Alissa Parlante to compete in Miss Connecticut's Outstanding Teen Competition
By Corey AmEnde - Staff Writer
East Hartford - posted Fri., Jun. 14, 2013
When she’s making public appearances, the crown on Alissa Parlante’s head immediately identifies her as a pageant queen. The white sash slung over her shoulder proclaims in red stitching her title as Miss Hartford County’s Outstanding Teen. Her smile radiates with her sense of accomplishment and pride, knowing the obstacles she has overcome to get to this point in her life.
“When I was younger, I was so shy and I didn’t think that I would have the confidence to get up on stage and do what I do,” explained the 16-year-old. “So that’s probably the biggest shock to me, was how such a shy and timid little girl could change in such a short period of time.”
Parlante, a junior at East Hartford High School, said even after she won her title at Miss Hartford County’s Outstanding Teen in November, she was still a little shy. “But now I can talk and I can have a full conversation with somebody with no problem,” said Parlante.
“When I was 11, I would always stand behind my parents. Even at a family function, I would be so shy and I wouldn’t really talk to anybody.” Parlante said she recognized the fact that she needed to address her shyness, and her opportunity came in the form of a letter to her friend, Katie. The letter was for an open call for a pageant.
Parlante, 11 at the time, begged her mom to let her compete in the pageant. “She didn’t think that I would even enter because I was so shy,” recalled Parlante. Her mom agreed to let her go under one condition. “She said, 'Alissa, if you can go out and earn the $440 for the entry fee then you can do it,'” explained Parlante, who did wind up earning the entire entry fee.
“That was probably the start of me overcoming my shyness, because I didn’t go to just family; I went to local businesses and neighbors and friends of the family, so I kind of had to get over my shyness and talk to people about what I’m doing and why I needed them to support me.”
Starting at the age of 11 years old, Parlante competed in the same pageant system without winning, so she stopped competing for a year and a half, until her 16th birthday was approaching last August. And she knew exactly what she wanted for her birthday.
“I said, ‘Mom, please just let me do a pageant for my birthday; that’s all I want,'’’ said Parlante. Her mom agreed and she entered the pageant last November at Rocky Hill High School, where she won the title of Miss Hartford County’s Outstanding Teen.
During her reign as Miss Hartford County’s Outstanding Teen, Parlante said her favorite experience has been her visit to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital in Hartford, where she met a small child with a brain tumor. “She was so adorable, and I got to be around kids and I got to see where the money that I raised goes to,” said Parlante, who aspires to be a pediatrician.
But for now, she focused on the upcoming Miss Connecticut’s Outstanding Teen Competition. “If I won, I’d be completely blown away,” said Parlante. “It would mean so much to me to just because I’ve put in so much work and so much effort into this.”
The Miss Connecticut and Miss Connecticut's Outstanding Teen Competition takes place at the Garde Arts Center in New London on June 20-22. For more information, visit www.missctamerica.org.