On Oct. 8, the Miss Gloucester County pageant announced its newest winner for 2018. This year’s is one of Rowan’s very own.
Miss Gloucester County is a preliminary pageant in the Miss America system. Hannah Vendetta, a junior at Rowan University, was the winner of the pageant and will go on to compete in the Miss New Jersey pageant next June.
Vendetta is a public relation and advertising dual major at Rowan, as well as a runner on the Rowan women’s cross country team.
Vendetta only recently began participating in pageants.
“I’ve been competing for about two years in the Miss America Organization and I started because of a close family friend, Erica Scanlon,” Vendetta said. “She was Miss New Jersey in 2004, and I just started because it’s an organization that allows you to win scholarship money and promote a platform where you’re able to make a difference in other people’s lives.”
She said the first time she entered a pageant, she didn’t have a great result. But she kept on competing and eventually won this year’s contest.
“If I go back to the first pageant I ever competed in, it was a trainwreck compared to where I am now,” Vendetta said.
Many people are familiar with the philanthropic aspect of the Miss America organization. For Vendetta, there was one organization that she said deserved her support. And the cause behind that support stemmed from a death in her immediate family.
“Each girl is given the opportunity to choose a platform and while competing in the organization, you promote that platform every single year until either you age out or you just don’t want to promote it anymore,” Vendetta said. “My platform is ‘Save Your Lungs, Save Your Life’ and it’s educating the youth on the dangers of smoking, and hopefully encouraging them to not start smoking.”
Vendetta went on to explain that when she was 12 years old, her father died from lung cancer. She also said that with an event as tragic as that, she could have either let it bring her down or make something positive come of it. And for her, helping others is a way to bring a positive impact out of the situation that shaped her life at an early age.
Competing in this year’s pageant, Vendetta had an extra bit of motivation to win the event. Her niece Emma, who was rooting her on every step of the way.
“When I didn’t win the first the first two pageants I competed in this year, [my niece] up to me, and she’s like ‘Auntie Han, I just hate it when you lose, can you please win?'” Vendetta said. “When she was there when I won, she was so excited and was telling everybody, and it’s moments like that you really cherish throughout life.”
Vendetta said there was one thing she truly enjoyed about the organization and that was the ability of other people to do what she did and pursue their dreams.
“That’s what I love about the organization, is that I followed in someone else’s footsteps,” Vendetta said. “I was a little girl and I saw a dream, and now this dream is starting to become a reality.”
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