Tonight is the season finale of Obsessed With the Dress on WeTv. I have to make a confession- I was sucked in!
From the beautiful gowns at the Winning Crown, to the endless banter between the employees, one thing is for certain, there seems to be some "playing favorites" happening in the workplace!
I had a chance to chat with one of the stars of the show, Hannah! Here's what she had to say-
1. Tell us about yourself!
I am a 19-year-old sophomore who just transferred from University of Miami to Hillsdale College. People always ask me, “Why did you transfer from there to there?” Well, my first year of college proved to be illuminating. Although I am outgoing and social, I am really not the “party girl” that was ever-present in Miami. I realized I wanted to focus on my education and preparation for law school, and Hillsdale College is a prestigious launching pad for that. I also wanted to take a break from modeling because it was becoming overwhelming in my life (yes, I pursued modeling for a few months and did pretty well—JCPenney’s and Revista Paula to name a few!). But you know, sometimes a college student just wants to be acollege student with the college experience, and that was hard for me to accept because I have always had the mentality that I can juggle and do everything I want, all at the same time. However, I want to graduate college and feel confident in my future as, hopefully, a lawyer or some sort of political figure. Although I am in for some colder winters (that’s an understatement), so far I am thrilled at my decision to move to Michigan. Transferring is never easy, but I have always been independent and a risk taker. For example, my mom (also on the show) was never a fan of pageants, yet I took a risk. I competed in the 2010 NAM pageant, even with a dubious mother, and I won! I then took 2nd runner-up at nationals, and hopefully I will be returning to the stage soon for a newer title. Furthermore about me, I am also a fan of yoga, dancing, debate, documentaries, 8tracks radio, Taco bell, and combat boots. I wish the show would have broadcasted some of my more “wackadoo” moments, but overall the show does just fine to show the viewers that I am indeed a youngster just trying to find her place. I tell my mom everyday that I am impressionable to every person, idea, and situation I come across—I guess that is why I love education so much!
2.From a viewer’s standpoint, there seems to be favoritism when it comes to Beau. Now that you are watching it, would you agree?
Yes, Beau is favored. But he is also the only employee that is available to work for the store all year. I mean, I am in college, for example, and my mom is a Kindergarten teacher. So Beau and Michele’s lives are constantly crossing everyday. I would be lying to say I didn’t wish Michele could call me up to go to yoga with her or pick up her kids or walk her dog or just hang out! But I am so much younger than she is—I can’t go out to a bar after work or socialize in a more adult manner. The fact of the matter is, I am just a former coachee and crown winner of Michele, and that’s about it. But I DO respect her above anyone else I know—it is now just more complicated to express my admiration.
3. What is the best part of working at The Winning Crown?
To be honest, I love working near my home, thereby constantly recognizing familiar faces from the store. I can remember going to my high school dances and being like, “OH! She got that at our store!”, or “I helped her pick that out!”, or even “That girl looks great in our dress!”. I also enjoy being surrounded by all the dresses. COME ON, what girl can resist all the bling? I know I can’t! So yes, I am the first person to try on all the gowns. But hey, that just gives me a better idea how the gown looks off the hanger J.
4. What advice do you have for going ladies who are trying to "win a crown"?
Don’t sacrifice your chances by not being prepared or by being naïve. So many girls don’t have the right dress, interview suit, walk, or coaching. And the usual excuse is cost. I get it; trust me. But you can’t cut corners or be so naïve to think that you will succeed regardless. Here is some blunt news: pageantry is expensive, but it is not impossible. I did one Nebraska pageant, and only one, BECAUSE of finances (so I do get it). Yet, my mom and I saved up to do it right. As a result, I now have to wait a few more years to save up money because without the necessary (and pricey) ingredients, the outcome will not be in my favor. It’s like putting fat-free mayo on a BLT…something just won’t be right. Don’t minimalize your chances because you were too antsy to compete in a pageant without being fully aware of the costs, garments, and coaching needed. Step back, take a breath, and begin your pageant career with a list and a healthy timeline that fits your budget.
