Twelve months ago, Indiana’s Katie Stam was just a hopeful with 50 other lovely ladies in the quest for the Miss America crown and title. In split seconds, her life was turned upside down when host Mario Lopez called her name as the 2009 winner onstage at Planet Hollywood.
Today, 53 hopefuls begin the same journey as they pack their bags and head to Las Vegas. Tomorrow -- soon after arriving-- they will be presented to the world as Las Vegas officials and Planet Hollywood execs give them each a red rose, and the 2010 Miss America Pageant officially begins. Each one of them will have packed for a year’s travel in case they are selected.
This time last January, Katie was the princess who had to immediately fly to New York and then on to the Super Bowl in Florida to start her yearlong reign. As she prepared for Vegas and the final days of her reign, I had the opportunity for a lengthy conversation with the young lady who became queen.