A Q&A with the newest Miss Massachusetts

By Tanner Harding | Jul 12, 2017
Courtesy of: Seaside Crossfit

Mattapoisett — Mattapoisett resident and Old Rochester Regional graduate Jillian Zucco was recently named Miss Massachusetts, and will be competing in the Miss America pageant in September. Miss America will air on Sept. 10 on ABC.

Sippican Week recently sat down with her to talk about her win, what's next and what she does on the rare day off.

Sippican Week: How did it feel to win Miss Massachusetts?

Jillian Zucco: I was just ecstatic. I had been first runner-up twice, but you just never know. It’s so subjective, and it’s a different group of judges every time. This was my fifth time competing, and I worked really hard for it. So I’m glad my hard work paid off.

SW: Do you have any special plans for Miss America?

JZ: I have a special costume planned for the Special Shoes Parade, which is iconic on the boardwalk of Atlantic City. Everyone wears something that represents their state. As far as the pageant goes, we’re still working on plans and wardrobe and details.

SW: What has been the biggest obstacle you’ve faced to get to this point?

JZ: I think the idea that people have about pageants in particular is sort of difficult. A lot of people don’t know what the Miss America Organization is and how it’s different from other beauty pageants. There’s a whole list of rules and I don’t think the word "beauty" is in there once. It’s not a beauty pageant. It’s a scholarship organization. It’s about academics and everyone has a platform. It’s not a beauty pageant, so you always have to explain that.

SW: What sparked your interest in doing charity work?

JZ: It was my parents. When I was as young as 4 and 5 years old, my parents go me into volunteering and community service. I became an alter server at my church, and my mother founded Showstoppers, a community-service singing troupe. Just getting involved in those things sparked my love for volunteering in general, just knowing you made a difference. The volunteer benefits as well. I just love it.

SW: As a full-time nurse and pageant competitor, what does an average day look like?

JZ: There’s a lot of prioritizing and making lists. Thankfully, my work has allowed me to go per diem, so it’s a very flexible schedule. It’s definitely difficult, so I have a monthly calendar. Everyone asks me why I don’t use my phone [calendar], but I just need to see it all laid out. I As far as a typical day, I don’t think I have one. I watch the news every morning to keep up on current events…this past week I’ve had interviews and done photoshoots for publicity. I did a parade on the Fourth of July. Every day is definitely different.

SW: When you’re not working or competing, what do you do in your free time?

JZ: When I get a free moment I like to read, I like to kayak, I like to go camping with my family. I love to lift weights, I do cross-fit…I like to sing, I grew up as a competitive dancer so I like to go back to the studio and dance and do choreography.

SW: What does your upcoming schedule look like?

JZ: The last week of July I’ll be in Orlando for Miss America orientation. And then, I want everone to save the date, on August 11 I’ll have a send-off to Miss America party. It’s also a fundraiser for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital, our local one is Boston Children’s. It’s a cause that’s near and dear to my heart because I was treated there for a long time when I was three years old. The party is open to the public, and details are to follow, but if you search on Facebook "Miss Massachusetts Jillian Zucco," I’ll be posting updates. It’s at the Century House in Acushnet.

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