Miss Missouri Lacey Fitzgerald stepped onto a plane yesterday and will begin her quest for the Miss America title today in Las Vegas, Nev.
Fitzgerald said on Wednesday that she won’t have much free time once she arrives in Las Vegas. She said rehearsals begin today and will continue everyday until the day before the pageant next Saturday, Jan. 24. She and the other contestants will rehearse from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will do the preliminary competitions in the evening. Fitzgerald said organizers have also planned some some fun stuff and some public appearances, as well.
“They have us mapped out so we’re going to be busy, busy, busy,” she said.
The third episode of TLC’s “Countdown to the Crown” will appear tonight at 9 p.m. The final episode will air a week from tonight at 9 p.m. with America’s final vote to send four ladies into Miss America’s final 15 contestants.
Fitzgerald said she has received more air time on the television show than what she expected.
“The first show I knew I would be on there a little bit, but I never expected this much face time,” she said.
She said the show is playing out like she thought it would, because she prepared herself for the show’s reality aspect.
“We expected to be manipulated and we expected to be edited in different ways, but because I prepared myself for that I’m not too shocked,” she said about the way the show is playing out. “I’m enjoying it.”
Fitzgerald said she has watched the first two episodes with a group of friends. She said it has been really fun watching the show with her friends.
“We have to watch it on DVR,” she said. “We pause, rewind and fast-forward a lot. It takes us two hours to watch a one-hour episode.
“I get to tell them what’s going on behind the scenes and what really happened to what we’re seeing,” she said.
Fitzgerald has been busy the last two weeks leading up to her trip to Las Vegas. On Monday, she rode in Gov. Jay Nixon’s inaugural parade. Last week she appeared on a St. Louis morning television show, and received a going away party from the Miss Missouri Pageant last Sunday.
Fitzgerald said the send off had a pageant atmosphere with entertainment and a lot of spotlights. She said it was a good opportunity for those not going to Miss America to see all of the clothing she will be featuring. She said former Miss Missouri winners were on hand to share their experiences. Fitzgerald said she enjoyed the stories and took some tips from some of the ladies, but will go to Las Vegas seeking her own experience.
“I’m just going into this with an open mind,” she said. “I’m going to be prepared as I can be but I don’t really want to listen to other people because their experiences are different from mine.”
Photo: Lacey Fitzgerald, center, discusses talent show plans with her teammates on the reality show, “Miss America: Countdown to the Crown.” (Photo by Stephanie Diani/Getty for Discovery Communications)