Miss New Hampshire Crowned: First of the MAO class of 2013

Twenty-two year old Samantha Russo waves after being crowned Miss New Hampshire on April 27.

Twenty-two year old Samantha Russo waves after being crowned Miss New Hampshire on April 27.

Samantha Russo became the first of the Miss America class of 2013 when she was crowned Miss New Hampshire at the Stockbridge Theatre at Pinkerton Academy in Derry on April 27.

The 22-year-old former Miss Souhegan Valley is from Nashua and is a graduate of Emerson College. Her platform is Kick Butts: Tobacco Education and Prevention. This was her first time competing for a state title.

Russo performed the vocal “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” during the talent portion of the competition.

“I’m feeling incredible,” Russo said, immediately after her crowning. “I have no words right now.”

Russo said what may have helped is that she got a lot of sleep the night before the pageant finals. She had won the Lifestyle and Fitness in Swimsuit preliminary on April 26, as well as the preliminary Talent Competition on April 25. Those category wins helped Russo feel more calm and confident on the finals night.

“I was really at peace,” she said. “I had already won the two prelims and I was happy with that. I went into today thinking ‘whatever happens happens.’ I knew I had made it so far, and I was just happy.”

Samantha Russo hugs her father just after her crowning.

Samantha Russo hugs her father just after her crowning. Photos by Steve Smith Photography. www.stevephotographysmith.com

The moment when she was standing on stage waiting for the final announcement with runner-up Kendall Wipff was a mix of emotions.

“I was shaking and I was pretty sure I was crying,” she said. “I told myself to breathe and keep calm. I was imagining what it would be like to squat down and get that crown on my head….and it feels amazing.”

Russo was also amazed at being the first Miss America 2014 contestant crowned this year, and the first who will appear at the national competition’s return to Atlantic City in September.

“It’s so exciting,” she said. “I feel like I have so much time to prepare. I’m so excited to go to Atlantic City. There’s so much history there…and I’m excited that I don’t have to fly. To wrap my mind around the fact that I’m going to Miss America is impossible.”

Closer to the top of her mind was Russo’s plans immediately after the pageant.

“Sleep,” she said, “and maybe eat a candy bar or something.”

For more information, visit www.missnh.org.

Samantha Russo reacts to the news that she is heading to Atlantic City as the new Miss New Hampshire.

Samantha Russo reacts to the news that she is heading to Atlantic City as the new Miss New Hampshire.

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