5. What have you learned about yourself and others since the show?
For starters, I learned that I am an ugly crier! But in all seriousness, I hit a brick wall since the show (and really towards the end of it…what the viewers are seeing now in these past episodes) where I began to realize I am not invincible and I am not always right. I used to be so defensive; for example, I was upset when I was the only one blamed for logging onto Facebook during work. Now, I look back on that and think: Hannah, regardless, you were wrong. It is the HARDEST thing in the entire world to admit you are wrong, especially if those said wrongs are on national TV. But I have learned that I am not perfect and that America is forgiving of that. Thank goodness I had some sort of revelation towards the end of filming where the viewers where able to actually see me be like “whoa, I went into that whole situation incorrectly…STOP, Hannah, admit you are wrong and ask yourself what is there to be learned?” I think it made me very relatable; I was growing up on reality TV. As for the others, I have learned that tensions filming became tensions in real life. I suppose I was naïve to think that we would walk away from this as good friends (or that maybe it would bring us together). But no. Not the case. Social media has really been an indicator of this. For example, some people only promote each other in their tweets and leave us out like we aren’t on the show. These people also tend to retweet only the negative posts about the other employees. I feel like this: I don’t mind social media preachin’ the good, the bad, or the ugly—I like/retweet it all! I approach my feed as an advertisement for the show. What is happening in the show is posted in my feed. To be honest, I love every cast member. But if my mom is condescending me in a scene on the show, I will play it up in my feed. If Tiffany or Beau did something wrong in the show, I will retweet a fan’s reaction being appalled by that behavior. I treat my twitter like an extension of the show. I realize other’s do not.
6. Is there anything you regret doing or saying while filming?
ABSOLUTELY! I regret probably 95% of it. But I also realize it needs to be there in order for the show to be entertaining. To be specific, I regret saying that I don’t take it up the butt with Beau. And I also regret tellingFawnia to diet her ass off as well as relating her to a dwarf. I would also regret the entire final scene of the last episode (episode five, where I am crying with Michele) if fans hadn’t reached out and supported me. I still care what my boss thinks, and I hate letting her and my cast members know that I am vulnerable. But, that’s another thing I learned—it’s okay to cry; strong, independent pageant ladies are also human. And I don’t regret having those experiences to show me that.
7. What's your relationship with everyone now?
As I mentioned, it is rocky. I would say I have grown closest to my mom (aww, how cute!). During filming she and I were actually going through a rough time. So, having to work with her side-by-side actually forced us to talk to each other and move past things! Additionally, I now respect Gretchen more than I ever had. She would tell me “Hannah be nice on camera in scenes, but let it rip in interview”. And boy, did she do that (cue her line “Beau iskinda an idiot.”) She was also nice to my mommy—gottarespect anyone who loves Momma Jean! Arzoo, Tiffany, and I still have the same mutual respect for one another. I even came home last winter break and walked in another one of Tiffany’s fashion shows! As for Beau, Sarah, and Michele, it’s hard to say. I honestly love all of them (really! I visited the store to see them when I could), but the show divided the store—no one can walk away unscathed from that. I will always say that Michele is the best at what she does and that customers love to work with Beau (because that is all true). I guess I would use a quote from Isaac Newton for this situation: “We build too many walls and not enough bridges.” I will never stop believing new bridges can be built. It’s just a matter of when.
8. You were National American Miss Nebraska Jr. Teen! How exciting! What have you used your platform for (charities, etc)?
Entering into the pageant world was the best blessing I have ever received. I have used my title for many charities and organizations, but I would really like to share one that is the closest to my heart. Being the Jr. Teen queen meant that I suddenly had 4 other sister queens in my circle (the queens from the other age divisions). Little did I know that my older sister queen would become my best friend and my greatest inspiration. Jordan Somer created the Miss Amazing Pageant, a non-profit pageant that providesopportunities for girls and women with disabilities to raise self-confidence, when she was just 13 years old. The pageant has now spread to 22 states, and its birthplace, Omaha, NE, just held the first ever-national pageant, raising over 17,000 dollars. To see pageantry personified in such a beautiful light makes all the drama worthwhile—just look at Miss Amazing Inc. That is my ultimate platform, and I am so thankful I entered the pageant scene so that I now have the Miss Amazing’s mission a part of my everyday life. Visit missamazingpageant.com to make it a part of yours too. It is worth it.
Hannah seems to be down to earth, smart, and friendly to all!
Make sure that you are following her on Twitter @hannahblazek