This week when I was able to catch up with Savvy Shields herself (and don't you love her name?), I was starstruck. And what an honor to be able to feature her and the designer who dresses her, Joseph Ribkoff.
I Heart Heels: Were you raised in pageants?
Savvy Shields: I was Miss Arkansas' Outstanding Teen when I was 13 years old, and that's when the dream of becoming Miss Arkansas was planted. I saw the impact and influence of one voice and I desired to be that voice for others some day.
I Heart Heels: How did Joseph RIbkoff's relationship with the Miss America program begin?
Joseph Ribkoff: One of our stores in Florida got a visit from Miss Florida at the time, looking to be outfitted for her appearances. They contacted us asking if we were interested in sponsoring, which sparked the idea, "why not sponsor the whole pageant?" The Joseph Ribkoff team approached the organization and with that began our relationship. We're now presenting our ninth Miss America dressed in Joseph Ribkoff.
IHH: What are you studying in college?
Savvy Shields: I'm an art major at the University of Arkansas, and now because of the unbelievable scholarship from the Miss America Organization, partially funded by Joseph Ribkoff, I can graduate college debt free.
IHH: What exactly do you dress Miss America for both during and after the win?
Joseph Ribkoff: We outfit Miss America for all of her appearances throughout her reign.
IHH: What type of outfit do you feel best in - are you a jeans and tee or LBD and heels girl?
Savvy Shields: Regardless of what I'm wearing, I always try to be authentically Savvy. I'm so thankful because this year I'll be wearing Joseph Ribkoff, who so graciously provided my wardrobe for the year. Their travel-friendly, wrinkle-free styles are great for my busy travel schedule. I have the perfect ready-to-wear styles right in my suitcase!
IHH: How do you go about choosing the perfect outfit? Does she have any input?
Joseph Ribkoff: As her initial outfits are chosen before the winner is announced, the Joseph Ribkoff team choose a variety of styles that appeal to various body types and personalities. Once the newly crowned Miss America visits our headquarters, which is about a month after her win, we choose the styles based on what types of styles she is comfortable in, looks good in, colors/patterns she is attracted to and specific requests she may have.
"Regardless of what I'm wearing, I always try to be authentically Savvy." -- Savvy Shields, Miss America 2016
IHH: It seems many of your silhouettes are fitted - is this a secret to flattering dressing and what are some tips?
Joseph Ribkoff: We're known for fit, however the style itself isn't necessarily fitted. Along with fit, we use color, graphics and bold patterns as a way to flatter a woman's silhouette.
IHH: Can you tell us the details on what Savvy's worn most recently?
Joseph Ribkoff: Most recently, Savvy has been wearing styles from the holiday 2016 collection. We're sold in numerous stores around the United States. Visit JosephRibkoff.com.
IHH: Do you have a skincare routine?
Savvy Shields: I have to wash my face every morning and every night. It's my routine to start the day off fresh!
IHH: What's the first thing you did after you won?
Savvy Shields: I hugged as many humans as I could. I'm a collection of every human I've met, and I wouldn't be the girl I am today without the countless amount of people who've invested their time in my life. [So] the very first thing I had to do after I won was say thank you!
IHH: What's one thing you want to accomplish this year?
Savvy Shields: Hopefully I'll be able to inspire. In my life, when I think of the women I look up to, I consider them role models because they live by example. During my reign, I hope that I'll be able to live my life in an authentic way and share my incredible adventures, but also how I'm dealing with hard times so I'll be relatable to all.
IHH: Were you able to watch the Razorbacks play TCU the night before the pageant?
SS: Oh, I wish! But, I was cheering my Razorbacks on in spirit.