Erin O'Flaherty (currently also known as Miss Missouri) makes history on Sunday when she takes the stage in Atlantic City to compete as the first openly gay woman vying to win the title of Miss America. As can be expected, competing on the pageant circuit can require quite a bit of travel, (and - let's be real - simply navigating an airport security line while maintaining even a modicum of poise or congeniality can require a Herculean effort), which is why we were thrilled that Erin was able to take a few minutes away from rehearsing to answer our ten questions:
1. Where did you go on your last trip? San Diego for an event with the Trevor Project. It was my first time visiting.
2. What was your favorite memory from it? Marching with the Trevor Project in the Pride Parade. There were 300,000 people in attendance. It was really something special.
3. How many bags do you pack when you go to a pageant? I have four suitcases for Miss America.
4. Are there any special "secret weapons" you pack that help you compete? (Laughs) Not really. Maybe some hairspray for the bottoms of shoes so we don't slip.
5. What one thing should a visitor to Missouri definitely not miss? The food scene in St. Louis. Especially be sure to have a toasted ravioli. It's one of our signature foods.
6. What one word would you use to describe Missouri? Diverse.
7. What U.S. city tops your to-do list? New York City.
8. International destination? Greece.
9. Does the crown fit in the overhead bin or do you have to check it? It will fit in the overhead bin, but I check it.
10. Where will you go on your next adventure? Definitely New York.
Root for Miss Missouri, Erin O’Flaherty, during the 2017 Miss America Competition, broadcast live Sunday, September 11 at 9PM ET/PT on ABC.