What's It Like to Take a Tiara Through Security?

Courtesy Miss America Organization

Miss America 2008, Kirsten Haglund

We asked that question of Miss America 2008, Kirsten Haglund. Find out the answer—and more travel tips—from a star who travels 20,000 miles a month.

What's it like to take a tiara through security?

Usually the TSA agent looks at the screen...and then looks at it again. Then they examine the line of people.... They ask me, "Did you...win something?" To which my reply varies, depending on if I am in sweatpants or not! Sometimes it's just a quick nod, yep, and other times they want details. "Yes, ma'am...I'm...Miss America."

After being on the road for 20,000 miles a month, what do you do differently on your trips now to make them go more smoothly that you didn't know about before you started?

I always check in for my flights with the skycaps at the curb, at airports where that's available. There is usually little to no line, and sometimes they are less strict on weight allowance. :) And I try not to wear shoes with laces to the airport—less time going through security.

You've been traveling almost for a full year now. Do you pack differently today than when you first started? And if so, is there any tip you could share about packingAnything practical, specific, personal, vivid, funny, useful would be much appreciated.

I'm a roller! I roll my clothes to save space and minimize wrinkles. I pack my hanging dresses on hangers, keep them in the plastic, and lay them flat in a separate suitcase, because I don't travel with a garment bag. And I ALWAYS put shampoo and conditioner and other messy toiletries in a safe plastic pouch in my suitcase. I've had too many explosions not to. I also put heavy items like shoes or other toiletries at the bottom end of my suitcase so when stood up, they do not fall down on other clothes and wrinkle or smush other things.

Many Americans (young and old) haven't been as fortunate to be able to travel and see as much of the country as you have. Is there any tip or advice you might give themeither something to ease their fears or to inspire them, or a funny story from your own experience?

If you are going on a small plane, always, always, ALWAYS go to the bathroom BEFORE you board! I have been in a few situations where I was just itching to get on the plane so I could use the restroom, only to find there was none aboard! That is the most horrible feeling in the world! You never never know. Also make sure to drink lots of water during the flight. If you hydrate yourself and cut back on caffeine during the flight, you'll get to your destination feeling much more refreshed and energized. In general, traveling in my job can get exhausting, but the opportunity to do so has helped me to see so many BEAUTIFUL places in this country and meet many fascinating people. The more I travel, the more I realize that people are really the same everywhere. And that is a good, good thing. We're all human.

You've written, "State I've always wanted to visit: Georgia, because I love history; I want to visit the battlefields, the museums, and the plantations." Have you gotten to visit Georgia yet? If so, what is your top recommendation of things to see there?

Yes, I have gotten to Georgia—Atlanta specifically—several times this year. Atlanta is such an amazing city, rich in history and drama from the last two centuries. I most loved visiting the Margaret Mitchell House, downtown Atlanta. Margaret Mitchell penned the American classic Gone With the Wind in Atlanta, and her epic story takes place in that great city. Her house is open as a museum; the gardens around are available for parties and weddings; and for lovers of the film, there is an adjacent movie museum. I love Civil War history, literature, and film, so it was an incredible visit. It was also fascinating to learn more about the life of Ms. Mitchell, an incredibly smart woman, and behind the scenes, a staunch advocate and financial supporter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s civil rights movement. She had quite a life, and her house is an amazing tribute to the power of American literature, Civil War history, and the civil rights movement. I definitely recommend it. :)

You're third-generation Swedish, I believe. Have you been to Sweden, and if so, what might be something specific that you enjoyed seeing there?

I have not been to Sweden! I have traveled throughout Europe many times and love the continent, the history, the culture, the people, the food, the physical beauty. And having ties to Sweden, I put it at the top of my list of places I want to visit.

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