As the Miss USA Pageant Approches, ladies across the country are preparing themselves for a life altering experience that could define their future.
Representing Connecticut is 26-year-old Marie-Lynn Piscitelli. The North Haven native started competeing in pageants when she was 14 and, after a string of placing but no wins, she secured the title of Miss Connecticut in last year's state competition.
Piscitelli has a background as a tax accountant, but decided to move on and pursue her career as a makeup artist. She owns Makeup by Marie-Lynn and enjoys taking part in fitness competitions.
On June 3, Piscitelli and her fellow contestants will compete live in Las Vegas to determine who will reign as Miss USA 2012.
Piscitelli broke away from her busy schedule to catch up with North Haven Patch and share her experiences.
North Haven Patch: If you could give a shout out to any of your former teachers, who would it be and what would you say?
Piscitelli: One teacher that I had all four years in , I always took her Italian class every year - Mrs. DiGennaro. I loved going to her class. Mr. Petolla, now he is the Assistant Vice Principal I believe, but he was my English teacher and I'll see him at football games. Whenever I go to games I always stop by to see him.
North Haven Patch: As a fitness competitor, what’s your typical daily fitness regime to keep yourself in tip top condition.
Piscitelli: I was a fitness instructor in college and, while I wanted to look great, I also recognized the health benefit. I want to be around for my kids and grandkids and that means having to account for what you're eating and staying active in your lifestyle.
I enjoy going to the gym and working out. I try to work out through the week and I'll do weight lifting two to three times a week and cardio th rest. I also take two days to rest, which is important to do. I love to weight lift for the health aspect and to tone my body. Sometimes I'll do yoga, sometimes the eliptical or kickboxing or I'll run outside. It all depends on my mood. Right now I’m doing workouts like squats, lunges and pushups in my own home to prepare and my cardio is around 30 to 45 minutes or more.
North Haven Patch: As a makeup artist, what is your main, go-to beauty product that you just can’t live without?
Piscitelli: It changes everyday. I love trying new products. The Rodan and Fields Dermatologists Micro Dermabrasion Paste is an exfoliator that I carry and give to my clients. I do that two to three times a week and your skin feels so fresh after using it. As a title holder, sometimes I have to wear a lot of makeup and it can feel really heavy, so this helps keep my skin feeling so fresh.
North Haven Patch: What advice would you give to young girls considering pageantry?
Piscitelli: Do your resarch. Find out what you need to work out. There is an interview and an eveing gown segment. It requires a lot of research and knowing your own personal beliefs an making sure you lead a healthy lifestyle. Find a gown that goes with your personality. You don't have to do it alone. There are consultant stylists to work with. Be yourself. You are your own individual and you need to be true to yourself.
North Haven Patch: What community or charity work have you engaged in?
Piscitelli: I used to volunteer every Friday in college to raise money for Susan G Komen, making phone calls, organizing the office, answering phones, doanting funds or participating in race for the cure where I volunteered as well. I'll still contnue to do that.
Another project is the Special Olympics. I've done many appearances for them and will continue to do so. Another one is the Thirst Project. I met the founder and it helps build wells and water supply in underdeveloped countries, which is something I'm looking forwar to.
Also, for two years I was the national treasurer for HARMD (Helping America Reduce Methadone Deaths). My uncle was accidentally overdosed in a hospital and it actually killed him, so that was somehting very near and dear to my heart.
North Haven Patch: What qualities do you think will make you an ideal Miss USA?
Piscitelli: First off, I'm a very passionate individual. I'm passionate about my family, my friends, my job, fitness, makeup. It's very inherent in my culture. I'm one hundre percent Italian, we’re very passionate in everything we do. It's so important to have that qality as Miss USA. You really need to have that in the charity work that you do and for the businesses you work with.
I am also very determined. Four years placing without a win, I could have given up after so much rejection, but I didn't and I learned more about myself and improved every year. I also graduated in three years. I was ready to hit the ground running and join the work force and I had a job lined up before I graduated. I would definitely call myself determined, which is an important quality to have because this title is what you make of it. Being driven and determined are the qualities you need to succeed as Miss USA.
There will be a "Fan Vote," which allows America to select one of the semifinalists for Miss USA 2012. Cast your vote either at the Miss USA website or on the NBC website. You can also vote on the Miss USA Facebook page.