Miss Thousand Islands 2017

Local Competitions

The Miss Thousand Islands pageant kicks off the local season each year, and is held at the beautiful Clayton Opera House just north of Watertown. This year the theme was Diamonds Taking Shape.

Miss NY 2016 Preliminaries- Night 2

State Competitions

On-Stage Question:

The On-Stage Question portion of the Preliminary Competition was based on the girls’ platform. The questions were very balanced and gave the girls an opportunity to shine with a topic they should be very familiar with. Each question was prefaced with, “Your platform is…” to give the audience a quick refresher without flipping through their beautifully prepared program books. The wording below is paraphrased as a result of quick notes, but the subject matter is not altered.

  • Amanda Abdagic, Empire Rose: How do you get parents to accept and act on the fact that their child is a bully?
  • Allison Carlos, Finger Lakes: Some states have raised the age of “aging out” of foster care. Do you think this benefits or hinders foster children?
  • Jessica Brosofsky, Erie Canal: How can you inspire reading in youth when they’d rather be on their cell phones or play video games?
  • Willa Hahn, Metropolitan: Why do you feel there is a lack of interest in our generation to want to vote?
  • Kristina Blackstock, Thousand Islands: Do you think it should be a requirement to teach nutrition in schools, or responsibility at home?
  • Abbey Naumowicz, NYS Fair: Why do you feel high fashion magazines continue to photoshop their magazines when people are outraged by this?
  • Cassie Paradise, Richmond County: How can we mentor children without disabilities to respect children who appear different?
  • Khadijah King, Heart of NY: Do women lack confidence to break the glass ceiling?
  • Lauren Schwartzberg, Crown City: How can we help individuals with mental illness caused by a traumatic event that continues to haunt them?
  • Camille Sims, Pride of NY: Who is the target audience of your magazine “Hot Potato Press”?
  • Rose Bolella, Liberty: How can we make people more comfortable to address mental health challenges?
  • Lexi Swatt, Fulton County: Are there extracurricular activities to boost self confidence?
  • Ashley Davis, Copper City: How Do you instill patience in families who are dealing with Alzheimer’s for the first time?
  • Mackenzie Perpich, Manhattan: Do you feel patients with eating disorders should have insurance to cover treatment?
  • Nina Zesky, CNY: How can we protect the education of today’s youth without making children feel anxious in their school?


  • Willa Hahn (Metropolitan), Abbey Naumowicz (NYS Fair), Mackenzie Perpich (Manhattan)


The contestants wore royal blue swimsuits, sponsored by Kandice Pelletier- former Miss New York. The second night the Gold Group performed a production dance while the Blue Group modeled. Kristina Blackstock (Thousand Islands) was in the production number, but still stood out on the stage. Overall, there was very flat and limp hair, which was probably a result of the heat and humidity in the theater.

Standouts: Cedar Chambers (Niagara Frontier), Gabrielle Walter (Bluebird), Meghan Sinisi (Syracuse), Baylee Simpson (Buffalo)


  • Amanda Abdagic, Empire Rose: an original poem– a letter to her father who is not in her life. Goosebumps across the theater.
  • Allison Carlos, Finger Lakes: Tap dance to Bum Bum– same song and outfit as last year.
  • Jessica Brosofsky, Erie Canal: Vocal of That’s Life by Frank Sinatra– same song as last year.
  • Willa Hahn, Metropolitan: Classical vocal Light in the Piazza.
  • Kristina Blackstock, Thousand Islands: vocal performance to House of the Rising Sun. Very choreographed hand movements.
  • Abbey Naumowicz, NYS Fair: Vocal Performance to On My Own from Les Mis. Fun Fact: this is the song she sang at her very first local.
  • Cassie Paradise, Richmond County: a jazz dance to Fever. Her outfit was completely custom, and she rhinestoned it herself.
  • Khadijah King, Heart of New York:  a slam poetry piece about passion and purpose.
  • Lauren Schwartzberg, Crown City: a monologue based on true events; catching the person who abused her.
  • Camille Sims, Pride of New York: a vocal performance of Sway in both English and Spanish
  • Rose Bolella, Liberty: a character jazz dance to Snap Clap by Icona Pop
  • Lexi Swatt, Fulton County:  vocal performance of “Love in the Dark” by Adele.
  • Ashley Davis, Copper City:  a contemporary dance to Beyonce’s “Listen”
  • Mackenzie Perpich, Manhattan: vocal performance to a classic ballad
  • Nina Zesky, Central NY: a gymnastics routine to the 007 theme song, with her glasses on.


