When Devon Vanderslice was a young girl, she would place her mother's 1979 Miss Ocean City tiara on her head and dream of someday winning her own — so that two Vanderslice crowns could be placed next to each other.
Her dream came true on Saturday, Aug. 11, when she was crowned Miss Ocean City 2013. Devon worked hard this summer in an effort to win the title by practicing her routine, working out with her sister, practicing her walk and perfecting her smile.
Vanderslice tap-danced to Bach to win over the judge's hearts in the talent portion of the event this year. Her family of 48 packed the to cheer her on. Vanderslice says her family knows how much work she puts into pageants and always come out to support.
“It means so much to me that they would stop everything they are doing and come to see me,” Vanderslice said.
“When they called me for Miss Congeniality I thought that was a good luck sign, because when my mom won, she got the same title. And I wore yellow, just like she did.”
Her name continued to be called for four more category awards: swimsuit, interview, presence and poise (evening wear) and talent.
In the end, her name was called as the new Miss Ocean City. With tears of joy streaming down her face, and her large family cheering in the audience, it was a night for her to remember.
“I never in one million years thought that I would win," she said. "This year, it really paid off. I gave it 110 percent. I was keeping in shape, practicing my routine, practicing my walk, and looking at myself in the mirror to make sure I was doing everything right. I worked so hard this year, and it just goes to show that with hard work we can accomplish anything.”
The next morning, when Vanderslice awoke, she put on her crown, and she was filled with joy. It wasn’t a dream.
The one category Vanderslice worked hardest to win was talent. With the help of Jaime Ginn, Vanderslice perfected her routine for the pageant. This year, she said she was always running it through her head and practicing in front of the mirror.
In the past, Vanderslice competed in Little Miss Ocean City for three years, won the title of Junior Miss Ocean City in 2008, and has competed in the Miss Ocean City pageant for two years before winning.
“You learn from the years that you don’t win," she said. "It makes you a stronger person, and you go out next year and give it more.”
“Another reason I did this pageant is to be a role model for all the girls that want to have this title. I was walking the boardwalk with my mom after Weird Week and a lot of girls stopped me to take photos. It is so sweet that they feel that way about me.”
In 1979, her mother, Dawn (Impagliazzo) Vanderslice, competed in Miss Ocean City, and a man in the audience, who was there to see another contestant, his sister, was instantly attracted to her. Four years later, Harry Vanderslice and Impagliazzo married.
Vanderslice has resided in Ocean City her whole life. She works at Del’s Grille on the Boardwalk and attends West Chester University. Her love for Ocean City will extend through winning this title. Devon hopes to one day raise her family in Ocean City and teach in the district as well.
“I am most excited for the parades, because the people that are watching are people I know, and I can connect with them," she said. "It is fun being a local, because I can share my love for Ocean City, with people who also love Ocean City. I don’t want to just be Miss Ocean City and show up at events. I want to be Miss Ocean City when my crown is off. It is important to be a symbol of the city and eat, sleep, and breathe the title.“
“Dreams do come true if you work hard enough. I know it’s a cliché, but look how it worked for me.”