I saw La Cage a few months ago, and from that musical the song “I am who I am” stuck with me.
Who am I?
I am the adventurer who spontaneously hops planes to foreign countries, sometimes not knowing the destination when I’ve dashed through a gate and already boarded a plane – it’s happened more than once. You know how they announce on the intercom, if your destination isn’t …. You are on the wrong plane? It does happen to people, my mother included. I am the library nerd, who called a specific cubicle on the 5th floor stacks a second home on some Saturday nights. And now at 24, I’m 6 classes away from my 2nd Masters degree from a tier one university. I am the Broadway fan who would fly to New York City at least once a month before I moved to Manhattan to catch a weekend of 2 or 3 shows. The most recent show I saw was the Addams family last night, and a former MAO contestant and top 5 at Miss Florida made her Broadway debut as Wednesday – just a testament to the quality of women who compete for Miss America.
Now I am a career woman – a consultant for a risk management firm in New York City. I have a very eclectic background of work experience. I was 16 when I had my first job as a hostess at an Italian restaurant. I started doing promotional and tradeshow modeling during my undergraduate. Also as an undergrad, I worked as a student office assistant and as a performer at Walt Disney World being casted in Fantasmic!. I danced with a Polynesian production company in Fort Lauderdale. After graduating from UCF and while pursuing my Masters at UM, I worked on a new business venture with a South Florida start-up company as the Communication VP. Then I went to do marketing for a medical equipment company in North Miami. I also worked at the UM campus as a graduate assistant and researcher. Then when I graduated from UM in December 2009, it was hard to find a job that would for one make ends meet and second make me happy. I wanted to use my Communication masters to become a Public Relations professional, but no firm would hire me without having worked at least one internship at a PR firm. So I took a non-paid internship in NYC at firm that did financial services PR to gain “experience” in spring 2010. I took non-degree seeking classes in philosophy and Shakespeare through UCF during last spring (told you I like to study). And in fall 2010, I started a graduate certificate program at NYU. I took a course in risk management, which I loved and had a wonderful teacher and mentor. I applied and transferred into the Masters in Management and Systems, and am focusing my studies in Enterprise Risk Management. And now I am starting my career as a business risk process consultant in the financial controls and internal audit practice.
I say face life with a fist full of glitter as an expression meaning to be proud of who you are and where you’ve come from. Life isn’t easy, but that’s part of the challenge that makes everything worthwhile and meaningful. My experience has shaped who I am, and I am happy being me. I take on this unfolding path with an attitude to be tough and persevere, and to do it with a sparkle and shine. And that’s message I leave with you – embrace who you are and go after your goals.
All the best,
Tara, Miss Metropolitan