By MIKE CHAIKEN
This weekend, 25 women and 21 teens will travel to Waterbury’s Palace Theater to find out who will be crowned Miss Connecticut and Miss Connecticut’s Outstanding Teen.
The winner of the two pageants will head to Miss America in September or Miss America’s Outstanding Teen in July.
For those women competing for the state crowns, their local titles have provided them opportunities to serve as role models in their respective communities.
Recent Quinnipiac University graduate Danielle Radeke, Miss Greater Waterbury, said, “Children see the crown and sash and immediately identify that that person must be important… It is not just a suggestion but a titleholder’s duty to display good manners, etiquette, and positive actions such as volunteerism and compassion. Kids are always watching…. Likewise, we can impact adults… through our ability to speak on issues concerning this country.”
Miss Naugatuck Valley Courtney Ouellette of Bristol said, “A Miss titleholder can be a role model to her peers simply by being herself and loving herself for who she is.”
“ Being a role model means being the person who is looked at by others as an example to be imitated,” said Micayla Barrows of Prospect, who is competing as Miss Southbury. “With that, a titleholder is expected to stay sophisticated yet show their personality and style through their wardrobe. A lot of little girls look up to us as princesses and that means whatever we do, they’re going to want to do as well, so our actions, our personality, and our clothes all tie into being that ‘role model’ figure.”
“It is important for a Miss titleholder to show individuals, especially young women, that being your authentic self is nothing to be ashamed of,” said Jaymie Bianca, Miss Stamford, also of Bristol. “With an ever evolving world of technology and social media, the concept of comparison is seeping its way into the minds of the next generation. As a titleholder, it’s incredibly vital for me to address the fact that yes, I have a crown, but it does not define me.”
“We can be a role model for our peers by showing them that being yourself is all you need to be,” said Simsbury’s Autumn Schless, Miss Bristol’s Outstanding Teen. “If each title holder stays true to their own personal style and personality, it will teach others to always be themselves.”
“Acting as a role model with or without the crown on is imperative,” said Miss Bristol Victoria Lemme of Danbury. “The Miss America Organization has given me the confidence to be a role model that demonstrates what it means to embrace and love who I am unconditionally.”
“Being a Miss in this organization, to me, means being honest and vulnerable to others,” said Karla Aponte Roque, Miss Southington, of Branford. “I believe that it is important to always put your best foot forward while being honest about the set backs. Being a good person never goes out of style and is the first thing one notices.”
Bristol’s Julia Pahl, Miss Hartford County’s Outstanding Teen, said “A good role model has high moral values, has self-confidence, sets goals, works hard towards achieving goals, and respects and inspires others. By being good teen role models we can help positively shape how our peers behave in school, at home, in relationships or when making difficult decisions.”
North Haven’s Gia Iwanec, Miss Forestville’s Outstanding Teen, said, “As a titleholder, whether the crown is on or off of my head, I try my best to live by the meaning in which the crown stands for. I hope to make a difference in someone’s life the way that others made a difference in mine.”
The Miss Connecticut Scholarship pageant preliminaries are Friday, June 8 at 7 p.m. The finals are Saturday, June 9 at 7 p.m. at The Palace Theater, 100 East Main St., Waterbury. The Miss Connecticut’s Outstanding Teen pageant is Saturday, June 9 at 1 p.m.
For tickets, go to www.missct.org
PHOTOS by MIKE CHAIKEN