By MIKE CHAIKEN
A Southington resident was thrust onto the national stage when she was crowned Mrs. Connecticut earlier this month.
Allyson Genovese, who has held several local titles and competed twice before for Mrs. Connecticut, where she was first runner-up both times— finally took home the big prize when she entered the Mrs. Connecticut event held at Foxwoods Resort Casino.
Even though she had been a competitor in the past, the result was not a foregone conclusion.
When Allyson heard her name announced as a semifinalist that much was a relief after having been first runner-up the first two years, she said.
When Allyson stood up there as one of the final two contestants—standing beside Wolcott’s Stacy Petta—she was beside herself with excitement.
“I…have to give a shout out to (Stacy). She is an incredible woman. The amount of support she had, not only at the pageant, but in the community, she was one of the top women going into the semifinals,” said Allyson.
When the Southington mother was up there with Stacy, Allyson said, “Honestly, all I could think was they’re going to call my name as first runner-up again.”
“It’s either going to be a three-peat or third time’s a charm,” said Allyson.
“When they called (Stacy’s name as first runner-up, I literally just stood there, and I was like, ‘Oh my God.’”
“Then Stacy hugged me.”
“I didn’t know what to do because I was not expecting it,” said Allyson. “As much as you want to win, that’s why you compete, but because I’ve been through this twice before. I was in shock… (after) I kept telling my daughter pinch me, is this real?”
When Allyson entered the Mrs. Connecticut competition this time, it wasn’t something she intended to do.
“I needed a break. I competed the past two years in a row.”
“I just wanted to move on and do different things,” said Allyson. Her charitable foundation, Ally G’s Everyday Angel “has blown up… I always have something to do.”
However, when her vacation plans fell through for the April break, Allyson said she had time to attend the April 9 Mrs. Connecticut pageant. She held the title as the reigning Mrs. New England States and she notified the director of Mrs. Connecticut that she wanted to attend the event as a guest title holder.
When the director of Mrs. Connecticut heard from her, Allyson said the director pressed her to enter the pageant again. Allyson said she thought about it and brought the idea to her husband, friends, and family for their opinions.
And three weeks before the competition, Allyson found herself signed up for her third swipe at the Mrs. Connecticut crown.
Typically, a pageant contestant has a couple of months to prepare for the competition. But Allyson said the short turnaround actually worked in her favor. Having competed in the event twice before, she said she knew what to expect from the judges. She also was in shape, since she is a personal trainer. And she had all of her wardrobe—except for an interview outfit—in her closet.
“For me, it was better that I didn’t have all that time to prepare,” said Allyson, “because I’m better when I don’t think about it for months.”
“Everything fell into place,” said Allyson.
Now that she has the title, Allyson said she has megaphone to help promote her foundation. And when she has a chance to go to the national competition—Mrs. America—in August in Las Vegas, she will have a chance to talk to her foundation to 50 other women from throughout the country. Being Mrs. Connecticut also will give her a chance to promote the foundation within her own state.
As for the national competition in Las Vegas, Allyson said, “I’m just very humbled that I get to go this year. I’ve never been to a national level pageant.”
“Of course,” said Allyson, “I want to do well and make my community proud. But just the experience alone, and I can say I did my best, will be incredible to me.”