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Lidia Ryan Updated 5:19 pm, Friday, July 28, 2017
Lana Coffey has done a lot in a short time.
She as lived in upstate New York, Westchester County, New Canaan and Greenwich. She graduated early from her high school in Westchester at the age of 16 and moved to Manhattan to attend Hunter College full time while pursuing a career in modeling. She has competed in the Miss Connecticut Teen USA pageant three times, and she won in 2016.
Now, at age 18, she is attending Bentley College in Boston and competing in the Miss Teen USA pageant in Arizona on July 29, 2017.
Q. How did you get into pageants?
A. I got into it because I was modeling in the city and it sounded like so much fun. When I was younger I would watch it on TV and thing 'Oh my God, look at those gowns; they're like princesses.' As I got older, I realized how title holders can impact people's lives and decided to go for it.
Q. Why did you choose to do the Miss Universe program (which includes Miss Teen USA, Miss USA and Miss Universe)?
A. The most important thing about Miss Universe organization is that they really value the girls. They value more than just physical, but also intelligence and character. I really admired that.
I dislike the term 'beauty pageant;' I wish they would get rid of that term.It's about women empowering other women, not a cat fight that everyone makes it out to be.
Q. How does the Miss Universe program allow you to showcase your intelligence and character?
A. We had interviews this weekend, they speak with you you and you write a bio about your accomplishments. There are also interviews with media outlets; it's a great way to practice public speaking. You just talk and let people know who you are. Regardless of if you win or lose you get so much exposure and life skills.
Q. How has life changed since you won Miss Connecticut Teen USA?
A. I won on my birthday weekend; I turned 18 that weekend and could have done the Miss USA competition, but I'm very young at heart so chose to do Miss Teen. I'm actually a junior in college outside of Boston so I've had to take a lot of trains to meet with directors and do programs.
Q. Do you have support from friends and family?
A. My family is supportive..some of my family is flying in. Not every friend is necessarily supportive; it's the stigma of a beauty pageant. People don't understand what it means to be a title holder, what it means to compete...I have received some criticism but you just have to face it head on. I think it's important when you do face that criticism to not shut down. If more people understood it, every single girl would be joining.
Q. What will life be like if you win Miss Teen USA?
A. A whole lot of fun for sure....For me, it's not just a crown and a title, it's what you do with your year and how you create your legacy. I would be so ecstatic to bring the title home to Connecticut.
Q. What does Miss Teen USA do?
A. A lot of charity events. [For example] we're partners with Best Buddies, which helps people with special needs...So many great events...we work with different sponsors, go to New York Fashion Week.
Q. Do you do any diet or exercise to prepare for the competition?
A. They changed [the swimsuit portion] to active wear–it can be leggings, shorts, workout tops, sports bras–which is really awesome because what that portion of the competition is not about who is the skinniest, it's about a healthy lifestyle....you don't have to have a six pack or biceps...they're telling girls to embrace that. I don't have a six pack and the girls next to me do, but we all feel so confident.
I ate ice cream last night; I don't do a diet plan but I like to find fun ways to workout whether it be hiking, swimming.
Q. How do you feel on the last day before the pageant?
A. Kind of sad. We only get four days here in Phoenix, so I'm sad it's almost over.
Q. What have you been doing to prepare for the competition?
A. We have a lot of rehearsals because we put on a great production. We do interviews with media outlets, mini photo shoots, a lot of fun stuff...went to the science museum.
Q. Will you continue to compete?
A. Hopefully next year I wont be able to because ill be Miss Teen USA, fingers crossed. I don't think I will ever compete in a different pageant system; I love the Miss Universe.
Hopefully I'll become Miss USA and Miss Universe, and do it all down then line.
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