It’s Miss USA pageant time again and representing Connecticut this year is South Glastonbury resident Erin Brady. The 25-year-old didn’t get into the pageant business until last year but has done well, coming in first-runner up in last year’s state competition and this year, winning the contest that means she goes onto the nationals that take place on June 16 in Las Vegas. A Central Connecticut State University graduate who is a finance accountant for Prudential insurance in Hartford, the 5’8 113-pound contender was enthused and focused on bringing Connecticut some fame as she Spilled the Beans with Java.
Q: What prompted you to get into beauty pageant competition?
A: I was always interested in modeling and being in pageants is a great gateway. I first entered last year and was older than a lot of women who get involved in pageants but I did the research and the USA organization seemed to be the one that was the best fit.
Q: Last year, your first time, you were first runner-up and this year a winner. What did you learn about the business in a year’s time?
A: When I entered last year I had no expectations and was not sure of what to expect because I had never competed so I was really blindsided. After participating in that, I learned about the physical preparation like exercising and eating well that needs to be part of getting ready to compete, as well as choosing outfits and getting mentally ready. You are in it as soon as you register, long before you are ever on a stage. Most of the girls who compete have been doing it since they were teenagers. This time I have more sponsors and have done a lot more to get ready. I am in it to pick up the crown.
Q: It is my understanding that you have a back story that is different than many young ladies who compete. Share?
A: I lived in Portland and when I graduated from high school moved out on my own and worked fulltime and went to college full time, eventually getting my diploma in finance and criminal justice. I couldn’t even think about being in beauty pageants. I had no free time and didn’t have any extra money and was not mentally in the right state of mind. It’s been a struggle but it shaped who I am. Sometimes I feel like a 35-year-old in a 25-year-old body but the struggles helped me be better. Being older now I think works to my advantage. I think I have more poise, more life experience, and more maturity.
Q: Your hobbies?
A: I love to cook and if there were a talent portion to the competition in Las Vegas, I would make my turkey meatballs with homemade tomato sauce. The USA pageant though, just has a swimsuit and evening gown competition as well as the interviews.
Q: One of the standards in these competitions is that contestants have a favorite cause. What’s yours?
A: It would be to establish a Connecticut branch of Children of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse. The nearest one to us is in Boston. I hope to get something started here. It stems from my personal life.
Q: What’s your counter-argument to those who downplay any value to beauty competitions?
A: It’s not about just being pretty. When you look at those women on stage you are seeing well-spoken, professional, intelligent women who are role models. The experience is an honor and I am looking forward to meeting all of them.
Q: If we tune in on June 16, how will we know which one is you?
A: I will be the one and only Miss USA from Connecticut.
The pageant is scheduled to air on June 16 at 9 p.m. on NBC
*And she DID win! http://bit.ly/11TZ6qj