We recently had a chance to catch up with friend and client Acacia Courtney, Miss Connecticut 2014 and a top 16 finisher at Miss America. She is an accomplished dancer, life-long animal lover, and founder of Racing for Home, Inc. a certified 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to rescuing and retraining thoroughbred ex-racehorses for new careers beyond the racetrack.
KPS: How has being Miss Connecticut changed you?
AC: The biggest change is that I've come to know myself better. I know what I want to accomplish, and how to get there. Because of Miss Connecticut, I'm comfortable in any situation, and am able to network and make meaningful connections and relationships in all settings. This title has challenged me every single day, but, as a result, it has made me better and stronger than I could have imagined.
KPS: What’s the silliest pageant interview question you’ve been asked?
AC: "If you were a breakfast cereal, what would you be?"
KPS: What’s the hardest part of your job?
AC: The preconceived notions that people have about me or about pageant winners in general. Breaking stereotypes will always be a challenge that we face in this kind of position. I've worked hard to bring Miss Connecticut and Miss America to new audiences, and the first step is always proving that I, and the organization that I represent, are relevant.
KPS: What advice would you give to ladies competing this year?
AC: To not focus on competing. I believe the best preparation for a pageant can be found in being a titleholder. It's so easy to get wrapped up in the "pageant" end of things, and in the process miss out on some of the opportunities available. Your journey in the Miss America Organization is what you make of it.
KPS: So what’s next for you?
AC: I have a couple internship options on the table for this summer, and then I'll head back to school full time and finish my undergraduate degree at Fordham University, graduating in December of 2015. From there I hope to get a position as a sports broadcaster, specializing in horse racing. This year has been wonderful in making connections that can help me on my path to becoming an on-air analyst!
KPS: Ok, let’s try a few rapid fire questions. Are you a Morning or Night Person?
KPS: What is your food splurge?
AC: Bagels and peanut M&M's
KPS: Favorite Work Out?
AC: Bikram yoga
KPS: Who is your Celebrity Crush?
AC: Trey Songz
KPS: What is your Dream Vacay?
AC: Kenya, to see an acacia tree in person
KPS: Favorite song you’ve listened to lately?
AC: Blame by Calvin Harris featuring John Newman
You can follow Acacia’s year as Miss Connecticut at www.facebook.com/missctamerica and learn more about her organization, Racing for Home at www.facebook.com/pages/Racing-For-Home/140879162628887.