Children’s author named new Miss Connecticut
By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Statewide - posted Mon., Jun. 27, 2011
“I’m still in shock,” said Hamden’s Morgan Amarone, just minutes after being named Miss Connecticut 2011 on June 25 in New London.
“It’s a little bit surreal,” she said. “It’s been six years [that] I’ve been involved with this organization, so this is just the culmination of a lot of hard work. I can’t wait to represent Connecticut. I’m ready for it and I’m really looking forward to it.”
For the 23-year-old whose local title was Miss Southington, the Miss Connecticut duties (in addition to preparing for the Miss America Pageant next January) will add to her already busy schedule. Her coronation coincides with the publishing of a children’s book she wrote about dealing with childhood cancer, called “Madison’s Journey.” Not coincidentally, her platform is “The Power of Pink – Cancer Education and Awareness.”
Amarone had visited with many school-aged children and spoken about cancer prevention and awareness, and was asked to do some interactive work with the kids. She decided the easiest way to do that would be to write a book and read it to the children, which she has been doing over the past several months.
“This is icing on the cake with the book coming out,” she said. “That was incredible in itself.”
Amarone had already scheduled a book-signing appearance at the Miss America Outstanding Teen Pageant in Orlando, Fla., in August, and will now serve a dual purpose there.
“I’ll be promoting the Miss Connecticut organization and getting national exposure,” she said. “I can’t wait.”
She is also launching a campaign to get her book into classrooms all across the state, but her immediate plans right after her coronation were a bit simpler.
“Tonight, I’m going to eat some cupcakes, because I’ve been dying for them,” she said. “Tomorrow, I’ll relax a little bit and contact the sponsors that I’ve already been in conversations with and solidify them for this year, because it’s so important for this organization.”
Facing 18 other young women in a talented field, Amarone said she felt most confident after the preliminary rounds when she won the lifestyle and fitness judging.
“That really gave me the confidence to go into today and leave everything out on the stage,” she said. “I knew I did well in my talent, and I feel like Miss America in this evening gown. I really felt my best.”
When Amarone was on stage as one of the last two contestants (along with runner-up Miss Nutmeg Jessica Lesage, of Wallingford) she knew she was in good company.
“We went to Quinnipiac University together, we were in the same sorority, and we were in dance company together,” Amarone said. “We’ve been through a lot, and to be the last two standing was just a surreal moment. I don’t think either of us could really believe that we were there.”
Morgan’s mother, Regina Amarone, naturally was proud.
“I’m elated,” she said. “I’m honored that my daughter’s going to be able to represent this organization – something she’s very passionate about. This is really what she wanted to do.”
Regina said Connecticut will really like her daughter, once the state gets the chance to know her.
“Morgan is a very passionate, determined young woman,” she said. “She is very mature, and she has a to-do list. She goes through it and checks things off, and she’s done a lot in her short 23 years. I think the whole state of Connecticut, and probably beyond, will get to see what a special young woman she is.”
Nicole Nemense, from Watertown, was named Miss Connecticut’s Outstanding Teen at the pageant.
“I’m feeling great,” she said. “I never really expected this. I came such a long way, so this is just a blessing.”
Nemense said she felt confident coming into the pageant, but never quite certain.
“There’s always that little un-sureness that you have when the nerves start kicking in,” she said, “but I tried to stay cool, calm and collected.”
For Nemense, who was Miss Westbury’s Outstanding Teen, the moments when she was one of the last two finalists gave her a sense of déjà vu, as she was the runner-up in 2010.
“This happened to me last year,” she said. “When they called my name, it was such a surreal moment.”
Nemense’s platform, “Dance – a Path to Positive Self-Esteem,” is something she said she is eager to have more opportunities to promote.
“I’m really excited to just expand and teach girls the real importance of positive self-esteem,” she said.
For more information, visit www.missctamerica.org.