At my fist NAM open call in 2013 I told my Mom: “That will be me some day!” Fast forward to just last year…that’s me again but with some new accessories! How amazing to hear my name finally called as your 2015 Miss Arizona Princess!
At Nationals I made my home state proud…and made lots of memories. I also was thrilled to take home the National Casualwear and Spokesmodel titles…as well as Top 5 placements in all of my optionals (2nd runner-up in Actress & 3rd runner-up in Talent) and Top 10 overall! I also placed Top 10 in Runway, was 3rd runner-up for the Fashion Model Award, was the Volunteer Service & Best Resume winner and was honored with the National Achievement and Spirit of America Award.
This year, serving my community was my number one goal. I attended the Special Olympics Breakfast of Champions, manned the tattoo booth at the Hope Kids Walk, danced with the Coyotes’ Mascot, Howler at the Phoenix Children’s Hospital Teddy Bear Fair---and so much more. I also promoted my organization, the Zoephia Foundation, hosting a Read to Me Night and holding a book and pajama drive. I even got to promote it on the news! I went to every Arizona open call and pageant prep so I could travel across my great state and share with other girls how fun NAM can be. I even went to the Wisconsin, California and Nevada/Utah pageants as visiting royalty. And of course I can’t forget about all those parades…
To my Arizona sisters – thanks for sharing this year with me!
Khiana: aka K-Dawg. Your personality is electric! I love how funny and fearless you are. You have never been afraid to put yourself out there and I love that we share our dreams of Hollywood and dance. I know there is a stage in your future and we will all be blessed to watch you dance and sing.
McKenzi: aka Mick Mack Patty Whack. We started this journey together 3 years ago and even then, you were helping me. You have always been so supportive, coming to my dance competitions, even when you had your own swim competitions across town. It couldn’t have been more perfect than to have shared this year with you. We are forever bound together and I am so grateful to be able to call you sister and friend.
Vanessa: aka Straight Up. You are such a beautiful person inside and out and one of the best older sisters a princess could have. I loved our times together at Wrigley Mansion, Nationals and your national’s gift was the best! You knew exactly what we would need! Did I mention that you are an amazing dancer and I loved watching you perform at the Chandler Christmas Festival.
Alondra: aka Laundry. You are such an inspiration for other girls and are so confident and passionate in everything you do. I see only great things for you in the future. Thank you for sharing with me your love for helping those less fortunate. I loved spending time with you at Joseph’s Storehouse. I also love that you are never afraid to be you.
Leslie: aka Ooo La La. Leslie, you are the picture of grace and beauty. You never get rattled when things get crazy and you always loved me and supported me. I loved being fearless with you like when we explored Wrigley Mansion, ran from falling fireworks and flying squirrel attacks and drove to Tucson for Open Calls and ate ice cream and laughed until our bellies’ hurt. You were also the best DJ for our parades and made sure no one fell off our floats.
Princess Covergirl: Ciana, I love your sense of humour. You always know how to make me laugh and I’ll always remember our silly times, especially the day we played at Dave and Busters.
Jr. PreTeen Covergirl: Kelsey, we had so many adventures together and you are the most adventurous person I know. I loved that you put on skates with me for Skate Out Cancer, rode a purple horse at the mall and the funny faces we made and many deserts we shared after our events.
To all my many other NAM sisters--and I can’t name all of you because we are a huge NAMily!--you are all my heroes. I love that we push one another to be our best.
Breanne, Ryan, Brooke and the other NAM staff: I have had so much fun representing you and the great state of Arizona. NAM has given me such great experiences and I know they’ll continue to serve me the rest of my life.
To the many who have shared in my journey and this crown and banner --- you are all a piece of the sparkle in my tiara. Thank you for letting me shine!
Finally, to my family – I am so unbelievably lucky to have all of your support and love.
· Aenghus: Thank you for allowing mom and dad to drag you around to all my events. You were always so patient sitting at the seamstress all those times while my dresses and pageant outfits got hemmed, going to parades and my charity walks. You even put up with mom dressing you up for all my parades and events too. It’s awesome that you know my talent solo after all those hours watching me practice!
· Qnoxx: Thank you for always hugging me after I come off stage and always thinking I do great, no matter what! You have such a great personality and I love all your stories. I think it’s awesome that you still remember the words to all the opening number songs we’ve had—you sat through a lot of rehearsals! I think you could have a future as a pageant director!
· Xaeran: You are such an awesome brother. You were so patient when I needed mom and dad and helped keep our little brothers happy in the back of the ballroom while I was on stage by singing to them, taking them for walks and playing games. Thank you for always taking my picture and documenting my journey. You have always been so gracious in allowing me time in the spot light and are the best escort, next to Daddy, a sister could have. You are the sweetest.
· Daddy: Thank you for being a great Pageant Dad—I really believe there is no one better! You are a great coach. and yes, you do great Pageant Hair! Thanks for always helping me be the best I could be. You were the best escort on stage and off! You were the best support a daughter could ask for and I always knew I could lean on you wherever and whenever I needed too.
· Mommy: Thank you for always supporting me and giving your time and energy and always being the best mom ever! You always told me to go all out, be big and be myself and to show me it was ok, you weren’t afraid to do crazy things with me. You also were crazy enough to wash and then blow dry with our hair dryer, my nationals dress in our bath tub 2 days before we were to drive to nationals. You deserve a Best Pageant Mom crown & sash!
To my successor and all the competitors this weekend, have fun, make friends, take in as much as you can and try to remember it all because being part of the NAM-ily is one amazing experience that will have an impact on the rest of your life. But above all else, be yourself and you will always shine. Remember… just because you are little, doesn’t mean you can’t do big things.
Signing off…I’m your 2015 Miss Arizona Princess
Zoephia Decker-Knealing, aka Z-Money