She's been cooking for admirals for years, but now Devi Novick is heating things up for the entire U.S. military.
Recently after returning from an overseas deployment aboard the USS Ronald Reagan, Petty Officer 2nd Class Novick got a call from Calvin Hill, telling her a tiara was on its way. Hill operates Military Civilian Experience, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to helps military members obtain civilian career work experience prior to leaving service. He said the Miss Military title is still in its infancy and that this was the first year of what he called the "pageant," though there is no competition, per se, other than in the virtual world where voters ultimately decide who gets the title.
Novick took over the crown from Airman 1st Class Apryl Sanders, of Robins Air Force Base in Georgia, who had bested Novick in the online voting but who was unable to serve out her term. Novick received "close to 4,000" votes from people in 29 countries, Hill said; Robins total was just over 5,000.
Last Monday, the 26-year-old Novick, who's originally from Philadelphia, met with Hill and got her crown.
"I met up with him, and then we signed some paperwork to make it official, and he gave me the sash, and after being a Girl Scout for God knows how many years, I was able to put it on, and he gave me the crown," Novick said.
Novick has been in the Navy since 2002 and "has been cooking for admirals since 2005," she says. The La Mesa resident said she was approached by Hill to run for the title after he saw some photographs of her Skin & Ink magazine.
"It's a tribal tattoo, and it covers my whole left side, and I got featured in the magazine for that," Novick said.
In addition to her crown and sash, Novick is guaranteed a spot in "America's Heroes," a reality competition series featuring active-duty military that Hill said is set to start production in June 2010. As Miss Military 2010, the off-duty sailor will make appearances as a spokeswoman representing the Military Civilian Experience, according to Hill.
"Not sure what my obligations are to the community," Novick said. "I have to conduct myself in a professional manner -- not that I don't do anyway -- because I'm now Miss Military. I know that I'm supposed to make appearances, but nothing is scheduled yet."
Down the road, Novick has her eyes set on a future outside the military as a pharmacy technician.
"I want to further that career ... I don't want all that education to go to waste," Novick said.
Novick's term as Miss Military will end in September 2010. Voting for next year's title will begin on Dec. 1, according to Hill, who said that the Miss and Mr. Military "pageants" actually operate as a fund-raiser for his organization, with each voter contributing $1 to place a ballot.
Eric S. Page reports about all things San Diego, but he draws the line at cat stories. You can follow his updates at twitter.com/espage or send him a story idea.