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Law student crowned Miss North Haven
Whether in court or on the stage, Lisa Giordani, 23, first year law student at Quinnipiac University, has earned the title Miss North Haven 2004.
Last year, Giordani was crowned Miss Greater Hamden and was first runner up in the Miss Connecticut Scholarship Pageant, which she will compete in again in New London on June 26.
Giordani is a resident of North Haven and is excited to support her hometown roots.
“It was nice to be able to represent a town that I’m part of,” Giordani said.
Having been in pageants since age seven, competing was nothing new to Giordani. Her oldest sister was Miss New Haven County in 1990, so she felt it was natural to her to enter the competition herself.
She said her main motivation for competing was to win money to pay off her college debts. After graduating Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in international relations, she realized she had a lot of college loans to pay off.
“The money is the best part of it,” she said.
So far, Giordani has won $7200.
Giordani’s issue of concern is “Volunteerism: A Life-Long Commitment.” She said she wants to be a positive role model.
“I deal a lot with children, [so] to be a good representative is very important to me,” Giordani said.
She combined her love for dancing and community service by joining Kids for Kids: Dancing for Life Incorporated, in North Haven. She joined at age 14, and is still active.
“I’ve gone from a youth member to the board of directors,” Giordani said.
The organization ran a one day dance competition and donated their $2,000 profit. Kids for Kids is currently at the $300,000 mark in donations.
Along with the organization, Giordani has helped build a library and a handicapped accessible playground, as well as participate in walks and drives.
“I’ve been a volunteer since I was a little girl,” Giordani said. “For me, it was always a part of my life. Having kids see the importance of volunteering is my goal.”
In order to keep in shape, Giordani said she generally uses dancing as her gym time. She dances tap, jazz and ballet, but focused on tap for the talent portion of her pageant.
Giordani came in first place for the talent competition and excelled in the interview portion of the competition. Other areas where Giordani shined were the lifestyle and fitness in swimsuit portion and presence and poise in evening wear.
“I was very pleased with that. It was a nice recognition of the work I’ve put in,” she said.
Giordani said her success in the swimsuit competition is a nice compliment to receive but, like everyone else, she does not want to walk across the stage in a bathing suit.
In contrary to stereotypes, she said the judges interpret the swimsuit competition as a portrayal of a woman’s fitness and healthy lifestyle and not just a beauty pageant.
“Seventy percent of the score has absolutely nothing to do with what you look like,” Giordani said.
Giordani is a research assistant for the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities. Holding a full time job, attending law school and competing in the pageant is a lot to juggle, but Giordani has a positive attitude about things.
“It’s been hard. I was hesitant to compete this year,” Giordani said. “Schoolwork comes first before my job.”
After seeing good friend and Quinnipiac physical therapy graduate Marla Prete in the Miss America pageant, Giordani had a whole new attitude about competing.
“Having the opportunity to see Marla compete and speak with her definitely put the bug in me,” she said.
The reigning Miss Connecticut, Marla Prete co-hosted the Miss North Haven Pageant with Quinnipiac University School of Communications adjunct assistant professor Kenn Venit.
A large part of the judges’ decision is the personal interview, which is about twelve minutes long. There are ten minutes of questioning and 45 seconds to open and close. The panel of judges asks questions about current events and the contestant’s cause for concern.
“I read the newspaper to keep up on things,” she said. “If nothing else, I’ve been able to stand up in front of a group of people and express myself intelligently.”
Giordani said the encouragement of her family and friends has been beneficial to her.
“They’re absolutely supportive. It makes a huge difference having them cheer for you,” she said.
Giordani stated although it is hard to avoid judgment and criticism, she will do her best to stay focused on her goal.
“This year it’s about going out there and doing my thing and not listening to what others have to say,” she said. “I’m going to give it my all and whatever happens, happens. I’m doing it for me this year.”