A new Miss America will be crowned later tonight and Staten Island native Jamie Lynn Macchia hopes to bring the crown back to New York one more time. The 22-year-old Staten Island Technical High School graduate is a veteran of the pageant circuit and is hoping to follow in the footsteps of fellow New York City denizen Kira Kazantsev and take the top prize.
Unfamiliar with Macchia until now? Here’s a quick primer on the pageant hopeful.
She’s persistent when it comes to her goals: Macchia has been trying to get to the Miss America pageant since she first started competing as a high school senior. Now 23, this year was her last year of eligibility. She told NY1 that she was very aware her time was running out throughout the Miss New York competition in June. "It pushed me to give it everything I had. It was amazing,” she said.
She’s a proud supporter of New York’s finest: Each year, the pageant contestants participate in the “Show Us Your Shoes” parade on the Atlantic City boardwalk the day before the televised festivities. According to SILive, Macchia’s shoes were covered with over 1000 crystals and the FDNY logo. Each and every day these men and women put their lives on the line to keep New Yorkers safe … [The shoes] are my way of saying thank you." she told the site.
She’s a Beyonce fan: In fact, she’ll be performing a lyrical dance set to the superstar’s hit “I was here” in the talent portion of the competition.
She’s committed to fighting pediatric cancer: Macchia’s cause is raising awareness of and funds for pediatric cancer, a disease she has a personal connection to. She often speaks about her childhood best friend Dominic, who died of cancer when they were 15. “Over 10,000 kids under the age of 15 will be diagnosed with cancer this year. I want to be a force in making a change to bridge the funding gap, raise money for the necessary research and give our kids a fighting chance,” says Macchia in her official pageant biography.
She wants to make it a four-peat: New York has had a historic run when it’s come to recent Miss America winners, with the last three hailing from the Empire State. And the most famous Miss America alum will also be in the house on Sunday. Actress and singer Vanessa Williams will be among the pageant’s judges, more than thirty years after Williams became the first African-American winner.
Lakshmi Gandhi is Metro's social media manager. Follow her on Twitter @LakshmiGandhi.