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Miss New Jersey 2017 – Day 3, Preliminaries Day 2

Tonight was the second night of preliminaries at the Miss New Jersey pageant here in Ocean City. The competition was stiff as the girls competed in Fitness and Lifestyle, Talent, Evening Gown, and on-Stage Question. However, before the competition started, the night opened with a poetry recital of "Still I Rise" by Maya Angelou, depicted by all 28 contestants, and Miss New Jersey 2016, Brenna Weick, who beautifully echoed the words of Angelou, "...Leaving behind nights of terror and fear/ I rise/ Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear/ I rise/ Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,/ I am the dream and the hope of the slave./ I rise/ I rise/  I rise."

This was truly a theme which echoed throughout the night, as each contestant rose to their highest potential and put their best foot forward. After the beautiful opening number, Ocean City Mayor Jay Gillian, bestowed the Key to the City, to Brenna Weick, for her hard-work and endeavors for her platform, A World of Difference – Navigating the Cyber Sphere, and work with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

Contestants then went into the swimsuit portion of the pageant, followed by their talent portion – which was truly a show for the audience. The competitors showcased a wide variety of talents- from a Willy Wonka performance of “Pure Imagination,” by Jacqueline Algarra, complete with some magic, to a performance of “Colors of the Wind” from the movie Pocahontas, by Sarah Pepitone, that was not only sung, but performed in sign language as well!

Post-intermission was opening up with a Bollywood-themed dance, where not only the contestants, but Brenna also showed off their thumkas, to the audience, incorporating a fusion of classical khathak dance steps to the beats of the music. Afterwards, the competitors wore their evening gowns with grace and went on to discuss their platforms passionately and knowledgeably.

At the end of the night, there were three preliminary winners. Congratulations to Kaitlyn Schoeffel for winning the Fitness and Lifestyle award’ Olivia Michael and Amanda Rae Ross both tied for the Talent award. We talked to the preliminary winners to get their opinion on the competition and capture their excitement about winning the awards!

What did you do to prepare for this moment?

Olivia: Years and years of practice but I started learning Malaguena, the piece I performed on the piano about four years ago. So for the past for years, I’ve been perfecting it, recomposing it, editing it because it’s actually an eight page long piece  and I had to cut it down to four and a half pages so I try to get in between an hour and three hours of practice every day.

Amanda: For me, it was first a mental process. I had envisioned what I was going to do, I had to take a creative stance and create an imagery. Kind of- I don’t know how to describe it, I don’t know. But for me, it was just making that mental picture of what I wanted to give the audience and what I wanted the judges to see. And for me, it was about reflecting on myself and so I had to take my body and take my dancing skills that I had, you know, accumulated over the years and I just put it out there for everyone to see.

Kaitlyn: I really figured out this past year that it’s not always just exercise, exercise, exercise. It’s eating the right foods, really trying not to eat processed foods, eating organic. But also, one of the things that I do is I do T-25 videos because I’m always on the go and they’re always on my hard drive wherever I happen to be.

Regardless of whoever wins Miss New Jersey, what is the one thing that you hope they do this year with your reign?

Olivia: I hope that they realize and make use of the platform that they have as Miss New Jersey. Whether it’s to promote their personal platform, whether it’s to work with the Children’s Miracle Network, I just hope that they realize that this job is so much bigger than just the title. It’s about the people who you work with and who you meet and changing other people’s lives.

Amanda: For me, it was first a mental process. I had envisioned what I was going to do, I had to take a creative stance and create an imagery. Kind of- I don’t know how to describe it, I don’t know. But for me, it was just making that mental picture of what I wanted to give the audience and what I wanted the judges to see. And for me, it was about reflecting on myself and so I had to take my body and take my dancing skills that I had, you know, accumulated over the years and I just put it out there for everyone to see.

Kaitlyn: I really hope that Miss New Jersey accomplishes creating a relationship with our governing body. New Jersey is having a huge election year this year and I think it would be incredible to see her work in conjunction with the new group of legislatures that are coming into the state of New Jersey.

 

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