By Mike Chaiekn
STAMFORD– High school senior Sydney West may be living in Vernon now, but the now-Miss Connecticut Teen USA had lived in Southington until earlier this year.
Sydney, who was crowned on Sunday in Stamford and now attends Rockville High School, had been a student at Hartford Academy of Math and Science until her junior year. “I love school. I’m a little bit of nerd.”
The former Miss Southington’s Outstanding Teen, during a break on-stage for the Miss Connecticut USA finals, said of her new title, ““I’m so excited to be here. I’m so thankful for all of the things that have come my way today and for the experience. I can’t believe this happened to me.”
By winning the title on Sunday, Sydney is keeping up a family tradition. Her sister, Logan, was the 2012 Miss Connecticut Teen USA. Logan went on to win the national crown as Miss Teen USA.
On stage, Sydney said her sister’s legacy does put a lot of pressure on her as the new title holder. She said if it wasn’t difficult enough stepping on the stage, and competing in evening gown, swimsuit, and on-stage interview categories, she held the weight of her sister’s accomplishments on her shoulders.
“Not only do I have to do my best but I have to be even better because I had so much to prove to everybody else,” said Sydney.
But winning the title of Miss Connecticut Teen USA on Sunday was the icing on the cake. “It just shows I’m not my sister. I’m Sydney and I can still do it, too.”
Erin Brady, a Connecticut resident who won Miss USA this past year and placed in the top 10 at Miss Universe this month, was asked on stage to offer some advice to Sydney.
“Enjoy every second of it,” said Erin. “Know you’re a role model to so many people, you don’t even realize. It’s amazing what happens when you walk in the room with a crown and a sash. All eyes turn to you.”
“There are so many opportunities that open up for you, so just run with it,” said Erin.
As the Miss Connecticut Teen USA, Sydney will compete for Miss Teen USA at a pageant held in the Bahamas next year.
Among her prizes were a four year scholarship worth $46,500 to Lindenwood University in Missouri. She also receives a 20 percent scholarship the New York Film Academy. And she will be represented by MMG, a model, talent, and celebrity management firm.
Also on Sunday, Desiree Perez of Greenwich was crowned Miss Connecticut USA. She will now go on to compete for Miss USA, as a possible successor to Erin Brady.