I had the unique pleasure of spending two days with Laura Kaeppeler, Miss America 2012, this week. I'd interviewed her previously on the phone for one of our company's other publications, fourpoints magazine, and I had the sense that we were going to have fun.
For another reporting jobs, I've met and interviewed politicos like Rick Snyder and Brian Calley, and T.V. personalities like Christopher Knight (aka Bobby Brady), but I was particularly looking forward to meeting Laura because even on the phone, I could tell she was just a regular girl with a fantastic story to tell.
I got into writing because it is my heartfelt belief that everyone has a message to share. If I can encounter someone, listen to their experiences, and craft an article that exemplifies their passion, then I have succeeded. I felt equally enthusiastic writing the story about Laura as I do interviewing each one of the women who've shared their experiences with West Michigan Woman Magazine.
What was most remarkable about Laura is that despite her extravagant evening gowns, flawless, white bikini wearing figure, and frequent flyer miles, is that when I was with her, she felt like an old friend. I am a 24 year old gal from the Midwest. She is a 24 year old gal from the Midwest, and although she carries a heavy responsibility on her perfectly postured shoulders, she conducts herself sans grandeur or entitlement. We talked dating, splurging on desserts, favorite musical genres, and (in another life) what tattoos we'd get.
The fact is that she has a story to tell, and a history of hard work that led her to today, just like each one of you, and just like me. That is how I will remember her, not as Miss America 2012, but as Laura, the sea-food loving, her own hair-doing, dog-loving woman with a dream, passion, and a good sense of humor.
Written by: Erika Fifelski was born and raised in West Michigan, and after a brief stint on the sunrise side, she's home and loving it. Erika enjoys cooking, sewing, vacuuming, and discovering new ways to live sustainably and support local businesses.