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

NY’s Interstate Sweethearts

State Competitions

Almost immediately after Miss New York was crowned, Nina Zesky (Miss Heart of New York 2015, 2nd RU) announced that she would be representing the Empire State as New York’s Sweetheart at the National Sweetheart pageant. Jamie Lynn Macchia, Miss New York, made history last year as the highest placing NY representative at the Sweetheart pageant, going home as 1st Runner up. Who knows- this could be the first year that New York takes the crown.

As the deadline for Sweetheart registration quickly approaches, two more “interstate queens” have accepted the Sweetheart title for their state. Even though they are not representing New York, they are still considered a part of New York’s royalty and deserve support. Last year, Allie Curtis (former Miss Upstate New York 2013) represented Rhode Island at the National Sweetheart pageant and went on to secure the Miss Rhode Island title. This year three ladies who had formerly competed in New York will try for the National Sweetheart title, and perhaps take their state title next year!

Rose McClimans (IN) Rose McClimans (IN)

Rose McClimans competed in Miss Finger Lakes 2014 and went home as 1st Runner Up. Although she is a resident of Syracuse, NY, she decided to continue her competition years in Indiana where she attends Notre Dame University. Last year she rounded off the Miss Indiana Top 5 as 4th Runner Up. This year, she made the Finger Lakes region proud as she shared the final two spot, and was announced as the 1st Runner Up. Rose will compete at the National Sweetheart pageant as Indiana’s Sweetheart, but she will still be in our NY heart.


Jessica Johnson (WI) Jessica Johnson (WI)

Jessica Johnson competed in Miss New York 2012 as Miss Liberty City, through eligibility from school. Although she did not make finals, she earned a special spot in the New York Local Legacies. She returned to Wisconsin and competed again, but did not place. Finally, her final year of competition, she earned a local title and worked her way to the top . Even though she did not win the title, she finished strong as 1st Runner up. Jessica will compete at the National Sweetheart pageant as Wisconsin’s Sweetheart, but is also still a part of our NY heart.


Michela Moe (IL) Michela Moe (IL)

Michela Moe had previously competed in Miss Hawaii as Miss Maui, and earned a spot in the Top 10. She took a few years off while attending Ithaca College in New York, before competing, and placing in the top 5, in the Miss Thousand Islands pageant. She accepted a job in Chicago, Illinois and relocated to the Windy City. There, she competed again, this time earning one of the three local titles crowned.  She competed at Miss Illinois, earning the 2nd runner up spot. Michela will compete as Illinois Sweetheart at the National Sweetheart pageant as Illinois’s Sweetheart, and still be in our NY heart.


The National Sweetheart pageant will be held on Labor Day Weekend. Be sure to keep an eye out for the webcast, so you can support Nina, as well as Rose, Jessica, and Michela on their Road to Miss America National Sweetheart.

Empire State Divas Compete in Georgia, Indiana, and Wisconsin

State Competitions

Its no secret that New York is where dreams are made. But for some of the former titleholders or contestants, they chose to pursue their Miss America dreams elsewhere. So far four former Miss New York contestants have competed in other states (Catch up: Rhode Island & Hawaii and Pennsylvania & Illinois), but this week was extra special. Four former Miss New York contestants, and one honorable mention, all competed for three different state crowns. Even cooler, three of this weekend’s Empire State Divas had competed (and either won or placed) in the Miss Finger Lakes local pageant.

Who to Watch:

  • Camille Sims, Miss Fulton County (Georgia)
    • Competed in New York due to education eligibility at Cornell University
    • Miss Finger Lakes 2013, Top 10
  • RoseMcClimans, Miss Collegiate North (Indiana)
    • Lives in Syracuse, NY but attends school at Notre Dame
    • Competed at Miss Finger Lakes 2014, 1st runner Up
  • Jessica Johnson, Miss Harbor Cities (Wisconsin)
    • Competed in New York due to education eligibility
    • Miss Liberty City 2012
  • Mary O’Connell, Miss Heart of the Valley (Wisconsin)
    • Competed in New York due to education eligibility at Syracuse University
    • Miss Empire Star 2013
  • Katheen Raab, Miss South Bend (Indiana)
    • Was eligible in New York due to education at NYU, but did not compete

Empire Girls Compete in Pennsylvania and Illinois

State Competitions

This past weekend, two beautiful and intelligent young women took the state stage after competing in New York with eligibility earned from school.

Julia Rae Schlucter, former Miss Metropolitan 2014, grew up in Pennsylvania where she held the title of Miss Pennsylvania’s Outstanding Teen in 2008. While in Orlando at the national competition, Julia took home the 1st Runner Up spot at Miss America’s Outstanding Teen. She took a few years off from competing, until 2014 when she competed in the New York Local pageant and earned the Miss Metropolitan title with Kira Kazantsev, who earned the Miss New York City title, and Christina Moore, who took the Miss Cosmopolitan title. Julia secured a spot in the Top 10 at Miss New York, but decided that she was ready to compete for her home state. Competing in New York gave her valuable experience, and kept her stage ready until she returned this year to vie for the Pennsylvania crown as Miss Philadelphia.

Michela Moe competed as Miss Maui 2009 at the Miss Hawaii pageant before moving to New York for college, and was a Top 7 finalist. It wasn’t until her final year in school that she decided to compete for the Miss Thousand Islands title. Although she did not win, she took the 1st runner up spot, and potentially re-sparked her interest in the Miss America title. She returned to Ithaca College, finished her degree, and found a job in Chicago Illinois. It wasn’t long before she competed for the Miss Chicago triple crown pageant and earned the title of Miss Windy City.

Night 1 Preliminaries

The Miss Pennsylvania pageant had two nights of preliminary competition. On Wednesday, June 10th, Julia competed in the talent competition, and tied for the talent preliminary award with Rebecca Potts.  She pushed through to finals, landing a spot in the Top Ten on the finals night. Julia wowed the judges with her prelim-winning talent, as she performed a pop country vocal piece. As the Top 5 placement was called, Julia was left standing with Ashley Schmider. Ashley took the crown, leaving Julia with the 1st Runner Up spot.

On Wednesday, Michela had her private interview with the judges in the morning, then later during the first night of preliminaries, Michela competed on-stage in the Lifestyle and Fitness competition. On Thursday, she brought a taste of the islands to the Windy City, and performed a hula dance. Although she did not win a preliminary award either night, she secured a spot in the Finals as People’s Choice. During the finals, her composite scores were still high enough to launch her into the Top 5. Crystal Davis won the title of Miss Illinois, but Michela didn’t go home empty handed. She placed 2nd Runner Up, and shared the Top 5 with Lily Arendt, Kogan Murphy and Janna Harner.

New York may not be their home, but there is no doubt that once the experience and education earned in New York indicates their greater destiny. Great job, Julia Rae and Michela!