New York: Untraditionally Talented

For the talent portion of the 2015 Miss America competition, Miss New York performed her own variation of a cup song. She sang “Happy” by Pharell, while making her own percussion by tapping along with a red cup. See the video, here. She received a lot of backlash for not only the simplicity of her talent, but arguments that it isn’t a real talent at all. In the past there has been some strange talents, such as horseback riding or how to pack a suitcase. Recently, state titleholders have had to find alternatives for their untraditional talents, such as roller skating and archery. But what about in New York? This sparked the question, “What other talents have Miss New York contestants performed?”

Adrienne Wilson

Speed Painting

  • Margaret Feldman
  • Kelsey Mayo

Poi Spinning

  • Corey White
  • Courtney Sheridan
  • Adrienne Wilson

Ribbon Dance

  • Misty-Lynn Hilts
Caitlin Nolan

Martial Arts

  • Caitlin Nolan (Karate)
  • Meghan Cahill (Krav Maga)


  • Dannah Laguitan

Magic Tricks

  • Abegale Turner

Aerial Silks

  • Mikhaila Leinbach
Mikhaila Leinbach

American Sign Language

  • Laurie Jean Fanfarillo
  • Katherine Crandall
  • Jeridith Clark

Hula Hooping

  • Juliana Kang
  • Catherine Mannett
  • Kyanna Lewis


  • Sam Pori

In the past five years, these ten talents have been performed at either the local or state level of Miss New York. Each of them brought their own set of skills and entertainment quality. Being Miss America does not mean a girl must be a classically trained vocalist or dancer for many years. She simply must have a talent, that she can use to showcase her individual personality and bring life to the audience. Say what you want about the cup song, but the audience and viewers at home (of all ages) loved it.

“The reason why I chose to do that talent is I wanted every single little girl in America to be able to see that you can do that talent — you can do whatever talent you want on national television — even with a red cup — and still be Miss America and have the time of your life.”

-Kira Kazantsev, Miss America 2015

So if you want to be Miss America, do what you love and bring love to what you do. Just because it hasn’t been done before doesn’t mean it can’t be done.


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