleep for an hour. Getting ready for the race was very easy, well except brushing my teeth using a water bottle instead of a sink was challenging.
Saturday consisted of a road race, brunch, and a photo shoot. The Concern 4 miler was the inside loop of Central Park. Although it was a road race, all contestants walked the race together. I was happy to support a local charity that does such great work. Concern works in the areas of emergency response, education, livelihood, health, and HIV/AIDS to help the poorest people meet their basic needs and manage development. After the race, we took lots of photos then headed off to brunch. This was the official brunch of the race so it was packed. The brunch was only eggs, bacon, and white toast. To be honest, those are not my favorite foods but I was hungry and was grateful to be eating anything! The challenge was 11 girls getting ready for the photo shoot in a tiny, two-stall bathroom full of runners. We all took turns and made it work and were all ready when the tour bus swung back around to pick us up. We went to Central Park and to Times Square for photos. We took pictures with some horses in Times Square. We finished at 4 pm with some individual head shots photos then headed back to Yonkers. I was tired to say the least so I rushed home as soon as possible and unpacked my car, ate, showered, and went to sleep early.
Sunday came fast. Excited was an understatement. I realized I did well enough on Friday and Saturday to win if I did well on Sunday so that added a little bit of pressure. I realized that I wanted my hair curly after it being straight for 2 days. I went to my hair salon at 10 am hoping there would be a stylist open and there wasn't. So my mom and I did my hair and I saved $75! Another win for me! And I think my hair came out pretty good! After we arrived in Yonkers, we did a quick rehearsal where I was encouraged to do a four-hand Irish dance with three other contestants. I was anything but thrilled about it. I get stage freight with dance, much more than talking. Speaking of talking, I'll fast-forward to the meat of the show, I had about a 15 minute on-stage interview. The interview was very fun and easy, we were given a quick idea of what the MC would talk to us about before we walked on stage. After the 2013 Rose Katie sang an original song, the Rose Buds danced, and the winner was announced. Sadly, it was not me. But I have no regrets, I think I did my absolute best and I look forward to the day (hopefully in the near future) that I am announced as the NY Rose of Tralee.
"If you're lucky enough to be Irish, then you're luck enough."