My reign as Miss Nevada

Pageant Girl Problems

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

Fashion Mob

One of my final appearances was at the Lion Habitat Ranch, my favorite animal sanctuary and Vegas hang.

They were having a Locals Appreciation Day and asked me to come welcome guests. I brought along my Teen Nevada and the Clark County Fire Department and we made a day of it. (Talking to tourists about lions and awing over their adorableness? Hard work, I know.)

Hilary & CCFD WEB

Lion perched WEB

But I digress.

We had originally planned to be inside the “Feast With The Beasts” area (a plexiglass room INSIDE a lion den for special events) signing autographs and taking photos. But because I’m easily excited and annoyingly fidgety, I decided to give free guided tours to guests and roam the property.

Besides, I didn’t want to miss any of the Kodak moments.

Lion Tongue WEB

But this change in plans ignited problems I hadn’t foreseen.

I find it important to note here that I am INCREDIBLY fair skinned. Like, quite possibly the whitest European mutt on the planet. (Seriously, I make EVERYONE look tan. Even my newborn niece… Who just came out of THE WOMB. And on a few occasions I’ve been accused of glowing).

On this particular day I did not practice good sun protection, completely forgetting about my fair epidermis in the cool breeze and partly cloudy skies. But can you blame me? Time flies when you’re pretending to be queen of the pride.

Hilary with kids

So naturally, it wouldn’t be until hours later after I got home that I realized just how burned I was.

I was a deep, lobster red. But that wasn’t the worst part.

I was only burned on one shoulder. The sash had blocked the other one and part of my back, giving me the WEIRDEST burn you’ve ever seen. (Yes, even worse than that time I got burned in Fiji and the Firewalkers healed me). Plus I didn’t have my Fijian family nearby to help me out of this one. And I had more appearances scheduled throughout the week.

THIS, my friends, is what we chicks in the crowns call a ‘Pageant Girl Problem’.

I spent the rest of the week trying to cover my burn with as much make up and self tanner as possible, never quite achieving equilibrium in skin tone. And when seen without makeup, my best friend let out uncontrollable cries of horror.

Let’s just say I had to wear this ‘sash of honor’ through the pageant. It was comical, really. And luckily, a spray tan helped (I call this the Pageant Girl Life Saver). But STILL. In my LAST week?

Miss NV US Pageant 2014 copy

I suppose now and forever I’ll have the story; the one where She-Who-Plays-With-Lions was scarred by her sash and the sun.

Maybe it was the Universe’s way of making the end of my reign a little more permanent. Or a metaphor for the good and the bad it encompassed. Or maybe a way for me to hold on to it as long as I could, even though it stung. Like the Third Eye Blind song.

Hilary & Tatu WEB

“That girl is like a sunburn I would like to save.”

Yeah, maybe it’s like that.


  • Reply


    June 11, 2014

    Ok. I am officially jealous that I missed out on the “Feast with the Beast” at the Lion Habitat Ranch, but I have to say I never expected to see so much done while wearing that sash! You were everywhere and did everything with it. (Well, almost. You didn’t use it for rock climbing – thank goodness.) You were a great ambassador and did the state of Nevada and the Miss USA pageant proud.

    And to solve your sunburn problem; have you looked into an umbrella company for a sponsor?

    • Reply


      June 11, 2014

      Haha! You’ll have to come and check it out sometime! They do catered private parties and events in the FWTB area. Super fun!

      Thank you for all of your kind words. As far as an umbrella sponsor, no. That would have been a smart thing to do. ESPECIALLY if the umbrella somehow could be put as an attachment onto the crown. Maybe it’s invention time! ;)

  • Reply

    Troy S.

    June 28, 2014

    I wish you would have called me. I would have been your driver so you could nap between appearances. :P

    And was that time in Fiji the same time you, uh, flashed one of the chiefs?

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About Me

About Me

Hey fellow adventurers, my name is Hilary! After being rejected from grad school, I took off on a solo journey around the world. Now I constantly challenge myself to take on new experiences. This blog documents my journeys from Europe to Fiji, swimming with sharks and living with tribes, to becoming an accidental beauty queen and working for one of the top national media outlets. If you like what you're reading, please subscribe! Here's to the next great adventure!

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