Tell us a little about your background (family, home town, education, etc.)
I have lived in Haddon Township for most of my life with my parents and my older sister Danielle. I attended Haddon Township High School where I graduated in 2007 and now attend The College of New Jersey! Something a little unique about myself is that I come from a very large extended family made up of almost 50 first cousins and 31 aunts and uncles. We all live relatively nearby and are surprisingly very close!What are your hobbies and interests?
In school I participate as a field reporter for my school’s television station, am an active sister of Zeta Tau Alpha Fraternity, and I am also extremely involved in the theater program. Outside of my school interests, I can always be found reading or doing Sudoku puzzles – I’m obsessed with both!Do you have any favorite places where you like to shop or dine in Burlington County and Camden County?
I LOVE the shops and restaurants in Collingswood. My family always went to Villa Barone when I was growing up and their pasta will always be my favorite! My shopping spot is definitely the Cherry Hill Mall – their new look is amazing and they have the best stores!You are a student at The College of New Jersey. What are you studying? What are your career aspirations?
I am currently a senior and will be getting my degree in Communication Studies. In the past few years, I have professionally acted in 4 feature films in Philadelphia and New York and also work full time as an In-House Model for QVC, Inc. My aspirations are to continue in the direction of acting and try out my skills in California! I’d also love to continue studying broadcast journalism and work in hosting or reporting for a major network.We understand that you are very close with your mother and two grandmothers. Can you tell us a little about your relationships with them?
I grew up fortunate to have a very close relationship with my family, even though I have a large number of them. My grandmothers treated all of the cousins on each side of my family like gold – going to their houses was always an absolute treat. The incredible stories they have told me, the sentimental gifts that have accumulated, the best hugs that only they can give, and the smile that grows on my face thinking about my favorite memories growing up are what comes to mind when I reflect about my grandmothers. My mom, on the other hand, is my absolute hero. She is a 7-year Breast Cancer survivor and has taught me everything I know about being a strong and graceful woman. I have absolutely no idea where I would be without her pushing me to follow my dreams, no matter how big they are.How is everything going with your reign as Miss New Jersey USA?
My reign is going great! It is a lot of work that sometimes can become a little over-whelming but I am grateful for everything that comes my way. Preparing for Miss USA and representing the state has been such an adventure so far – I have had the opportunity to work with so many wonderful sponsors, work out like a maniac to get my swimsuit body ready for nationals, practice interview questions, and attend tons of appearances all over the state. I am learning so much with every step I take as Miss New Jersey USA.How much of your time is involved in being the titleholder?
I decided to become a part-time student this semester so I could spend more time preparing for Miss USA, which was a great decision! I have been traveling every weekend for appearances all over the state and to visit sponsors of the pageant that are helping me train. During the week, I still work almost every day modeling in Philadelphia so I have a pretty busy life! I thrive off of being busy though and I have been taking every single opportunity. What are some of the opportunities you have been able to enjoy as Miss New Jersey USA?
I have had the chance to work with so many amazing charities and organizations so far. I am learning a lot about giving back to the community and that is one of the greatest opportunities I can imagine!How long have you been competing in pageants? Do you come from a long line of pageant contestants in your family?
I come from a family of athletes! I grew up following in my sister’s footsteps – she was a Division I soccer star. To create my own path, I entered Miss New Jersey Teen USA in 2006 and ended up winning. That was the first time I was introduced to the pageant world and had one of the most incredible years of my life representing the state as a teen titleholder. After that experience, I waited until this year to compete and ended up winning again! What qualities or characteristics do you think the judges saw in you to crown you Miss New Jersey USA?
I think they saw me as a very relatable, down-to-earth individual. To be a successful titleholder, you have to want to communicate and interact with every single person you meet and that is a trait that I am extremely proud that I have. During my interview, I treated the judges like they were my friends and tried to engage them to show that quality.What are some of the costs associated with being in pageants? Do you have a sponsor or sponsors?
I am forever grateful for the sponsors of the Miss New Jersey USA pageant! I have received scholarships, clothing, luggage, jewelry, and so much more. I still have to spend some of my own money on appearance outfits and some travel costs but when I go to Miss USA, everything is pretty much taken care of. When competing for the state title though, there is an entrance fee and contestants must take care of their own clothing and competition needs. If I could give advice, it would be that you don’t have to spend a lot to be successful! I wore an evening gown that was under $200, wore my old shoes, and did my own hair and makeup. There are always ways to keep costs down!As Miss New Jersey USA, do you have to spend a lot of money on your wardrobe? What is your best color and style?
I am known as a bargain shopper, so I don’t spend too much at all! I love buying simple pieces that I can mix and match and also layer with accessories – you can get so many different
outfit options that way! My favorite thing to do is to buy neutral pants, skirts, dresses and blouses and then put on big colorful earrings, shoes, and bracelets (my favorite colored accessories are turquoise and classic pinks).To be a top pageant contestant you need a strong pageant interview. What have you done to develop your public speaking skills and pageant interview style?
I am a communication studies major and a theater minor, so I spend a lot of my time already on stage or giving presentations. That has definitely given me more confidence in pageant interviews. To be successful in the interview, you must be comfortable talking about yourself (goals, memories, favorite things, etc.) and also about current events. I need to watch the news and pay attention to headlines while preparing, because the judges can ask anything!Can you tell us about your platform as Miss New Jersey USA? What inspired you to choose your platform, and what you are doing to advance your cause?
The platform of Miss USA is Breast Cancer Education and Awareness, which fits so perfectly into my life. Having a survivor so close to me has taught me everything about the disease and what it takes to conquer it. I’d love to start a program that reaches out to the children of cancer patients so they have a place to turn to, because it truly is one of the most difficult things to watch the strongest person in your life suffering. You have a big competition this June. Can you tell us about the Miss USA pageant and what you are doing to prepare for it?
Miss USA will be on June 19th in Las Vegas, NV – You can all tune into NBC that night and watch as I compete for the big title! The telecast will have a huge opening number followed by swimsuit, evening gown, and interview competitions. I will be there for about 3 weeks beforehand preparing for the broadcast and competing in preliminary contests with the other titleholders.What advice do you have for our readers who might aspire, or who have a daughter or granddaughter who aspires, to become Miss New Jersey USA? Where should they begin?
Just try it! I never could have imagined how pageants would affect my life in such a positive way. Taking the chance to try something new can be scary and intimidating, but in the end, you will learn so much about yourself and overall become a more confident individual. You can simply go to www.missnewjerseyteenusa.com
to find out some more details and apply! It’s so easy!
Photos taken by Carolyn and Randy Kramer of CL!X of South Jersey, www.clixsj.com