Glastonbury's Erin Brady named Miss USA
By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Glastonbury - posted Fri., Jun. 28, 2013
Glastonbury resident Erin Brady was crowned Miss USA on June 15 in Las Vegas on national television.
Brady, who grew up in East Hampton and graduated from Portland High School, represented the Nutmeg state as Miss Connecticut USA at the national pageant. She will actually be trading in her South Glastonbury digs this year for a penthouse in New York City – the headquarters for the Miss Universe/Miss USA organization - and is embarking on what will be a whirlwind tour of the country and elsewhere, as part of the duties that come with her title.
Brady, in an interview with the ReminderNews, said that when she was standing as one of the last two contestants, a mix of emotions was running through her. Miss Alabama USA, Mary Margaret McCord, was the eventual runner-up.
“You're excited, and kind of a little scared,” Brady said, “because you realize your life can change in a matter of seconds. You're just so happy, because if it wasn't me and it was Alabama, she's a great girl and I could have lived vicariously through her. But, when I heard 'Connecticut' and all the screams afterwards, I almost blacked out for a moment, because I didn't really know what was going on and I was taking it all in.”
Brady added that re-watching that moment was great, because she was able to remember it better, but also to see the reactions of the other contestants and the audience, as well as her family.
She said she spent the first week after her crowning on a media tour across the country, including TV, radio and newspaper interviews, and getting used to living in the city, as well as meeting with sponsors and organizations she'll be working with. She said she's already learned to expect the unexpected this year, but is also being well-prepared for what's ahead.
“I have a sense of that, but what's great about this is that it's all thrown at you spontaneously,” she said. “In August, I'll be traveling to the Bahamas for the Miss Teen USA pageant there, and then I will be traveling to Moscow, Russia, for the Miss Universe competition. It's so exciting. We'll be there for about 26 days. They're really warming us up there.”
Brady will also be traveling and advocating for breast and ovarian cancer awareness and education, as well as her own personal cause of helping children who have grown up in homes with parents who have substance abuse issues. Brady's own parents are recovering addicts, and she said she struggled to cope and live with that. She eventually took charge of raising her younger sisters, and leading them through that process.
“You just kind of become a second parent to them and try to help them live their lives to their fullest ability,” she said. Brady learned lessons that she can now share with a larger audience, including some young people to whom she hopes her teachings will be valuable.
“I'm trying to be a really great role model and show them that there are other people in this world that they can look up to, and that it doesn't have to be their destiny as well,” Brady said.
Long-term, Brady said she plans to continue using her financial background, and likely will pursue her MBA, but she said her job as Miss USA may open doors to her that she may not have considered previously, including becoming a model or a television host.
“I'm looking forward to whichever path strikes up for me,” she said. “Like maybe an anchorwoman or financial analyst like Suze Orman. It's cool because it's the beginning and I can sort of cater the next year to what I see myself doing, and the opportunities that will be given to me will be great.”
Brady said her win – the first for Connecticut in the 62 years of the program – helps put the state on the pageant map. Her reign overlaps with the current Miss Teen USA, Logan West of Southington, giving the state a one-two punch.
“It's awesome,” she said, “representing the Northeast.”
Brady said she is grateful for the support shown to her by her hometowns of East Hampton and Glastonbury, as well as Portland, which declared June 19 “Erin Brady Day.”
“It's so great for my family and friends that they get to live vicariously through me, too,” she said. “I know where my roots are, and I am really happy that I can share this experience with all Connecticut. We've gone through a lot in the past year, and it's kind of nice to have a positive light on us.”
For more information, visit www.missuniverse.com/missusa.