I have enjoyed my year as NAM Iowa Pre-teen and it has flown by. One of the best parts was getting to hang out with my sister queens at events. I saw old friends and made new ones at Nationals and through the year. The friends I’ve made have become my NAMily and I am so happy to have them. Special thanks to the members of the NAM staff, Ken and Lani - and of course to my girl Breanne for helping this dream come true. I had no idea when I entered my first pageant, that my mom and I would make friends that would become NAMily. Special thanks to my pageant sis Sydney Ricks and fam (N. Cali JPT 2009) and Kaitlyn Rigdon and fam (All-American Miss JPT 2008) who traveled hours to visit. Thanksgiving wouldn’t be complete without seeing the Donati family at Nationals. Raina and Gia – you’re the best sisters a girl could have (and my mom loves you all too!).
My title helped open doors to help my community and the world. I volunteered for Feed My Starving Children and packed hundreds of meals for children in other countries.
I sang at Bass Pro World in Illinois to Raise Money for Easter Seals where I got to sign autographs and encourage little girls to reach for big dreams.
It was an honor to be the entertainment for the National Miss You Can Do It Pageant. The pageant is for girls with special needs and it was filmed for an HBO documentary about the founder, one of my mentors, Abby Curran - Miss Iowa USA 2008. (Photo with Savannah Spencer from Knoxville, TN)
Thanks to my grandparents, and family members from Arizona, Iowa, California and North Carolina - they joined us to celebrate Thanksgiving and cheered for my friends and me at nationals. Gramma Kathy and cousin Anita kept us supplied with Pumpkin pie all week. I can’t express how wonderful it was! I won the Spirit Award and made some AWESOME new friends. Jada (N. Cali) , Cassidy(NE), Cassandra (IL), Allie(KS), Allysa (VA), Madison (MO), Brittney (WI) – what a great time we had! To my old friend Olivia (S. Cali) and my new friend Olivia (WY) you help me remember growing and changing is good and there’s always room for a new friend. Thanks to all the PT contestants, I wish I had room to name you all and tell about the great time we had. Let me just encourage every girl reading this to GO FOR IT! The entire year is incredible.
To all of you lucky girls competing, I hope you make amazing friends like I have and have fun over the pageant weekend - I can’t wait to see everybody in Waterloo, IA - To my successor, I hope you have a great year and enjoy every minute of the NAM experience – make sure you have your camera ready!
TTYL and XOXO,
Merrill Diddy – your National American Miss Iowa Pre-teen 2011