4th Annual Miss Italia RI seeking applications


Miss U.S. Italia Pageant, formerly known as Rhode Island Italia Pageant, has announced its decision to accept nationwide applicants to reflect the regional diversity of contestants. The Pageant will be held October 1 at 2 p.m. at the Hilton Providence, 21 Atwells Ave., and will consist of several age categories from age 7 and up.

"There is so much local talent in Rhode Island. We have entertainers not only from Chepachet but, from Cranston, Johnston, Smithfield, Providence, Warwick, Newport and beyond,” said Pat Paolino Cruz, Pageant Director and Producer. “The events provide an opportunity for musicians and artisans to show off their skills and their wares in a fun, informal atmosphere. The events are free to the public and, a lovely way for adults and kids to enjoy a no stress weekend - something we all could use."

The competition honors the beauty and heritage of Italian-American women throughout the U.S. It began in 2014 in Rhode Island, which has the second-highest percentage of Italian Americans in country per capita, following New Jersey and preceding New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts.

The pageant will be a kick-off event for the 26th Annual Federal Hill Columbus Day Weekend, a three-day Italian festival that attracts visitors from across southern New England, bringing people together for great food and entertainment. Age division winners will officially begin their appearance schedule by participating in the Columbus Day Weekend Parade.

"We are excited that, in such a short time, the pageant is able to expand to include contestants from beyond the Rhode Island borders,” said Cruz.

Contestants in different age divisions will compete in formal wear and on-stage interview in front of a panel of judges. Titleholders will receive a beautiful crown, official banner, professional photo shoots, gift certificates and gifts from participating sponsors. In addition to prizes, the organization provides titleholders the means to gain visibility for multiple charities through community involvement. Age division winners will have an opportunity to make appearances throughout the year, participate in parades, attend VIP functions and fundraisers. 

“Rhode Island has such a large number of Italian-Americans that it’s only natural the event, even on a national level, be held here, in Rhode Island,” said Cruz.

“Over the last few years we’ve received many inquiries from girls and women from neighboring states who were interested in competing but did not live in Rhode Island. Our titleholders, past and present, are a fun and trendy community of sisters, who have become ambassadors of many worthy causes including Make a Wish Foundation, and ‘Help Warm the Homeless - A Charity Clothing Drive and Fundraiser’ which was created by the 2015 Miss RI Italia delegation. Not only are we excited to have created an event which displays a beautiful representation of our Italian American heritage, we are equally as proud to spread a positive message about our culture through positive community involvement.” said Cruz.

Applications are officially being accepted from girls and women ages 7 and up. Applicants must be at least 25 percent Italian-American descent by birth or ancestry and must reside in the U.S. There are no talent or swimsuit competitions. The registration fee is $100. Contestants will be judged in: Formal Wear, Onstage Interview and Written Bio. Tickets for official pageant event will go on sale 60 days prior to event. 

This year a special Community Involvement award will be given in honor of Isabella Corcelli, one of the first Miss Rhode Island Italia State Titleholders who lost her battle with cancer in February 2016 at age 21. Isabella had done many things with her title and assisted in a multitude of fundraisers and charity events. The award will be given to an outgoing titleholder who has demonstrated a strong commitment to volunteering and supporting local charity organizations.

Joining the pageant committee for Miss US Italia is Anna Maria Angelosanto, Maria Manzi and Paula Pecora Cardi, Event Coordinators; Gina Sabitoni-Arakelian, Director of Appearances; and Gregg Perry, President of The Perry Group as Public Relations Advisor. 

Support is appreciated from local businesses that would like to become involved by way of prize donations for division winners, program book advertising and/or event sponsorship.

"As a community event producer, I've seen how events like this have become an incredible way for small businesses increase their visibility. Most local business owners don't have Coca-Cola marketing budgets and, our events give them an opportunity to put their products and services right in front of people - cost effectively. They meet consumers and decision makers face-to-face, answer questions and, start conversations that ultimately lead to great customer relationships," said Cruz.

For more information on how you can become involved or for a contestant application visit missusitalia.com or email patpaolinocruz@gmail.com.


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