Bristol teen named pageant semifinalist


For her first time competing in a beauty pageant, Sophia Desmarais is pretty excited she was named a semifinalist.

The 14-year-old Mt. Hope High School sophomore competed in the Miss Rhode Island Teen USA pageant Sept. 7 - 8 in Cranston. Out of 60 teens, she ranked in the top 13. Two other contestants were also from Bristol, Alexis Franco and Tianna Murgo.

"It's definitely something I love doing," she said. "I thought it would be a cool experience and it was."

Fueled by a first-place win in the Swansea Mall fashion show recently, Sophia researched more avenues that would allow her to model. She found Miss Rhode Island Teen USA and applied.

"We were excited for her because it was her first time doing this," said proud mom Jasmin Desmarais. "She was going up against a lot of girls who were older and more put together. The fact she was a semi-finalist was phenomenal."

Girls competed across three platforms - an interview, swim suit competition, and evening gown wear.

"The scariest part for me was the interview," Sophia said. "Just talking to people that I have no idea who they are, or just what to expect. I didn't know what they were going to ask."

But once she got in the interview room, the three-minute ordeal proved a lot less stressful than she imagined.

"Once they started asking questions I became more comfortable," she said. "They were just asking question about me, and I know myself better than anyone, so it was just telling them about me."

The girl who loves to wear heels and dresses with "bling," surprised judges when she told them about her turtle-catching hobby.

"I'm not all about the dresses and fashion when I go to Vermont," Sophia said of her favorite vacation spot. "I'm in a pond catching turtles. Just down-to-earth."

Sophia is on the high school competitive cheerleading team and has even placed in the top 20 in all-state cheering competitions. She is also on the high school honor roll.

For her ranking, Sophia was awarded a full scholarship to Lindenwood University in St. Charles Missouri. And while she loves fashion and hopes to pursue a career in that field, she admits she's still too young to make any decisions about her future.

"As I get older I'm changing my views about things," she said. "I definitely want to go to college, but I'm not sure which one yet. I thought I wanted to be an elementary school teacher, but now I'm not sure."

Gabriella Maggiacomo, a 17-year-old from Hope was crowned Miss Rhode Island Teen USA 2014.


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