Hardy: Miss America was ‘best time of my life’
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – The Miss America 2018 Pageant has come and went, having announced its winner, Miss North Dakota Cara Mund, on Sept. 10. For Miss West Virginia Tamia Hardy, a resident of Martinsburg and a Shepherd University graduate, the competition will not be easily surpassed.
“It was honestly the best time of my life. I had so much fun on stage and backstage connecting with all my Miss America sisters,” Hardy said. “Words can’t explain how fun Miss America was.”
While Hardy did not make it into the final 15 – the portion of the pageant which is aired live on television – her was one of which she can be proud.
“I had my private interview, then my talent portion. I honestly went into this to try my best and leave the rest to God. I don’t know how anyone could ever leave that experience sad or disappointed. It absolutely changed me as a person,” Hardy said. “We all really felt awesome. Win or lose, you are still a winner and have the opportunity to represent your state and help people.”
And that representation of West Virginia began almost immediate after the winner was called.
“I was at Trinity Temple Church of God ‘For Loved One’s Health Fair’ (last Saturday), and was there for the community. As Miss West Virginia, I have a lot coming up – things are already pretty set in stone,” she said. “I love everything on my calendar, but one appearance I’m ready to do is the Mountain State Apple Harvest Festival in October. My younger sister, Antanya Hardy, is a princess in the festival and it will be cool getting to be there with her.”
As far as the most difficult aspects of Miss America, they aren’t what you would typically think.
“The most difficult part – it’s so silly – was knowing which casual wear they meant. Sometimes it was workout pants, shirts; other times it was ‘casual,’ meaning dressed up. Then there was another casual for dinner events. It was funny. We would sit there and debate with our host moms and try to figure out which casual applied to that event,” Hardy said. “We also had our phones taken away and wouldn’t get them back until the evening. It was difficult to not stay connected with people.”
Having a focus on other people is what undoubtedly leads to Hardy’s charm and subsequent representation of the Mountain State. However, it is Hardy’s love of God that led to her favorite moment of the entire competition.
“Although I didn’t make it into the top 15, I was there that night to support all of the other girls. Moments before we went on stage, we had about two minutes to spare backstage in the dressing room. I asked the girls to come pray with me and I led all of my other sisters in prayer. I knew then that is what I came there to do,” Hardy said. “God’s plans were carried out.”
Hardy said she is also beyond appreciative of the love and support she has receive from the community in the Eastern Panhandle.
“It is amazing to see all the love. I’m thankful to be Miss West Virginia. There is a team behind me, and I really couldn’t have done any of this without them,” she said. “Getting to represent this state and the people of the Eastern Panhandle is amazing.”
While her reign as Miss West Virginia will lead to unique opportunities, Hardy said she is most looking forward to getting back to some normalcy of life.
“I’ll still be working my job at the day care and I’m excited to see the kids again. I love everyone there,” Hardy concluded.