While the hangout video conversation started off with some light-hearted questions about the pageant's owner Donald Trump, hair, quilting and Mexican men--the discussion turned both poignant and serious. Suddenly we found ourselves learning about Brady’s family background, her early departure from home as a teen, the anguishes of growing older and growing apart from siblings and last--the inner struggles and pains of living a life of family difficulties.
While Erin Brady exemplifies being an internationally-recognized role model, the envy of most girl's dreams, we soon appreciated her stunning beauty yet that she posseses so much more. Behind her smiles and her captivating charms, we learned this young woman is simply and truly symbolic of so many of us who struggle to win and to make it, in the land we call, the USA.
Below is a transcription of the first part of the interview. For both better accuracy and pleasure, please watch the video of the Google Hangout discussion.
Sabludowsky: Good afternoon. This is Stephen Sabludowsky, publisher of Bayoubuzz.com. We have a great Google Hangout interview. We have Miss USA Erin Brady.
Brady: You're correct.
Sabludowsky: That's great. And Miss Connecticut. Joining me today are two Google Plus all-stars, Susan Finch coming to use from Beavertown, Oregon. Hi, Susan.
Finch: Hey, Stephen. Thank you for inviting me. Erin, it's nice to meet you.
Brady: Nice to meet you, as well. How are you?
Finch: Doing very well, thank you.
Sabludowsky: And Mia Voss from Denver, Colorado. She has donned her fabulous and famous tiara.
Brady: I love it.
Sabludowsky: Hi, Mia.
Voss: I usually wear it, but I'm really wearing it for you today, Erin. And Stephen, thank you for the invite. When I heard I had the chance to come talk to you, I nerded out and ran right over here to meet you.
Sabludowsky: It's my pleasure any time. Let's move on. Erin has been Miss USA for about a year. She's coming down to Baton Rouge. Baton Rouge is going to host the pageant this year. We call Baton Rouge the Las Vegas East. It's about 90 miles away from New Orleans. Let me just start the questions and now turn it over to our lovely ladies. That is, obviously, Donald Trump owns the pageant, as I understand. Is his hair as cute in person as it is on TV?
Brady: It certainly is. I admire the fact that he styles it himself. I think that it takes a true man to be able to style his own hair. It's kind of his trademark. I think that, it kinda has its own mind. I think it's his trademark, so he owns it. I got to give him credit.
Voss: I like how Stephen starts with the gripping question.
Sabludowsky: I do my very best. Susan, I know that you got a lot of questions, so go ahead.
Finch: I do, and I appreciate the time. I did put this out on Facebook to a few friends, and I had a few questions that came directly your way, Erin. One came from Cynthia Garofalo, who is a volunteer. She makes blankets for kids that are ill. She said, "Ask her if she's a crafter, and if she isn't, would she like to learn crafting, like knitting or quilting, especially being able to help others in need?"
Brady: I would say absolutely. I actually learned how to crochet from my grandmother. I actually crocheted by own blanket with her. This is when I had a little bit more time on my hands, but I would absolutely love to learn how to knit or quilt. I think the quilting is absolutely beautiful because you can add your own little touch and really personalize the quilt.
Finch: Then I have a question from my cousin, Bill Reamy. Perhaps, she has a thing for short, old, bald Mexican guys?
His fingers are crossed.
Brady: You know I never…
Sabludowsky: I do, by the way..
Voss: Stephen does..
Finch: That is amazing.
Voss: Sometimes you have to ask..right?
Finch: You never know what the answer will be.
Voss: You never know.
Finch: Nobody never asks her out because they are all thinking she's busy. So, Mia and I have both been reading and we've been watching videos and learning more about you. And we have just fallen in...you know, total girl crush on you. You are a doll.
Brady: Thank you
Finch: Such a good person inside and out. And, I love where you've come from. You've told your story in parts of it. You know, how at 17, you moved out to take care of yourself and to give yourself a fresh start. That was brave.
Voss: Uhhum (agrees).
Finch: Having come from a household, you know, if we want to dive into some of these little bit deeper topics.
Finch: Mia and I both have some backgrounds that can relate to you and your upbringing. I've been at both ends, watching what can happen in a house that falls part and then watching the older siblings leave and how hard that is. Have you ever talked to your siblings about what it was like for them when you left?
