by MIKE CHAIKEN
There were masks and fancy dress at Waterbury’s La Bella Vista on Thursday night.
But among the young women attending the Miss Connecticut’s Outstanding Teen Masquerade Ball, the evening also was about showing solidarity with their gender.
The fundraising event was intended to help the next Miss Connecticut’s Outstanding Teen pay for her journey to the national event in July. No one in attendance knew who that Outstanding Teen would be. But they were willing to help, and support, whoever it would be – even if it meant it might not be them.
Ashlyn Manuel, Miss Fairfield County’s Outstanding Teen, said, “It is so incredibly important for women in today’s society to lift each other up and celebrate one another’s accomplishments because when we support and empower one another it benefits everyone.”
“We need to be here for each other when we need uplifting instead of going against each other,” said Allie Maisto, Miss Greater Waterbury’s Outstanding Teen.
Autumn Schless, Miss Naugatuck Valley’s Outstanding Teen, said, “When you feel supported by other women you get the sense of being able to accomplish anything.”
However, said Monika Korbusieski, Miss Wolcott’s Outstanding Teen, “I think everyone should lift each other up regardless of gender, race, etc. I feel that today’s society is too concerned with supporting just a singular group and not everyone.
“At the end of the day, the young woman that wins (Miss Connecticut’s Outstanding Teen) should be supported by her fellow titleholder,” said Maggie Wernicki, Miss Mum City’s Outstanding Teen. “Events like this make it possible for her to focus on preparing for her next level of competition knowing she has an amazing group of girls that have her back.”
The young women at the ball felt their generation was better equipped in demonstrating solidarity with their fellow women than previous generations had been.
“Women have been changing the traditional image of what they should or should not be,” said Schless. “With more women working and taking on leadership roles now more than ever before it gives all females confidence and creates solidarity.”
“I think woman today have more of a voice than past generations,” said Korbusieski. “We are taken more seriously and our opinions are being heard. Because of this, we are definitely better equipped.”
“Women are creating and accomplishing such amazing things today and you can either be a part of the successes or get out of the way,” said Manuel.
“Every day we face obstacles and challenges,” said Wernicki. “Nights like tonight allow us to celebrate our accomplishments and each other.”
“We all have the same goal,” said Maisto, “so in the end we should always support one another to reach it.”
PHOTOS by MIKE CHAIKEN