Miss Empire Rose Review & Preview 2016

This weekend is the 18th annual Miss Empire Rose pageant, and 11 beautiful ladies will be competing for two crown. Both of the winners and the three teens will continue on and compete at the 2015 Miss New York and Miss New York’s Outstanding Teen competitions.

The Miss Empire Rose Pageant is one of the longer running pageants in the state, with an extensive legacy, a former Miss New York winner, and a handful of Top 5 and Top 10 placements. The Miss Empire Rose title started as a limited title for the Capital Region, but later the Empire Star title was added, which is statewide open. The pageant was started by director Janet Murphy to honor her mother, and is always a special weekend for her and she goes out of her way to make sure every contestant feels loved.

Miss Empire Rose 2015, Madison Manuel

Madison Manuel had been a part of the Empire family prior to winning Miss Empire Rose– she actually held both the Miss Capital District and Miss Empire Star’s Outstanding Teen titles within the Empire Organization in 2011 and 2012 respectively. She fit right in when she won the Miss Empire Rose title last year. The Empire Sisterhood has actually expanded now to include Madison’s real sister, Katie, who has assumed the 2016 title of Miss Empire Star’s Outstanding Teen.

Madison spent her year dedicated to Connecting Cliques, and teaching workshops in schools and youth groups on the ways to prevent bullying. She attended many community service events not only in the Capital Region, but across all of Upstate New York as well. She reprised her partnership with Convoy for Tots, visited a CMN Hospital, and participated in Models for Miracles.

Miss Empire Star 2015, Marivi Arza-Howell

Marivi spent most of her time at home in Buffalo, but made many trips across the state to attend community service events with her sister queens. As the daughter of a culturally rich family, she dedicated her time promoting her personal platform empowering the families of immigrants to embrace the American Dream.

At the Miss New York competition, Marivi wowed the judges with her powerhouse voice and secured a spot in the Top 10.



Contestants for the Miss Empire Rose pageant are mostly all repeat contestants, many whom have placed in the past or have held prior titles. There is a nice balance of vocalists and dancers, plus a violinist, and an assortment of styles, so the audience will stay entertained throughout the talent portion. Interestingly enough, there are two sets of girls with similar or the same names which could (put hopefully not!) lead to judge confusion if they are near each other in the lineup.

  • Cassandra Storm (Rose/Star)
  • Emma Silen (Star)
    • Miss NYS Fair 2015
    • 1st RU Pride of NY, 4th RU Flower City, 1st RU Finger Lakes, 2nd RU Copper City
  • Emily Drooby (Rose/Star)
  • Lauren Schwartzberg (Star)
    • 1st RU Bluebird, 1st RU Queens, 2nd RU Syracuse
  • Lauren Crandall (Rose/Star)
    • Miss Mohawk Valley 2014, Miss Upstate NY 2015
  • Amanda Abdagic (Star)
    • Miss Mohawk Valley 2013
    • 1st RU Syracuse, 1st RU Copper City
  • Kelly Hoffman (Rose/Star)
    • 3rd RU at Miss Finger Lakes 2015
  • Tierra Gonzalez (Star)
    • 3rd RU at Miss Flower City 2016
  • Olivia Martin (Star)
  • Bianca Mascitelli (Rose/Star)
    • 3rd RU at Miss Empire Rose 2015
  • Heather Graves (Rose/Star)
    • 1st RU at Miss Empire Rose 2015


As always, predictions are nearly impossible to be good at. We can base predictions off of past experience and newcomers on any other systems or leadership roles. All predictions are only based on public knowledge, and none of this guarantees anything.

In the past, Empire winners have had strong interviews and good talents. Even though opening number and onstage introduction are judged, the winners are on top of their game from the second they walk out and on into the judged categories. The winners will be good speakers and have a strong stage presence. They should connect with the judges whether they are being scored or not.

Top Five”:

  • Empire Rose: Lauren Crandall, Kelly Hoffman
  • Empire Star: Emma Silen, Amanda Abdagic
  • Fringe: Bianca Mascitelli, Lauren Schwartzberg



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