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JBriaan Johnson | @JBriaan_Johnson Jul 6, 2017
Mass communication senior Laryssa Bonacquisti accomplished a childhood dream and honored her grandmother’s legacy when she was crowned the new Miss Louisiana on June 24 in Monroe, Louisiana. Bonacquisti has been participating in pageants since she was a child, she said.
“Truthfully, this opportunity is one that I’ve dreamed of for as long as I could remember,” Bonacquisti said. “Growing up as part of this organization, you always dream of winning the state title. The fact that I had an opportunity to do so, and now … competing in Miss America, is something beyond my wildest dreams.”
Throughout the competition, Bonacquisti reigned victorious in the the talent and swimsuit preliminaries prior to winning the crown. Bonacquisti’s mother taught her ventriloquism, her skill featured in the pageant's talent portion, when she was just 6 years old. In her act that included singing and yodeling, Bonacquisti featured her two puppets: Lucky and Lucy.
“She taught me the basics and I picked it up really fast, just like some people do with other activities that they’re meant for,” Bonacquisti said. “It’s been one of the greatest blessings. It’s a different, unique talent, but it’s also one that appeals to people of all ages.”
Upon winning the pageant, Bonacquisti was overcome with joy and excitement. The most gratifying take away from her victory was her platform gaining recognition, she said.
Bonacquisti advocates for awareness of pancreatic cancer, a disease her grandmother battled for seven months. Her strong bond with her grandmother serves as an immense motivational tool in her pageants, as well as her everyday life, she said.
“She’s my motivation,” Bonacquisti said. “Her life represents everything I want to be.”
As someone who has participated in pageants throughout her life and worked in LSU Student Media, Bonacquisti has learned a variety of skills that will help her down her career path and with her time left at the University.
As the new Miss Louisiana, Bonacquisti will represent the state in the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, New Jersey this September. With this honor, Bonacquisti knows the weight of the responsibility with the opportunity before her.
“I’m very aware of the responsibility and what’s coming next,” Bonacquisti said. “It’s coming really fast, and I need to be ready for it.”
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