Thursday, Jan. 21, 2010 | 4:06 p.m.
See all of the Sun's 2010 Miss America Pageant coverage.
It’s been a whirlwind 12 months for Indiana’s Katie Stam since she was crowned the 2009 Miss America at Planet Hollywood last January. Katie arrives in Las Vegas today along with 53 hopefuls for the 2010 Miss America Pageant to be broadcast live from the Theater for the Performing Arts on Jan. 30.
Before she packed her bags for the last time as Miss America, Katie talked with me about her future plans. Part 1 of my exclusive interview was posted yesterday, and I began Part 2 by asking what we can expect at this year’s pageant.
Robin Leach: Do you have a personal message for pageant fans who will be coming to Las Vegas or watching from home?
Katie Stam: It’s going to be a great show. Fifty-three contestants this year, and we are so excited. I got to meet all them at a visit to Orlando for Miss Teen America this year back in August. I think whoever Miss America 2010 is going to be is going to be great
RL: Do you think the competition is going to be tough and intense? Do you think it’s a great field of qualified young ladies?
KS: I think every year is a great year of qualified ladies. You would not be a Miss America contestant if you were not qualified to be Miss America. That’s how I have always looked at it and believed that wholeheartedly. So it’s going to be 53 of the most talented and well-rounded individuals that our country has to offer, and I know each individual state will be so proud of each girl.
RL: In a few days, you will no longer be Miss America, so what are you planning next in the months ahead in your life and career?
KS: My career is starting to take shape. Broadcasting is definitely what I will be going into. In what capacity, I’m not necessarily sure about that. There are several options waiting for me at this point, and I am just kind of fielding these different options and opportunities and trying to figure out which will be best for me and most collaborative with living in Indiana because that is where I am going home to. It’s where I want to stay and then start my family in my near future. I have to think of those things, and what’s cooperative with that. Broadcasting is definitely there for me. Continuing to make appearances are there for me and doing a lot with my children’s book that I wrote on the road this year.
RL: Now what’s that called?
KS: It’s called I Want to Be Miss America, and it actually follows me as a little girl. As you know, that was something I wanted to do my entire life and have been working toward my entire life, so I wrote a children’s book. It’s about Katie, this little girl, who dreams of becoming Miss America and what she does in order to accomplish it. It’s going to be very interactive with the little kids who want to purchase it. I think it will also be fantastic for Miss America fans in general because I am going to try and make it as special as possible.
So it’s not just a children’s book. No. 1, it’s an education tool, and No. 2, make it for Miss America fans. What I mean by educational tool is I tried to utilize the same message that I spoke about this prior year on the road, and that was I decided I was going to be Miss America when I was 3 years old, but I had to have a plan that I set for myself. My plan was to get this education to make good decisions and to get involved in my community. That was my three-step plan of how I was going to accomplish my goal. So that is the theme in this book, but even more so, it teaches what Miss America is, and that is a role model, its service base, and that it is about education in scholarship and about being a good person.
I tried to use it as an educational tool because there is a great responsibility that comes with being able to write a book. And as far as a keepsake message and memory from the book, I am going to keep that a secret. You are just going to have to figure out what that means as we get closer to the day of it being released.
RL: Did you write it in your hotel room during your down time, on the plane or when you were stuck in airports?
KS: I actually wrote it in the car. We were driving from New York to Delaware, and I think we had a 3 1/2 hour trip. I pulled out sheets of paper and just started writing, and by the time we got to Delaware, it was done. I traveled with paper all year long to write down everything that happened to me every day.
Whenever I get inspired, it’s hard for me to not write on that inspiration. Ever since I was a little girl, I also wanted to be an author. I actually wrote 32 pages of my first novel in sixth grade, and I still have those 32 pages. It’s not very good! I loved writing, and I can even remember one Christmas, one of my presents was this huge stack of empty tablets of paper and then a really nice pen set that they had engraved with my name on it. My dad had written me a little note on the front of one of the tablets and said, “God has given you a gift, Katie, and you need to utilize it, so we are going to give you the resources you need in order to do that.”
Writing was definitely a huge part of my childhood, and now everything is coming full circle for me because I wanted to be Miss America, and I wanted to be an author. And now I got to be Miss America, and because of being Miss America, I am getting the opportunity to become an author. It’s amazing how life works like that, and it truly is coming full circle for me.
RL: Although you weren’t engaged, you were dating in a serious relationship before becoming Miss America. How did the long distance romance hold up?
KS: Excellent, thank you. We celebrated our fourth anniversary in December, and we are looking forward to many, many more years together.
RL: Well, if you survived the year of being away, it will be a more normal relationship from next weekend onward! How do you sum it all up?
KS: I just wish everyone could have an opportunity like I have had this last year. I really feel so incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to live my childhood dream, and I just wish everybody had the chance to do that. I honestly do, even for just one day -- to have their crowning moment because that is the spice of life, accomplishment, joy, thrill and excitement, and that’s what I got from Miss America. I pray that every person has the opportunity to have their crowning moment, as well.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.