  • Amanda Abdagic (Empire Rose), Kristina Blackstock (Thousand Islands), Camille Sims (Pride of NY)

Evening Gown:

  • Ashley Thakur, Flower City: a bubblegum pink mermaid with a criss cross halter and rhinestoned high waist.
  • Abigail Hoag, Apple Festival: a blue gown with swirl mermaid tail and keyhole back. Possibly a Mac Duggal.
  • Meghan Cahill, Salt City: an off-shoulder emerald gown with tiered mermaid bottom
  • Olivia Martin, Greater NY: a taupe two piece gown gown; solid top and floral bottom with pockets that she won her local in.
  • Emily Drooby, Empire Star: a long sleeved red gown with silver cuffs and a very low swoop draped back
  • Alexandra Harvey-Sprague, Mohawk Valley: a nude gown with cap sleeves and a V back, covered in a lace overlay with stones
  • Cedar Chambers, Niagara Frontier: a beaded strapless mermaid gown with mesh tail inserts
  • Gabrielle Walter, Bluebird: a white jersey gown with a heavily beaded beaded top- criss-criss straps, deatailed beading, and criss-crossed back.
  • Lauren Crandall, Colonial: a pink and grey Ema Savahl gown with hand painted flowers and sheer legs
  • Shelley Jain, Upstate NY:  a simple red mermaid with thin straps and a curved V neckline
  • Meghan Sinisi, Syracuse: a white long sleeved jersey gown with beaded accents on her waists.
  • Baylee Simpson, Buffalo: an emerald gown with sequins over illusion mesh sleeves. Low back with gemstoned chain accent.
  • Jillian Larson, Excelsior: a pale pink spaghetti strap gown with sweetheart neckline and a simple beaded belt.
  • Heather Wolf, Staten Island: a blue jersey Jovani gown. Deep V neck, wide shoulders. Same dress different color as the popular gown last year.
  • Li Ling Rivera, Queens: a bright red gown with many ruffles on the backside, and a razorback zip up the spine.

Favorite Gowns:

  • Gabrielle, Baylee

Preliminary Awards:

Blue Group Talent:($250 Scholarship and 10k In-Kind) Camille Sims, Pride of NY

Gold Group Swimsuit: ($250 Scholarship) Baylee Simpson, Buffalo

Miss NY 2016 Preliminaries- Night 1

State Competitions

On-Stage Question:

The On-Stage Question portion of the Preliminary Competition was based on the girls’ platform. The questions were very balanced and gave the girls an opportunity to shine with a topic they should be very familiar with. Each question was prefaced with, “Your platform is…” to give the audience a quick refresher without flipping through their beautifully prepared program books. The wording below is paraphrased as a result of quick notes, but the subject matter is not altered.

  • Ashley Thakur,Flower City: How can you present your non-profit organization to a middle school when the admin may not be comfortable with the subject (STD/Teen Pregnancy)?
  • Abigail Hoag, Apple Festival: What drives a teenager that taking their life is the only answer?
  • Salt City: What is the demographic at the highest risk for domestic violence?
  • Olivia Martin, Greater NY: What is the importance of cultural institutions?
  • Alexandra Harvey-Sprague, Mohawk Valley: How does Active Minds prevent self injury?
  • Cedar Chambers, Niagara Frontier: What do you say to someone who says they can’t change the world
  • Gabrielle Walter, Bluebird: Are college admin doing enough to prevent sexual assault?
  • Lauren Crandall, Colonial: How can you change the mind of a teenager who is openly against a gay classmate?
  • Shelley Jain, Upstate NY: How has social media impacted self esteem?
  • Meghan Sinisi, Syracuse: Do you feel parents should have their children tested to see if they have the gene for autism?
  • Baylee Simpson, Buffalo: How would your marketing program help art programs that are at risk of shutting down?
  • Jillian Larson, Excelsior: Why do you feel elementary/middle schools are facing challenges keeping funds for art?
  • Heather Wolf, Staten Island: How can you break the silence of a struggling not teen who feels they can be replaced?
  • Li Ling Rivera, Queens: Do you feel texting is hindering out youth’s ability to show their voice?


  • Syracuse
  • Colonial
  • Upstate NY
  • Excelsior


The contestants wore stunning blue swimsuits, sponsored by Kandice Pelletier- former Miss New York and swim wear designer.  The Blue Group performed a catchy production dance before the Gold Group came out to model.

Both Allison Carlos, Miss Finger Lakes and Lexi Swatt, Miss Fulton County had large visible tattoos. This could either be a hit or miss; it shows confidence, but also has that lingering stigma.

