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It's Not Goodbye

This past weekend we had the opportunity to attend the state pageant with an additional guest to Nicole & I's dynamic duo. Board member Christina joined us for the weekend to learn more about the ins & outs of the MAO system & to have the opportunity to know our titleholders on a deeper level. We invited Christina as we've also asked her to step up from board member to Co-Executive Director in my place. After years of discussion, my husband & I are finally making the leap South & relocating our family to North Carolina.

Being 14 hours away from the Quad Cities there was no way I could continue filling the role of an ED with the focus necessary to fully support our queens. Christina joins Nicole with years of experience in pageantry & I have no doubt they will make a fantastic team together. I am excited to remain on the board in a support position & will continue hyping our queens remotely (& for sure flying into the Midwest for in-person love when possible).

Three years ago Nicole & I spent an evening together discussing the possibility of opening a new local in the Quad Cities. In the course of a few hours the conversation grew from "what if" to "Let's immediately submit an application at almost midnight & build an entire team on paper & find a venue & make a sponsor list & recruit girls"... all before actually getting the approval from the state board. Taking over MMC has been a massive gift in our lives.

Spending the last TWO years with our amazing titleholders has been such an adventure. A pandemic in our first year as local directors was not exactly ideal, but overall I'm really glad to have had the opportunity to spend the extra time with our queens. Isha & Olivia, I am seriously so in love with you both. And sweet Emma, you as well, beautiful girl. I cannot wait to see what the future holds for each of you & am so lucky to have been a small part of your lives.

I am really emotional thinking about leaving my Midwest family, particularly Nicole. Nicole & I formed our friendship over our very first (& Nicole's last) pageant experience. Two brand new competitors with no knowledge of MAO who were drawn to each other backstage over a shared love of Lady Gaga & theatre, life knew we needed each other. We forged a friendship through weekly coffee dates, which ten years later turned into family dinners. Nicole is my first pageant friend, my first momma friend, and truly family to me. I love her to the moon & back. She embodies everything a volunteer in MAO should be. I have absolutely no doubt the MMC program will continue to grow & impact the lives of so many amazing women across the state of Illinois.

Thank you to those in the Illinois system who welcomed us with open arms. To the Chicago board, good Lord I love you all. Jason, Lacey & Leah, thank you all for keeping our heads on straight & answering any questions we had as new directors. Nicole & I would have felt very alone without your support & friendship. For those who don't know, we spent Miss Illinois week together as a unit. While technically our queens competed against each other, we shared a row & unanimously cheered for the titleholders as if they were all ours - one giant blended family of queens. And that's exactly what pageantry is about: the understanding that you can love & support each other while also competing at the highest level.

I'm definitely not done with MAO & will stay with MMC as long as they allow me to. 14 hours away, I will be the biggest cheerleader for our QC queens. Thank you to everyone who has impacted our program over the last two years. My heart is so full of love for my #MMCDreamTeam.

Much love,

Stacy Paper

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