Growing Up

Where do I begin… Well I won’t go to far back. Ok just a little bit, about 28 years ago at least. I was born on November 22, 1979, an only child to my mom Cheryl and Dad Billy. Oh, and just so you know all the “Only Child” things you hear , like spoiled rotten, they are so not true. At least not in my family they weren’t.  It was a joke in my family that I should be an actress for years! I guess they were telling my that even as a small child I knew how to get reactions out of people.  I do have to admit that it was always a dream of mine to be on TV, but as a chubby little girl from RI, living with a single mom, I never thought it could happen to me.   I was diagnosed with ADHD at a very young age, after one to many teachers had given up or decided that the hallway was the best place for me. I was constantly disrupting wether it was at school or at home with my mom, my grades were horrible, and all the kids in my class made were just mean because I was always in trouble. There were so many years I was so awkward and goofy, going back and forth, trying to be a tom boy and not really knowing what was next for me . I honestly don’t think I really knew who I was until much much later in life, which in most cases is true for all of us. I was constantly changing school and always around new groups of girls so needless to say I never knew how to be a really good friend. That was the biggest downfall of all, being an only child means not always having a childhood and being around a lot of adults. Let’s just say my social skills with kids my age was never really the best even up until high school. I also have to tell you that the change in my life was not overnight, it was through lots of up’s and down’s before I realized who I was and what I wanted to do with my life. School was not so fun for me, I never really enjoyed it, like most teenagers do, I was too worried about what others thought about me to concentrate on anything else, especially my school work. I didn’t even enjoy what was supposed to be the best night in high school, “Your senior prom”.

I was really lucky to have some great mentors growing up. While my mom was busy working, I was spending most of my time at my local YMCA, go ahead sing it I know you want to) where i was a little to old to be watched, but not old enough to work. There was an amazing woman named jean, that took me under her wing, who decided to make me feel important. I guess I was kind of like a junior counsiler. I spent so many years at the “Y”, I was involved in almost every aspect of it. My favorite years, The Leaders Years, were some of the greatest times of my life. I joined the leaders club and I still till this day beleive that is what molded me to become a strong woman.

Ok let me stop for a minute I am telling you all this because I want people to know the real me. I would not change anything in my life, not one thing. I can honestly look back and say that every up and down every tear and burst of laughter has made me who I am today and I would not change a thing!! Everything in life happens for a reason. The things that kept happening in my life were the things that i had not learned yet, and once you master them you are on to something else. It’s like a test, except in real life sometimes you get second chances.

In September of 2002 I was crowned Miss RI USA 2003. I was not brought up a pageant girl. I have been in 4 pageants my entire life, which some of you are saying wow 4, but if you ever meet a true “Pageant girl” 4 is nothing. My mother entered me in the Little Miss America Pageant when I was about 6, I didn’t even place. When the pageant was over a judge told my mom that MTV should not be a 6 year olds favorite show and Madonna should not be her idol. The next time I competed was in the 10th grade. A friend from school had decided to enter the Miss RI Teen USA pageant and I thought it would be fun to enter with her. I had gone through a chubby stage in my life an had just started to lose some weight, so i thought it would be a great way to boost my self confidence. I didn’t place at this pageant either, I did however win a scholarship to John Casablanca’s Modeling School. So, off I went to modeling school, which was definitely worth competing in the pageant. By the end of my classes I had poise, confidence, and self esteem. Several years later I had another close friend who absolutely loved competing in pageants. The more she spoke about how much fun they were, the more I though “why not”? Once again I signed up. Before I knew it, pageant weekend was here. I had a blast, and this time I placed Top 10, and by the way that is a pretty big deal. As i sat and watched Janet Sutton (Miss RI USA 2002) being crowned, I realized i had been bit by the bug. I decided that night that I was going to take the next year to prepare for next years pageant, my goal top 5. With help of two very special girls that is exactly what i did. Before I knew it pageant weekend was here once again, and I did way better than top 5, I WON!!

The year that followed was nothing short of amazing. I was able to do amazing things and meet some amazing people. I was a trophy girl for the 2003 MLS awards, I threw out the first pitch at a Boston Red Sox Game (the best baseball team ever), was in a zillion parades, and became a spokesperson for several foundations and non-profits in the state. One foundation that was very important to me was Susan G Komen, My Nana is a breast cancer survivor so this was something that my whole family was able to be a part of with me. The one foundation that was nearest to my heart was The Station Family Fund. I lost many friends in that fire, raising money for them was the single most important thing I did with my crown. During the Jerry Louise Telethon I met a man with a vision, it had something to do with Harley’s and NESN ( New England SPorts Network). Soon after, with my love for motorcycles, his vision, and another gentleman’s wallet we started filming. Before any of us realized it, we were on Nesn and had already started filming our second season. Then the call came in, it was from one of the producers at NESN that had seen me on the show and asked for me to come and audition to be a host on the Red Sox’ pre game show. I was so excited but with at least 10 other girls i figured it was a long shot. Well thank god for Tom Warner, because he liked me. Before I knew it I was actually living out my dream.  I was working beside TC and Remy at every home game as a correspondent. It was my job to talk to the fans, give out shwagg and promote Red Sox Nation. The best thing about it was at the end of that year the Red Sox did the unexpected, they broke the curse, they won the World Series, and I can say I was a part of that amazing season.

I was working as a bartender at a local club called Mardi Gras in cranston, ABC was coming in to do a casting for the popular reality show the Bachelor. I was poking fun at how many girls had actually come in to get on this show. The best part was they all looked perfect, there hair, make up,clothes, and answers all perfect. I had not seen these kind of answers since my pageant days. Before I knew it the camera was on me and the casting directors were hysterical. A year later I got another call and this time I said yes, what did I have to lose. I had so much fun. I had no idea what i was signing up for, but i loved every second of it. I was myself the entire time and have no regrets. As the show started airing the comments became more frequent. I had amazing friends and family that supported me the entire time and reminded me that I opened myself and my life to the entire world and not everyone will love me. But just to clear the record I am not from a trailer park, I may not have been rich but we never went without nor did we travel, and my grandmother has beat cancer and a quadrouple by pass so she can say whatever she wants.

I have since moved to Hollywood, California. I originally moved here to get this face back on TV, but this town is big and easy to get overwhelmed and frustrated in, so I decided to put my TV dreams on the back burner for a bit and had started a career in event planning. I am currently working for a producer as an assistant and truly love my job, It is an exciting career and definitely keeps me busy.  I have two amazing Boxers, Izzy and Dozer who are my life, they are my children. I love my life here and cant wait to see what the next ten years brings! I have not given up on the television career yet so keep watching, who knows where I will turn up next.

There are a few things I remember I believed growing up…

“You have not “MADE IT” unless you have been on Oprah”

“I can do a better job than Punky Brewster (hey I was young she was pretty popular back then)”

“I want to be just like Madonna when I grow up”

Well those are just a few…I was funny when I was young. I may not be better than Punky and I am obviously not the next Madonna(I can’t sing) but I am still a firm believer in “You have not MADE IT unless you have been on Oprah” and with Ellen now I mean it’s suck a toss up I can’t stand it !

Ellen I love you and your show too, but when I was younger you didn’t have your show yet! So now I am a firm believer that you still haven’t made it until you have been on Ellen !!