Thursday, December 27, 2007

Pageant Press: Life After the Crown

I did a google search to see if any photos of Melanie Murphy and Matt Miller’s wedding had been published in a newspaper yet, a bit voyeuristic, I realize. While I found no photos of their big day, I did discover this great article about Mel:

Cleveland State's own Melanie Murphy or as some know her, Miss Ohio 2006, gave up her crown this past June. The new Miss Ohio is Roberta Camp from The Ohio State University. So what's next for the former Miss Ohio? We will get to that later.

Behind the Scenes with Melanie Murphy

You may only see the exterior beauty of Melanie, but the woman has brains too.

Double majoring in Digital Media and Journalism, the blonde bombshell has over a 3.0 grade point average while juggling extracurricular activities in the community. As part as her Miss Ohio fulfillment, Melanie has been extra busy this past year.

"Miss Ohio is a full time job," Melanie says.

She spoke at churches, campaigned for Toys for Tots, sang the national anthem (yes, she is a singer too) at various sports functions and became the spokesperson for the Career and Technical School of Ohio.

Due to the strenuous schedule, Melanie took the year off at Cleveland State, which she does not regret.

"You can always go back to school, being Miss Ohio comes once in a lifetime," Melanie says.

And what a great decision she made. By winning the title, Melanie collected cash prizes totaling $11,500 and going to compete for Miss America gave her an extra stash of $5,500.

"My Cleveland State education is already paid for," Melanie says.

And let's not forget that spiffy Pontiac Sunfire that was given to her by the past Miss Ohio winners.

One of Melanie's significant speaking roles included the RJ Reynolds's "Life Decisions Right Now," which discussed the effects and health risks of drugs and alcohol as well as goal setting and getting involved in the community, which is strongly related to her Miss Ohio platform, "volunteerism."

What made Melanie pursue Miss Ohio?

I asked her that question too.

Melanie stated that it was always her dream. "As a child, I always watched the Miss America pageant and waited for the talent competition," Melanie remembers.

You see Melanie has been dancing since she was three years old. Her styles include ballet (her foundation), tap, and point. Being a Cleveland Cavaliers dancer the past year expanded her dancing range to hip hop. However, she actually did a ballroom number to seal the deal for Miss Ohio. How is that for well-rounded?

Now for irony…Melanie was teased and bullied in middle school and the dream of becoming a crowned icon quickly began to fade.

"My motivation was the bullying," she says.

I bet those bullies are now regretting every remark they made. Winning Miss Ohio did not come overnight however. Melanie explains that preliminaries have to be won in order to even compete for the Miss Ohio title.

It took Melanie six times before she won the preliminaries and advanc e d to compete for Miss O h i o , which she actually won two m o n t h s prior to the Miss Ohio competition! But Melanie being the bionic woman did not fold under the pressure. She took on this challenge and of course you know the outcome.

Life Changes Post Miss Ohio

Melanie owes all her glory to the Lord.

"Being able to work for the Lord is the greatest reward for me," she says.

You see while speaking at a church in Wooster, Melanie became saved and at this same church she met her fiancé whom she will be wedding in nearly five weeks. Melanie tells me the story on how they met.

With glow, she says, "I was speaking at the church and he was sitting there. After the service, I went in the back for interviews and my sponsor introduced us. I gave him an autographed picture that lists my e-mail address."

Melanie says that he e-mailed her the day after New Years and asked her out. Their first dinner date, which was also two weeks before Miss America, lasted for four hours.

She says, "we just couldn't stop talking."

Matt Miller [the fiancé] popped the question during Melanie's farewell act as Miss Ohio on the runway.

Miller is an Ashland County Commissioner who is running for U.S. Congress. Melanie says, "hopefully he will win" and we will move to Washington, Melanie calls him a huge angel.

Biggest accomplishment as Miss Ohio

Melanie's grandparents are from Hungary and they came to the United States after the Hungarian Revolution. Side note: For many of you who may not know, the Hungarian Revolution was an unplanned nationwide revolt against the Communist government of Hungary that lasted for about a month.

Being Miss Ohio helped her learn more about her heritage and culture by going to the memorials. Also, seeing how proud her grandparents are of her is a great reward she says.

Another great accomplishment is that she created a coloring book called the "ABC's of Volunteerism" which was a fundraiser for Toys for Tots and Miss Ohio.

What's Next?

Melanie will be getting married in five weeks and now she is back in school. With her drive and focus, there is no doubt she will become the big time news anchor she hopes for. Recently she landed a deal as a WBNX spokesperson.

Final Thought

I asked Melanie for some advice to give to young women who may be facing some self-esteem issues.

"This is something my mom used to always tell me…never let anybody's opinion become your reality," she says. "You are what you think."

Due to a conflict, Melanie's reign as Miss Ohio was actually the shortest in history; 11 months, but her inspiration and the lives that she has already touched will live on for a lifetime.

CLICK HERE to see photos included in this November 19th article by Ebony Cash.

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