Next stop, Miss Connecticut

On Friday and Saturday night at the Mohegan Sun Cabaret in Uncasville, 17 women will compete for the opportunity to be the next Miss Connecticut.

When the winner is selected, she will be following in the footsteps of the reigning Miss Connecticut Colleen Ward. The pageant also is a preliminary event for the Miss America pageant, which will be held in September.

At the pageant, the contestants will compete in a private interview prior to the June 17 preliminary event. At the preliminary event, the contestants also will be judged on on-stage talent, evening gown, lifestyle and fitness (swimsuit), and on-stage interview. The top contestants then will go on to compete on Saturday in the finals.

Here we meet the local contestants for this weekend’s competition.

Text prepared by and photos by Mike Chaiken

Christina Judd

Miss Bristol

Every celebrity creates a “brand” for their public persona. What would be your “brand” as Miss Connecticut?

As Miss Connecticut, my “brand” would be “the girl next door”. I want to be seen as someone who is approachable and relatable. Often times, people see titleholders as distant, and I want to break this view. I would focus on being genuine and someone that children can look up to. With so much pressure from the media, I want to show young girls that they don’t have to fit a mold to be beautiful.

It’s 2016. Why is it still important to provide women opportunities for empowerment, such as the ones provided by Miss Connecticut?

The Miss Connecticut Organization is unique in the fact that it empowers young women across the state through public speaking, volunteer work, and confidence building, all while providing the opportunity to earn scholarships. Over the course of America’s past, women have had to fight for equality. Today, we still see an unexplainable 4 to 5 percent difference in the gender wage gap. The skills that I’ve gained through this organization are priceless. This organization empowers women to speak their mind, earn a college degree, and reach their highest potential.

How do you hope to make the world a better place as Miss Connecticut?

As Miss Connecticut I will promote my personal platform, “Keeping the Future Bright: Alcohol and Substance Abuse Prevention.” The United States is witnessing an opioid epidemic. It is ruining lives, and it is heartbreaking. My primary focus would be on informing the public about this enormous problem and assisting people who are struggling with alcohol or substance abuse to find the help that they need. Being Miss Connecticut will allow me to widen my range of influence. If I could help just one person prevent or end addiction, I would be a successful titleholder.

Allison Owsianko

Miss Forestville.

Every celebrity creates a “brand” for their public persona. What would be your “brand” as Miss Connecticut?

As Miss Connecticut, my brand would be passionate and loving on behalf of the Connecticut Brain Tumor Alliance. Since they are a nonprofit organization, I still would be advocating for them throughout the year. As Miss Connecticut, more people may listen and I will be able to get my word across more loudly and clearly. A lot of celebrities are part of the branding that companies use in advertising. For me, the Connecticut. Brain Tumor Alliance is perfect because it is local. I am already involved and I will be able to have more people listen about this organization and why it is so important.

It’s 2016. Why is it still important to provide women opportunities for empowerment, such as the ones provided by Miss Connecticut?

Although we have come a long way with women’s opportunities, there are still stigmas about being a woman. We still make less than a man, and some women are being treated differently. There has been progress made regarding stereotypes. But we also have a way to go to eliminate that stigma. The Miss Connecticut Organization helps remove this stigma by providing scholarship opportunities for women who want to continue their education. This is an amazing organization because this will help women get to the next level in their life. Not only do they help with scholarships, but life skills— such as the interview process. This interview process helps us be above the rest. Overall, we need more empowerment opportunities, especially in the middle schools and high schools because that is where you start learning about yourself and the real world.

How do you hope to make the world a better place as Miss Connecticut?

Being so involved in the Connecticut Brain Tumor Alliance and the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, I want to be known for and continue “making the world a better place.” Being able to bring smiles and happiness to the individuals going through a tough time is one of the most important aspects of my life that I want to be remembered for as Miss Connecticut. Also, raising money for these organizations and being able to have money towards research, equipment and helping out families will be another way to help out the world. Although these goals are on a smaller level, I believe that is where we have to start in order to see a change we want.

Alyssa Anderson

Miss Plantsville.

Every celebrity creates a “brand” for their public persona. What would be your “brand” as Miss Connecticut?

As Miss Connecticut I will continue to present myself as a relatable, authentic, kind-hearted, and motivated individual. I will brand myself and this program by being visible in the community and telling people the first hand opportunities this organization has to offer.

It’s 2016. Why is it still important to provide women opportunities for empowerment, such as the ones provided by Miss Connecticut?

There is still a need to empower and motivate women because of issues such as gender inequality in sports, schools, and the workplace. As one of the nation’s leading achievement programs for young women, I am proud to participate in the Miss America Organization. I recently graduated from Tunxis Community College debt free due to scholarship money I have earned throughout my participation in the Miss Connecticut Scholarship Program.

How do you hope to make the world a better place as Miss Connecticut?

I will remain a positive role model and leader throughout my community and beyond. I also hope to jointly connect my platform Ben Was Here: Raising Awareness for Pediatric Asthma with Connecticut Children’s Medical Center and educate children with asthma of safe nebulizer and inhaler usage as well as warning signs and symptoms of an attack. I will use the power of the crown as an outlet to help raise scholarship money and sign on sponsors for the next Miss Connecticut.

Jennifer Binversie

Miss Southington.

Every celebrity creates a “brand” for their public persona. What would be your “brand” as Miss Connecticut?

Fight for a purpose. My fight is for the arts but as Miss Connecticut I will encourage others to find what they’re passionate about and can fight for. I believe that small changes can make a huge difference.

It’s 2016. Why is it still important to provide women opportunities for empowerment, such as the ones provided by Miss Connecticut?

For women and for men. Being empowered is what motivates people to do more and be more of what is expected of them.

How do you hope to make the world a better place as Miss Connecticut?

I will implement small changes as I fight for the arts during my year of service, which includes continuing to assist the Connecticut Arts Therapist Association gain licenses for art and music therapist in the state of Connecticut. I will also work to provide technology free socials for our youth focused around the arts to build relationships and work on social skills to better them for the professional world.

PHOTOS by MIKE CHAIKEN

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