Sunday, April 17, 2011

Face life with a fist full of glitter

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

Friday, March 18, 2011

And so my journey officially begins towards Miss New York

Last year proved to be a very challenging year for me. When I first came to NYC, I had just finished my first graduate degree from the University of Miami that December 2009. Despite having what I considered to be an impressive resume displaying a highly educated and skilled individual, I had no immediate job offers, a harsh reality that faces my cohort. So I took a non paid internship in Manhattan to gain "experience," packed my bags, and moved to New York City last February. But, my chance to live in New York City had finally come.....and it was my dream come true. And now I'm working towards my second masters degree at New York University, starting a career as a consultant, and I've developed relationships that mean everything to me.

Do you know why people come to New York when they aim to make a somebody of themselves? It's because New York is the capitol of everything possible. I want to pursue my goals and make things happen in my life, and that is why I've come here. I might have been born on the west coast in Los Angeles, spent my early childhood years in the midwest in Denver, and had my early adulthood in southern state of Florida, but it is the pursuit of my goals - ever upward - that makes me a New Yorker.

I compete in the Miss America system not because I get to wear a pretty tiara, but because it is empowering, and the crown is my microphone which allows me to reach audiences that I as an individual would not be able to reach. It's my stepping stone to a successful career, my opportunity to finance my education, and the chance to make a social statement and be heard. I am grateful for this upcoming year as Miss Metropolitan 2011 - a year of service on behalf of the Miss New York / Miss America Organization, a year to live experiences that shape and strengthen who I am, and a year full of people I hope to inspire and give hope to with my platform "Promoting Hope, Preventing Suicide."

03/13/11 Being crowned Miss Metropolitan 2011
by Claire Buffie, Miss New York 2010