Standouts: Allison (Finger Lakes), Willa (Metropolitan), Kristina (Thousand Islands), Khajida (Heart of New York), and Mackenzie (Manhattan)


  • Ashley Thakur, Flower City: played a classical piece recognized from Lady Gaga’s “Alejandro” on violin. No background music.
  • Abigail Hoag, Apple Festival: a lyrical piece to See You Again
  • Meghan Cahill, Salt City: original monologue as the Little Mermaid, and a new version of happily ever after.
  • Olivia Martin, Greater NY:  speed painting to Thriller by MJ. Not choreographed and did not finish.
  • Emily Drooby, Empire Star: vocal performance of Hallelujah to honor the veterans.
  • Alexandra Harvey-Sprague, Mohawk Valley: a lyrical dance to Never Alone
  • Cedar Chambers, Niagara Frontier: an opera piece in an incredibly unique gown. Very eye catching performance.
  • Gabrielle Walter, Bluebird: a theatrical piece (Girl in 14G) from the perspective of a mouse
  • Lauren Crandall, Colonial: vocal performance of a doo-op swing version of Timber by Postmodern Jukebox
  • Shelley Jain, Upstate NY: a Bollywood dance in a bright pink dress
  • Meghan Sinisi, Syracuse: a self choreographed baton twirling routine to Limitless from Wicked. No drops.
  • Baylee Simpson, Buffalo: Ballet en pointe with tambourine to La Esmerelda
  • Jillian Larson, Excelsior: vocal performance of Home from Wicked in a perfectly emerald gown
  • Heather Wolf, Staten Island: an original monologue inspired by her friends who inspired her platform
  • Li Ling Rivera, Queens:  piano and dancing in a unique fusion performance to a Fur Elise remix


Flower City: Ashley has talent, no doubt, and chose a piece that people might recognize without choosing a pop modern song. Her unique gown brought personality to the stage. The only “flaw” was the lack of backtrack, which often pulls the performance together. Otherwise, flawless.

Upstate NY: Shelly’s performance was incredibly high energy and she has a great smile. Couldn’t help but wonder if she was subliminally compared to Nina Davuluri, which might have impacted her scoring. No way to tell.

Syracuse: Perfect song choice for Meghan’s baton twirling routine. High energy with no drops, and a beautiful smile that kept the audience on the edge of their seat until the end.

Buffalo: Baylee had near perfect execution of an iconic piece. Ballet en pointe is hard to enjoy for non-dancers, but the tambourine kept the excitement level there.


Evening Gown:

  • Amanda Abdagic, Empire Rose: a navy lace gown with intricate neckline and slicked back hair.
  • Allison Carlos, Finger Lakes:  a white beaded and lace low v gown similar to the popular jersey gown but with unique lace peekaboo around the knees.
  • Jessica Brosofsky, Erie Canal: a white gown with a Marilyn neckline halter, beaded waist, and lace skirt
  • Willa Hahn, Metropolitan: a fully sequined navy gown with a high neckline, low side slits, an open back and a fabulous train
  • Kristina Blackstock, Thousand Islands: a plum gown with square neckline, mesh side slits, low back and train. Very similar to Willa’s.
  • Abbey Naumowicz, NYS Fair: a strapless purple gown with beaded waist and low sweetheart neckline.
  • Cassie Paradise, Richmond County: a black and silver two piece with asymmetrical sparkles
  • Khadijah King, Heart of NY: a floral white ball gown with a simple beaded waistline.
  • Lauren Schwartzberg, Crown City: a simple jersey gown, blue, with swoop neck and low back. Similar to Willa/Kristina but different neckline.
  • Camille Sims, Pride of New York: a pale blue ball gown with interesting rouching up top and a simple beaded belt.
  • Rose Bolella, Liberty: a long sleeved lace dress with bell cuff wrists. Possibly a Mac Duggal.
  • Lexi Swatt, Fulton County: a wine colored velvet gown with fit and flare ruffled bottom
  • Ashley Davis, Copper City:  a sky blue jersey gown with ruffle peplum in the back and a criss-cross-esque top
  • Mackenzie Perpich, Manhattan: a strapless satin white gown with boning details on the sweetheart neckline.
  • Nina Zesky, Central New York: a jersey white gown with pink ruffle rose train accents, and gemstone chain accents across the neckline and back.


  • Finger Lakes: Allison’s gown was a unique variant of a popular gown, and her height and modeling skills show natural expertise.
  • Heart of New York: Khadijah has an effortless poise about her that really shines.
  • Central New York: Nina had my favorite gown of the night.

