16 April 2009

All-American beauty: Bay State’s Miss USA contestant credits pageants for confidence

This Sunday, Bay State beauty Alison Cronin hopes to follow in the footsteps of Methuen native Susie Castillo as she vies for the Miss USA crown.

“I am ready to show the rest of America what Massachusetts is made of,” said Cronin, current Miss Massachusetts USA, of Weymouth.
Castillo, an actress and former MTV VJ, won the title in 2003.

To make the telecast, Cronin, must be one of 15 finalists.

“You can only compete once for Miss USA. You can only be Miss Massachusetts once. Going to Miss USA is like the United States Olympics for pageants. You’ve got to give it your all,” said Cronin, 21, who graduated summa cum laude with a degree in communications from New York University in January.

Cronin, along with the other 50 contestants, has been in Las Vegas for the last week keeping a rigorous schedule of appearances while competing in the pageant’s preliminary round.

The hectic pace is nothing new for the aspiring actress. The self-described tomboy also was 2005 Miss Teen Massachusetts USA.

Though the routine is familiar, the end result is still a guessing game.

The women will be judged in interview, swimsuit and evening gown categories.

“I think there is that pressure that you are trying to excel in all these areas. (But) it’s never the smartest or prettiest who wins. In the end it’s a game of confidence,” Cronin said.

Last year’s winner, Crystle Stewart of Texas, won a silver medal in the 1994 Junior Olympics and founded her own business.

“It’s not really just about looks and appearances,” Cronin said.

Win or lose, Cronin said she is grateful for the experience.

“I would say that being involved in pageantry is a lot of what has gotten me to where I am today. It helped me grow from being insecure to being more confident,” she said.

The Miss USA Pageant airs live from Las Vegas on Sunday night at 7 on NBC (WHDH, Ch. 7).

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