Hello, everyone! I am Kailey Abigail Turner, your new Little Miss of America 2018. It is crazy to think that just over a month ago I was Little Miss of Texas 2017 living with a huge dream of becoming a national titleholder. Now that I have had some time for it to actually sink in, I want to share with you my once in a lifetime experience. I spent the months before Nationals getting prepped. From finding the perfect dress to getting to share my story and gain sponsorship, my excitement was growing as each day grew closer. American Pageants also held a social media countdown for all the titleholders. Not only did everyone get to learn about me, I started to get to know the girls that I would soon see and make lasting friendships with at Nationals. Before I knew it, it was time to head to Orlando, Florida. I got to fly in an airplane for the FIRST time and Southwest had my name announced at the gate. I got to go into the cockpit and meet my amazing pilot who declared me a winner and asked if she could follow me on Instagram! Once we arrived, the week seemed to go so fast! Not only did I get to reunite with my Texas sisters I had not seen since August, I got to meet girls just like me from all over the country. We all introduced ourselves at the state introduction dinner. I got up on stage and represented Texas singing George Strait “All My Exes Live in Texas”. Then we all got to walk the red carpet and have an impromptu photo shoot. Everyone loved my wig and the mini guitar we packed in our luggage to make the flight with us. It was awesome!! From attending WonderWorks and a shopping spree at Charming Charlie with all the titleholders, I spent the week surrounded by the most amazing girls. If I had to only focus on one thing from the week, it would be my fellow sisters. Although I may be different, I was surrounded by love and encouragement. In a world where having a disability is not always accepted, I felt right at home with others who share my personality and passion. Anytime I felt nervous there was someone right there beside me to build me up and help me shake my fears. It really is a family that I am so honored to be a part of.
On finals day I was super nervous about the opening number, since it is hard for me to move as fast as the other girls, but with the help of my sister queens it went perfectly and it was now time for the personal introduction, onstage questions, and poise walk. I knew that I had done my best. I looked out to the crowd after I finished my walk and I saw my mom in tears because she was so proud of me. I had learned a lot about myself and gained confidence that I really can do whatever I put my mind to. Win or lose I knew I had won so much more than a title itself. I stood there, the final two nervous and shaking. I couldn’t believe this was finally it. When they announced Haylee as the 1st runner up I couldn’t help but instantly start to cry. I had the stereotypical pageant girl reaction and I am so happy someone got it on camera. It felt like an absolute dream! I am in for the journey of a lifetime. The titleholders before me: Bailey, Chesney, Giselle, and Serena are my ultimate role models. Now, I Kailey Abigail Turner, get the chance to follow in their footsteps. I promise to hold the values of this amazing pageant close to my heart in everything I do this year as your national titleholder!