Miss Virginia Samantha Casey had an impressive showing in the top five of Tuesday night's Miss Teen USA pageant in Palm Springs, Calif., while Miss Maryland Jamie O'Brien made the top 10. Jasmine Niernberger , a.k.a. Miss District of Columbia, wasn't a finalist, but two out of three ain't too shabby. The crown went to Miss Montana, Katie Blair .
"I had so much fun," Casey, 17, gushed over the phone to us yesterday. "I'm so tired today! I didn't get to sleep until 6 a.m." Casey, who is bound for the College of William & Mary in the fall, cited organized pool parties with celebrity "boys" (including "that hot guy from 'The Lizzie McGuire Movie' "), trips to water parks and loads of rehearsals over the past few weeks for adding to her fatigue.
"I felt like I was on the show 'Survivor' but with lip gloss and high heels," she said. "You always have to be on here. Everyone's judging you."
O'Brien, 18, says she didn't even expect to make the top 15, but once she became a finalist, she made sure to "work it" in the swimsuit competition. "Hey -- I am so fine with being one of the 10 best girls in the U.S.," she said cheerfully. "I had a great time. No regrets."
First-timer Niernberger, 17, said she enjoyed her experience and plans to return to Washington to "take the world by storm." Niernberger listed a few causes and organizations she would like to be a part of, but what about a future in pageantry? "My pageant coach wants me to do Miss USA, but I'm not sure," she said. "I play soccer and basketball . . . I'm not your typical pageant girl. I have to think that one over."
As for Casey, don't expect her to hang up that sash just yet. "A lot of the judges came up to me after the show and said they thought I came off as too mature for Miss Teen USA. I don't know what they're thinking because I'm not mature," she giggled. "I will definitely be coming back for Miss USA."
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