How I Landed My Job With USA Today

Sunday, 31 August 2014 by

I remember this time last year VERY vividly.

But it’s hard to believe it’s been a year since I started working for USA Today.

Hilary USA Today bio web

It feels like it’s only been a few months while simultaneously feeling like many years since my assigning editor started following me on Twitter.

I suppose that’s a natural feeling when so much has happened. I can say with certainty there’s never been a dull moment.

It happens at least once a day. The question’s asked in a harmless manner but hits my ears like nails on a chalkboard. I am unable to embrace it, even though it always always always arrives.

“So, now that that’s over, what’s next for you, Hilary?”

While all my energy goes to keeping a pleasant look on my face, my train of thought typically goes something like this: a;lkfjd;bnad;ofjndas;bkmvda;fjdaso;fij SERIOUSLY?!

When The Reign Ends

Monday, 23 June 2014 by

As all good and uncertain things do, my reign as Miss Nevada United States finally came to an end. Turns out they only give it to you for a year, regardless of how impressive you were as queen. Also, you cannot be voted in for a second term. I should know. I tried lobbying.

Final Walk copy

I’ve spent the past month hiding under a rock, ingesting every carb in my path and doing my hair and makeup as little as possible. In fact, if something involves putting on a dress, it’s at high-risk of getting cut from the to-do list.

Pageant Girl Problems

Tuesday, 10 June 2014 by

In my last week as the reigning Miss Nevada United States, I busted my butt to do as MANY appearances as I could. My logic went as follows: If my sash wasn’t RATTY and DISGUSTINGLY FILTHY with makeup, self tanner, sweat, and unrecognizable stains by the time I passed on the crown, I hadn’t done it right.

So I slept very little and I drove myself all over town, determined to make my final hours count.

Also, I was feeling sentimental about no longer being the ‘reigning’ queen, so I was kind of hoping I’d make myself sick of wearing it. (No such luck. But as Kurt Vonnegut would say, so it goes).

Hilary on Extra

When Broken Dreams Are A Good Thing

Friday, 25 April 2014 by

It occurred to me today that it’s been a year since I started my shortlister social media campaign for Tourism Australia’s Best Jobs in the World Contest.

Park Ranger Shortlist copy

A year ago today I was named one of the top 25 out of 600,000 people for the Park Ranger position and now had to earn my spot in the final three. (Read about my 2013 Best Jobs contest here).

All I could dream about was going to Australia, becoming an Aussie expert, and hoping that I could manifest my goals into reality. More than ANYTHING I wanted to be their Park Ranger. (Plus, getting paid the $100,000 for a six month working-holiday visa didn’t sound too shabby).

It wouldn’t be until the middle of May 2013 that this dream would come crashing down around me. But I digress.

Ever wondered what runs through the mind of a fashion model while she’s walking down a 72 ft. long runway? Me too. I mean, they always look angry and hungry. ARE they angry and hungry? Are they thinking about food? Do they feel pretty? Are they worried about the tempo of the music? Are they worried about falling? Really, the number of questions I have on the subject are endless.

Luckily, I recently had the privilege of walking for a few different lines for LA Fashion Week, unveiling the fall collections of some talented designers (including my sponsor, Tatyana Designs).

LA_Fashion_Week_2013

I took the opportunity during to do a little observational research, monitoring my own thought process as a means for FINALLY answering my burning questions. (Besides, “How many licks does it take to get to the center of the Tootsie Roll Pop,” I can’t think of anything else that vexes me more). I tried my best to maintain awareness and log away my thoughts. Here’s what I recall…

When Dustin Lynch Calls…

Thursday, 27 March 2014 by

I sat with my coffee cup suction cupped to my lips, barely registering the time on my phone at 8 AM.

In case you didn’t know, there’s one of those in the morning, too.

I’d been up for an hour prepping for phone interviews for a USA Today piece. I still wasn’t quite awake but I never fully got to sleep the night before. So it just felt like I was living in a constant fog. I kept having nightmares that my voice recorder erased my phone interview with country’s hottest new male artist, Dustin Lynch.

Photo courtesy of Stoney Creek Records

When I first jolted awake from the dream, I couldn’t decipher if it had actually happened, was a warning, or just anxiety. But it had kept me from returning to REM sleep since about 5.

I KNOW. There’s one of THOSE in the morning, TOO. Shocking.

My America’s Got Talent Audition

Thursday, 20 March 2014 by

I pulled up to the gymnasium, wired on coffee and nerves. I looked at the clock: 9:30 AM. I’d officially been up for more than 24 hours.

I sighed and rested my forehead against the steering wheel. In just thirty minutes, this would all be over. In thirty minutes, I would continue on with my life as if I’d never accidentally agreed to audition for a national reality show I wasn’t prepared to audition for.

AGTSeason5

Hah— how’s THAT for a sentence I never thought I’d verbalize.

It started off innocently enough.

A friend of mine, who ran a dance troupe in California, texted me about my availability for a gig the following day.

The text read, “One of my follows had an emergency and had to pull out. Need you for a showcase in Vegas. Are you available?”

While I was busy prepping for LA Fashion Week, I was never opposed to a dance gig. It was a quick way to make extra money and I hadn’t been dancing in awhile. Plus I never got to dance with my LA peeps. So I looked at my calendar and after some quick rearranging, decided it was doable.

“What’s it for? Let’s lindyhop!” I texted back.

Hilary Dancing Lindyhop

Let Them Get The Best of You

Friday, 28 February 2014 by

I’m learning the more ‘together’ people think you are, (surprise!) the more they want you to help them. Even though I don’t feel very together, I don’t mind. I’m a big fan of offering support, advice, or bear hugs when needed (especially if it involves actually hugging bears).

Hilary & Koala

But being open to helping also means people WILL ask for help. And as the weeks progress, I find myself bombarded with e-mails, Facebook messages, texts, and phone calls.

Honestly, sometimes I’m terrified to see what requests await me. I’ll spend a good portion of some days just replying to various calls-to-action.

I try my best to figure out what I can do (if anything) to help the situations at hand. It can be downright exhausting. And sometimes even when I consent, commit, and deliver, appreciation is low.

But I do it anyway. And you should too.

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