Miss Rhode Island clears the air about her onstage collapse

Near the end of the first night of Miss America preliminary competition on Sept. 9, Miss Rhode Island Ivy DePew suddenly collapsed onstage, just before the evening’s awards were to be presented. She was taken to the AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center for tests that revealed a previously unknown condition.

In an interview with Beauty Pageant News on Sept. 12, DePew said she wanted to dispel rumors that she was not taking proper care of herself during the competition.

“I was not locking my knees. I was hydrated. I was eating and taking care of myself,” DePew said, adding that after being taken to it was discovered that she had a blockage and rare type of sinus infection, which can often have few or no noticeable symptoms, but can cause dizziness and fainting.

“It’s not the typical sinus infection when you get the runny nose, the drainage and coughing,” she said. “It’s actually harder to get this type of infection, because it is located up in your forehead, behind your skull. It pushes on your optical nerve, your cranium, and your brain. Usually, it’s diagnosed [only] when something extreme happens. The pressure in my head caused me to lose consciousness.”

She added that medical center staff told her that she was very slightly dehydrated, but not enough to have caused a problem. Fortunately, DePew’s collapse may have saved her from a more severe outcome.

“I came to Miss America to literally have my life saved,” DePew said. “Antibiotics are all it’s going to take to clear it up. I’m feeling a lot better.”

In fact, Depew looked full of energy as she performed her talent (she played both the flute and piccolo to “The Devil Went Down To Georgia”).

DePew said she had felt fine leading up to her collapse, and chalked it up to nerves, but she felt a bit “off” when she was walking out with the group for the awards. She credits Miss Pennsylvania Amanda Smith with talking with her and getting her help as she began to feel strange during the presentation.

“We had about a 20 second conversation, but that’s when my memory stops,” DePew said. She also thanks her Miss America sisters for forming a shield between her and the audience, as medics attended to her on stage.

“They wanted to protect the audience and protect me, because they knew that if they were in that situation – that vulnerable – they wouldn’t want the cameras in their face and that image broadcast all over the world.”

DePew said she had received well-wishing messages from around the world, and is grateful for everyone’s concern.

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