By MIKE CHAIKEN
SOUTHINGTON — Two women received an early holiday gift on Sunday afternoon.
Alexandra Giannelli of Watertown was crowned Miss Waterbury and Erika Farrell of Wolcott was crowned Miss Brass City as the Miss Connecticut Scholarship Organization held “A Christmas Pageant” at Derynoski School in Southington.
The pageant in Southington was two in one. There was the Miss Hometown pageant, which was open to women who competed in local competitions for Miss Connecticut this year but did not win. There also was the Miss Rookie pageant for women who had never won a local Miss title before. Each contestant then chose a title to hold to replace the Miss Hometown and Miss Rookie monikers. Giannelli won the Miss Hometown competition. Farrell won the Miss Rookie competition.
“I’m so excited. This is my fourth time competing this year. I kept going, persevering, and improving each time. I’m so excited my hard work is paying off,” said Giannelli.
“I’m looking forward to representing a town close to mine, even though my hometown is taken (Miss Watertown), I’m taking my next home, which is greater Waterbury, where I go to school and volunteer. I’m excited to get out into the community to promote myself,” said Giannelli, 21.
Giannelli sat in the wings last year at Miss Connecticut, not taking a title after previously competiting. “I went full into volunteering within the system to get a feel for what the volunteers do. So I really got first hand that people are putting in so much time and dedication into volunteering. I have to put that same time and dedication into being a title holder.”
“I feel absolutely amazing,” said Farrell, 18. “This is my first Miss pageant. I can’t believe I won this. I wasn’t expecting this at all.” Farrell had previously competed for Miss Connecticut’s Outstanding Teen.
“I’m definitely looking forward to expanding my platform (over the next year),” said Farrell. “I feel that as a Miss you get a lot more experiences to work with your platform.” She also looked forward to visiting the patients at the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center (the Children’s Miracle Network is the official charity of Miss America)
Farrell’s older sister, Alexa Farrell, competed last year as Miss Wolcott. This year, Farrell said it looks as if her sister will not be competing this coming year. But if in the future the sisters both end up competing against each, she said they will definitely support each other “no matter what happens.”
Both women will be vying for the opportunity to take over for the current Miss Connecticut, Colleen Ward of Watertown.
First runner up for MissHometown was Natascia Simone, 21, of Ansonia.
Also competing for Miss Hometown were: Emily Borne, 23, of Rocky Hill and, Kelsey Matthew, 17, from East Haven.
First runner-up for Miss Rookie was Hailey Hinton, 18, of Ledyard.
Also competing for Miss Rookie were: Katie Kelly, 18, of Bristol; Samantha White, 17, of North Stonington; Amber Ouellette, 17, of Bristol; and Madison Rimick, 17, of Watertown.
Kelly and Hinton received the Miss Congeniality awards. Bourne received the Spirit of Christmas Awards. Giannelli and Farrell both won overall talent awards.