Brady: I have, actually, and my middle sister moved in with me as soon as she graduated from high school. So her and I have a very amazing relationship. My youngest sister; we've talked to her about it, and because there was a little bit of guilt on my end for not being able to have her live with me, as well. But she said she understood that we did what we had to do. And, she just said that she missed us. That we missed out on a lot of things that went on in her life because we were trying to take care of ourselves. So there's still...we're kind of rebuilding relationships that we were not able to have through those years when we were trying to make a difference on our own. My middle sister and I have a lot in common because I took her in and showed her that she could work and that she could attend college. My younger sister didn't have that. So I feel...there's that little bit of - I don't want to say resentment because she understands - but a little bit of, "Man, I wish I had the opportunity to follow in your footsteps just as well as Lauren did." So, I think we're in a good place now, though. I think we're five years apart, so we have differences whether I moved out or not. But there's a little bit of regret on my end that I wasn't able to have the same relationship that I did with my middle sister. But we're making up for it.
Voss: I love it.
Finch: I do, too.
Voss: Can I jump in?
Sabludowsky: Yeah..well, sure, please.
Voss: Well, I just wanted to thank you, because, Stephen has sent us some links, so we saw an interview that you did when you spoke about this particular issue. And I just loved it because you really empower people to ask questions and to reach out and talk about it.
Voss: It's a such a huge...that everybody just gets really quiet, and they don't want to have...the communication level is so key to get that out there and say "Hey, I feel this way!" or "I feel like left behind" or "I feel guilty." I have the same thing. I'm the youngest of three. I'm like Susan; I'm sort of the.. I was the youngest that got left. My brother and sister left. It was tough. I tell you, we did a lot of good what I call emotional heavy lifting after that. My sis and I get along really well after that. But we kinda had to dig through some emotional heavy lifting. So I so appreciated that. I was wondering, when you kinda came out with that, did you get people like us that were like "Ah!" just feeling like we really related and it was great that someone who are doing so well has gotten past that and is willing to talk about it? Did you get people that kinda.. came to you and shared their story?
Brady: I did. I think I have one example in particular. A girl I had gone to middle school with. I lost touch with her and spent, I don't know, ten or so years. She sent me a Facebook inbox recently, and she said, "Hi, Erin. I've been following your journey. I myself am a recovering addict. I had a heroin addiction. I just want to say I really admire your courage and your strength to get on with your life and make a difference. I was crying as I was reading it, because I obviously haven't spoken to this girl in ten or so years. Just to see that I impacted her without even speaking to her was huge. I've gone through a lot of meetings and conferences at the beginning where I've had people come up to me and say, "It's so great to see somebody in your position take a stance on something that is kind of, you know, it's hard to talk about." People kind of have a stigma associated with it. It's really great that you're bringing a new light on it, and you're showing people that you can change, and you can break the cycle. And, just bring awareness. I think that is what the issue is. People aren't aware that it's a disease, that it's a huge problem, and that it's genetic, and that it could just as well have happened to me as it did to my parents. I think the feedback was extremely positive. I'm glad. I was a little nervous at first to come out and talk about it because I didn't want to...my parents are both sober now. I didn't want to, i did not want to make them feel that was all I thought about them or have other people judge them because of that. But I think it was the best thing I could have done because I wish that there was somebody when I was growing up that had reached out and talked about it.
Finch: I know that..
Voss: There's definitely a feeling of isolation.
Brady: Yeah, absolutely.
Finch: Yeah, there is. There is. And that shame.
Finch: The shame.
Finch: The shame in wanting to keep it so private.
Finch: Because you don't want to shame anybody else in the family. As much as you're upset, you're still protective of your family.
Brady: Of course.
Finch: So there's that. I know today we have kind of a limited time to visit with you. I know that I'm really hoping that we could expand this conversation in another event, or we could go a little bit deeper and talk about something that you were able to do. You know, perceived beauty, we can dive into that, too. But you're beautiful, allright? Mia is beautiful, you know, I'm beautiful, we're all beautiful.
Sabludowsky: And me too..
Finch: You're so pretty, Stephen.
Finch: But you're beautiful out in the public.
Finch: But there's something about the inner beauty that can add to the beauty of any person physically. I think that you have a power and a strength that you're able to bring out from the inside. I would love to visit with you further about how to bring that part out to add to our own external beauty and strength.
Finch: How to empower especially girls. How to be strong, support each other, and talk about it. Find a place where they can safely talk and draw from that strength, to not dwell on it, but to move on and use it to build us up. Would you like to have that conversation with us?
Brady: Yeah, of course.
Voss: Cool. Google Hangouts are a really great opportunity for that to get communication going, for sure.
Brady: Yes, this is great.
Sabludowsky: Actually, I'd love to do a Webcast so other people can ask questions.