by MIKE CHAIKEN
A woman from Wolcott is continuing the town’s tradition of producing statewide pageant title holders as Cynthia Dias was crowned Miss Connecticut USA on Sunday afternoon in Windsor.
Mya Xeller of North Haven was selected as Dias’s sidekick for the year. The 17-year-old, who will go on to compete for Miss Teen USA, was crowned as Miss Connecticut Teen USA.
Dias, 22, was still trying to compose herself after the crowning while waiting for an onslaught after contest photos.
Asked how she was doing after in-between hugs from families and friends, Dias said, “I feel just beyond blessed.”
“I’m so excited,” Dias said, who works in the human resources department at Bridgewater Associates, an asset management firm in Westport. “My village (of supporters) is here. They’re the reason I made it this far.”
Dias, who is working toward her master’s degree at the University of New Haven, had been Miss Connecticut’s Outstanding Teen in the Miss America Organization system in 2014, when she 14 years old. She said she wanted to come back eight years later and compete again for another crown and sash because of the “impact we (titleholders) have on this world. The community. Everything.”
Plus, she added, “Fifteen years from now if I said I didn’t try (to compete again) I know I would kick myself in the butt.”
The town of Wolcott has had a special touch with pageants through the years. As she stood in her newly won crown and sash, and armed with a victory bouquet, Dias was hugged by a former Miss Connecticut Teen USA and Miss Connecticut Alyssa Taglia of Wolcott, who is now an anchor at WTNH Channel 8. Wolcott also was the home to former Miss Connecticuts in the Miss America system such as Amy Zappone and Emily Audibert as well as former Miss Connecticut’s Outstanding Teen Samantha Anderson.
However, there has not been a Wolcott woman holding a Miss Connecticut USA title in recent memory.
“I don’t know what’s special about the town,” said Dias of Wolcott’s winning touch. “That’s where I was born and raised. And there’s no other town like Wolcott. I love it to its core.”
As the year progresses, Dias said, “I am looking forward to spreading my initiative of eating disorder awareness, mental health awareness” Echoing the Miss USA’s current branding, Dias said, she was looking forward to “bringing pageant reimagined to the service here in Connecticut. Then in September or August, potentially bring back the Miss USA crown , of course.”
The exact date and location of the national competition for Miss USA and Miss Teen USA competitions have not been announced. The winner of Miss USA also will compete for the Miss Universe title.
Contestants at Miss Connecticut USA and Miss Connecticut Teen USA were judged on Saturday and Sunday in evening gown and lifestyle wear (swimsuits for the Miss contestants and athleisure wear for the Teens) categories. They also were judged on a private interview with judges.
Photos by Mike Chaiken
Cynthia Dias is crowned Miss Connecticut USA.
Mya Xeller is crowned Miss Connecticut USA
Cynthia Dias and Mya Xeller greet the crowd.