Preliminary Awards:

Blue Group Talent: ($250 Scholarship and 10k In-Kind) Meghan Sinisi, Miss Syracuse

Gold Group Swimsuit: ($250 Scholarship) Lauren Schwartzberg, Miss Crown City

Utican Beauty Queens

Pageant Lifestyle

“The biggest misconception [about pageantry] is that title holders are just pretty girls who stand on a stage and wave.” For Yorkville native Alexandra Sprague, pageants are “not like that at all”. Pageant queens are actually community role models, regional representatives, agents for change, and public figures. “We work hard on our platforms and try to ignite social change. We raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network… We are so much more than just ‘pretty’.“

Sprague, Miss Mohawk Valley 2016, is one of three Utican residents who will be making their way to Staten Island in May to compete for the title of Miss New York. Thirty girls will spend a week together in the Big Apple before taking the stage to vie for the coveted state crown.

Utica is no stranger to pageant queens. Jeannette Adronis represented Utica at the 1922 Miss America pageant. Later, Marion Moselle competed and won Miss New York State 1942 as Miss Utica.

The Miss Oneida County pageant started in the early 1960s, and crowned a titleholder each year for nearly 40 years– including Miss New York 1981, Suzanne Alexander. Tammy Harris won the Miss Oneida County title in 1994, and then went on to win Miss New York State in 1996 as Miss Oswego County.

In 1953, Jeannine Bowman claimed the Miss Rome title and competed at Miss New York State pageant, where she took home the crown. Since then, there has been no Miss Rome competition held, and the Miss Oneida County pageant has since dissolved. However, this year marked the inaugural Miss Copper City pageant, held in Rome, for girls across the state. Ashley Davis, a Staten Island native, won the crown and will split her appearances between Rome and Staten Island.

During her private interview at the inaugural Miss Colonial Competition, Lauren Crandall, who went on to win the crown, was asked what she has gained from her seven years in pageantry. “When I first started competing I was a 17-year-old kid in highschool. I thought I had it all together, but in reality I had no idea. Through pageantry I have gained confidence, learned who I am, where I am going. I have a career path, plans to pursue my master’s degree, and a 5 year plan. I know who I am, what I want, and am willing to put forth the work to achieve my goals. The Miss America Organization has encouraged me to truly develop myself as a person and for that I am so thankful.”

Crandall, an Area Coordinator at Utica College, won her first pageant at age seventeen. The Miss Fonda Fair pageant is not a qualifying pageant for Miss New York, but she used it as a launching pad into pageantry. She competed for four more years, placing multiple times and often taking home community service awards, before finally winning a Miss New York local title: Miss Mohawk Valley 2014. From there she went on to win Miss Upstate New York 2015, and now Miss Colonial 2016.

Laurie Jean Britton of Rome, a former Oneida County pageant titleholder, experienced the positives of pageantry after competing in the Miss Greater Utica pageant, and then holding many titles in the Miss America System. “Some years later when I was done competing and the Miss Oneida County pageant no longer took place I wanted to provide a similar opportunity to young women from across the local region and so I began the Miss Mohawk Valley Scholarship Program in 2004.” This pageant gives girls from Oneida, Herkimer, Fulton, Montgomery, and now Schenectady Counties the chance to represent the Mohawk Valley at the state pageant.

Amanda Abdagic, graduate of Thomas R. Proctor High, won her first pageant when she was just eighteen. She competed in the 2013 Miss Mohawk Valley pageant held in Verona, where she performed an original poem explaining the unbreakable bond she has with her mother. She dedicated her year of service advocating for her platform “Coming Together to Say NO to Bullying.” This year she holds the title of Miss Empire Rose.

Amanda and Lauren will be returning to Staten Island to compete at Miss New York, but for Alex- this will be her first time competing. “These two women are absolutely amazing, and I consider myself so lucky to be able to go to Miss NY with them this May! As two former [Miss Mohawk Valleys], I know I can talk to them about anything and everything related to competing and they will be honest with me. I can’t wait to take on Staten Island with two other Uticans!”

The Miss Mohawk Valley organization shaped me into the woman I am today.” Says co-executive director and former Miss Mohawk Valley 2012 Courtney Sheridan. “The best I can do is pay it forward by providing the same opportunities to the dynamic women of the Mohawk Valley.”

The last time three residents of Oneida County competed simultaneously at Miss New York was in 2000. Heather Jennie of Rome became Miss Oneida County, Katie Horn of Whitesboro became Miss Five Boroughs, and Laurie Jean (Fanfarillo) Britton of Rome became Miss Salt City.

The Miss New York pageant will be at the St. George Theater on Staten Island. The preliminary competition takes place May 27 and 28. The final competition, where the winner will be crowned, is May 29th.