by MIKE CHAIKEN
A woman who has been knocking at the door of Miss Connecticut for five years is the new state title holder. And a young woman who was first trotted out on the Miss Connecticut stage while still an infant, is the new Miss Connecticut’s Outstanding Teen.
The precursor to the Miss America competition was held Saturday afternoon at the Cabaret Theater at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville.
Sylvana Gonzalez, 24, of New Britain—who was competing as Miss Farmington — is the new Miss Connecticut. She will now go on to compete at Miss America at the Mohegan Sun this December.
Peyton Troth, 14, of Bristol – who was competing as Miss Hartford County’s Outstanding Teen—is the new Miss Connecticut’s Outstanding Teen. She will go on to compete for the title of Miss America’s Outstanding Teen this summer in Florida.
Still wiping away her tears of joy after having won, when asked how she was feeling about having one, Gonzalez replied, “Oh, my God. Blessed. Blessed.”
The 24-year-old said Saturday was her fifth attempt at the crown.
Although the title took some time to come into her possession, Gonzalez said she has grown as a person since she first tried to be the state’s representative to Miss America.
“I always said every year that I stepped on the stage I grew to be a stronger and more empowered self than the year before… Every year you should grow whether you’ve won or not. (My participation in the competition) was about what impact (I) could make on the world. And every year has been monumental.”
Gonzalez’s social impact program addresses domestic abuse. Gonzalez has spoken openly about how she is a survivor of domestic abuse.
Asked what she would say to women or men who are going through what she went through, Gonzalez said, “I think that I only got where I am right now because I believed in the power of what love can do and how valuable I was because of the people I was around.”
To those experiencing domestic violence, Gonzalez said, “I would just encourage them to find their community of people who can help rebuild them, to get them back on their feet and build them back to the woman (or man) they are supposed to be. They are worthy of a beautiful life.”
As her year as Miss Connecticut begins, Gonzales said she is looking forward to “talking to people. I can’t wait to talk to people about my social impact (focus) and I can’t wait to go back into schools to just serve this organization and give back to them everything they gave to me.”
As soon as Troth was born, she found herself a focus on the stage of the Miss Connecticut’s stage. Her mother, Nakiya Troth had run the Miss Connecticut’s Princess (and Prince) program to introduce the Miss Connecticut program to a new generation. Her mother later became executive director of Miss Connecticut.
“The first time I came out on the Miss Connecticut stage, I was in a bunny costume. Now I’m in a dress with sash on. So, it’s absolutely amazing,” said the Bristol teen.
“I know my little me is in awe,” said Troth.
As her year as Miss Connecticut’s Outstanding Teen begins, Troth said she will be introducing the state to Peyton’s Promise, a nonprofit that she runs. “I give essential learning tools to kids across Connecticut. So, throughout the year, I’m going to make sure that kids are getting the tools they need to get the education they truly deserve.”
Troth said she is looking forward to going to compete at the national competition. “Miss America’s Outstanding Teen is my absolute dream. I wanted to compete ever since I was younger.”
More importantly, said Troth, “I’m really excited to spend the year with Sylvana (Gonzalez).”
The top five for Miss Connecticut was rounded out by first runner-up Miss Greater Waterbury Leah Juliette of Wolcott, second runner up Miss Wolcott Laura Christie, third runner-up Miss New Hartford Olivia Carlson and fourth runner-up Miss Farmingbury Ashlyn Mercier.
First runner-up for Miss Connecticut’s Outstanding Teen was Miss New Haven County’s Outstanding Teen Grace Kelly.
PHOTOS by MIKE CHAIKEN
The new Miss Connecticut Sylvana Gonzalez reacts to having won the competition Saturday at the Cabaret Theater at Mohegan Sun.
Miss Connecticut’s Outstanding Teen Peyton Troth reacts to winning Saturday’s competition at the Cabaret Theater at the Mohegan Sun.