- Posted January 25, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Tell us the Good Stuff!
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Miss Delaware USA 2008: Vincenza Carrieri-Russo Speaks About Life After Pageantry
She did pageants and pageantry work for over five years before she won Miss Delaware USA 2008. Vincenza Carrieri-Russo worked so hard for so long to reach her goal. I knew that she would be successful even when we were in middle school. Her personality is sincere and her willingness to help others is remarkable. I’m glad to say that she’s my friend. With her busy schedule, she took the time out to truly tell me her story. After all, what others may think she has been through with her career we didn’t know the half of it. I got the scoop.
Vincenza started pageantry when she was just fifteen years old and her mother’s neighbor saw a picture and suggested that she be in a pageant. She competed in the Miss Delaware USA. “ When I competed in the pageant I had no idea what I was doing. I was just told to smile and that’s all I did” Vincenza says. On the first try she got 4th runner up and from then on she was hooked! Vincenza’s mother has competed in a pageant before that’s a part of an Italian club that focuses on the Italian tradition. I will say she got it honestly! “ I always said that I wanted to do that one day. I competed in the pageant and I won so it was a nice experience for me and my family”, Vincenza replies.
For three years Vincenza competed in the Miss Delaware Teen competitions and she won top ten. She then decided to switch to the America system and competed there in 2003-04. She said that the experience was wonderful. While doing all of that she was still competing in Italian pageants too. After doing all of those pageants, Vincenza switched back over to USA and was the first runner up and she came back and won in 2008. I was so excited for her when I saw Vincenza do pageantry for nine years with over thirty pageants and she finally won. Seeing her joy and excitement of her hard work paying off truly inspired me. “ I sacrificed a lot and had to be really determined. I had to get focused with my diet and nutrition. I’m Italian so I love food. I had to stay away from the pizza, pasta’s and breads. It was hard to say no about that. I had to loose a lot of weight for my pageant experience. I had to drop forty-five pounds to get to my goal weight. I had interview training. I had to practice my walk, learn to do my own hair and make-up”, Vincenza states. Listening to her tell me all that she had to endure for pageantry I was in shock because I didn’t know all that it entailed. I have a new level of respect for pageantry girls!
Since her pageantry days, Vincenza has had so many other great opportunities such as modeling for Elle Girl Magazine with a full page spread, she did commercials, she’s a spokes model for an educational game, a supporting role for a film in Italy, modeled in Fashion week and more. “ I was fortunate to achieve my goals but I learned so much from my journey. I always say that you learn a lot more from loosing than you do with winning” she says. When Vincenza said that to me I respected her that much more. Being a classmate and friend of Vincenza’s I witnessed some of the backlash or “hating” as they say and a lot of people think it was easy. Now, twelve years later with me sitting down with her she gave me the real deal about what it was like when she was successful and when she failed. “ My experiences shaped my character and it made me humble. I couldn’t put a value on my crown because I went through so much and I sacrificed so much. I didn’t care because it was my goal. I always tell people whether it’s pageantry or not and you have a goal or dream do not give up. If you keep on falling get back up and keep trying. It took me nine years to achieve my goal but I did it”, Vincenza expresses.
Vincenza isn’t just a beauty queen but she loves to give back to charity. She has her own literacy program that she Co-founded called “Success Won’t Wait” which is a huge part of her life. She’s been doing it for eleven years. I remember when Vincenza and I were in school and she had a learning disability and wasn’t able to read well. To help with her reading abilities she would read to other kids in schools and the newspaper did a story on her. It was that moment that I knew she could do whatever she put her mind to. Her program won a lot of awards on a national level and she’s so thankful. Starting her non-profit organization so long ago and it’s still successful is an honor. “ We all have our struggles and mine was my learning disability in school and working on my reading. I faced it head on and embraced it. Now I’m able to help other people and I promote literacy as Vincenza and not just a beauty queen. Doing great community service my high school inducted me into the Hall Of Fame recently and I’m so thankful for that with my literary organization” Vincenza says.
I’m glad that Vincenza decided to give me the exclusive about all that she’s done over the years. I knew that she was destined for greatness. With all of her success came struggle and it’s all paid off. Vicenza keep shining and doing great things! We have to stick together and support each other as a whole. There are a lot of people in Delaware making their dreams come true, keep grinding. I’m so blessed and humble to call you my friend. Sky’s the limit for you!