This post was published at TheWhitOnline.com on Oct. 10, 2012.
In most cases, the word ‘pageant’ is followed by a negative stereotype: catty, superficial girls who are obsessed with their bodies and hair. However 2011 Rowan alumna Lindsey Petrosh, who has been crowned Miss Atlantic County and Miss New Jersey, is proving the stereotype wrong and competing for the title of Miss America.
Petrosh has been performing since she was seven and has competed in many talent shows. A passionate singer, she won an Atlantic County Talent Search when she was 16, winning entry to a New Jersey Outstanding Teen Pageant. Despite having been forced into it by her parents, Petrosh fell in love with the program and knew she wanted to become Miss New Jersey someday.
And she did. On June 16, 2012 Petrosh was crowned Miss New Jersey after having won the title of Miss Atlantic County in 2010 and again in 2011.
Pageants have opened many doors for Petrosh and have given her many opportunities, one being the chance to sing at the ABC Thanksgiving Day Parade in Philadelphia this November. Although the 23 year old loves the opportunities that pageants have presented her, she wasn’t always a fan of them.
“I was never your typical pageant girl. I never wanted to get involved with pageants. I thought it was too girly of an activity for myself,” Petrosh said.
When compared to other pageants such as Miss USA, Petrosh thinks Miss America is a better organization.
“We focus on scholarships whereas the other pageants focus on beauty, face, and body,” Petrosh said. “Miss America looks for a holistic girl who encompasses a talent, and a girl who excels in academics and maintains a healthy lifestyle.”
Through the influence of her family, Petrosh is a huge supporter of volunteering. She uses her voice to promote volunteerism by going to nursing homes and children’s hospitals to sing to patients.
The Egg Harbor native will be promoting volunteerism this Saturday as she hosts a 5k walk and pancake breakfast in her hometown to promote the Children’s Miracles Network and raise $10,000 by January, a goal she has set for herself.
Although the girls in the Miss America competition are competing for a rigorous title, Petrosh says you would never know it.
“If you run out of bobby pins, they will be the first ones to give you one. It’s really amazing to see girls you’re competing against show acts of kindness,” Petrosh said. “It’s a scholarship pageant, these girls are educated. They want to make the world a better place and it shows.”
This January, Petrosh will be competing against 53 other women for the title of Miss America in Las Vegas. Only the top 15 will make it to the finals.
When it comes to No. one fans, Petrosh says it’s a tie between her parents and her boyfriend of four years, 2011 Rowan alumnus Chris Delia.
“I’m happy for her,” Delia said. “There’s going to be some good competition and I think that’s what’s going to make it fun for Lindsey, because she’s a competitor. If she just goes out there and has fun, I think she can be amongst the best of them.”
Preparing to compete for Miss America is anything but easy. Petrosh is currently seeing a trainer two hours a day and making multiple appearances across the Garden State to promote and prepare herself. She is also taking a year-long leave of absence from graduate school, where she was studying higher education and administration.