Local Beauty Queens to Compete at USA National Miss in Florida

Photo: Among the trio of local beauty queens that will be competing in the USA National Miss competition in Boca Raton, Florida in mid-July are 5-year old Brylea Newman of Alexander (left) and 13-year old Cassidy Carr of Calais. Not pictured: Brooklyn McCarthy of Indian Township. (Photo by Lura Jackson).

By Lura Jackson

Three young women – each with impeccable poise and ample charm – will be traveling to Boca Raton, Florida within the coming weeks to compete in their first national beauty pageant. Cassidy Carr of Calais, Brooklyn McCarthy of Indian Township, and Brylea Newman of Alexander each earned the right to compete in the USA National Miss competition following their recent statewide victories.

“I’m really excited to meet tons of new people from every state, but I’m a little nervous because I’ve never been at such a big pageant before,” shared Carr. At 13, Carr has been successfully competing in area beauty pageants since she was 9; her recognition reached a new height earlier this year when she was crowned Miss Pine Tree State. 

Carr is pleased to be competing in this particular pageant because of the platform it supports and the factors that judges will be taking into account. “This pageant’s really great for community service,” said Carr. “It gives you the opportunity to better serve the community.” Carr is passionate about community service, having contributed over 200 hours of volunteer work to various causes within the past year. One cause, The Perfect Pillow Project, was developed by Carr herself after she considered the impact of domestic violence and personal tragedies that may cause victims to lose their belongings. More than 200 new pillows and blankets have been donated to assist people in such situations. “It gives them a place to rest their head because no one should go without that.”

The platform of this particular pageant is “The Crown CARES” (Creating A Respectful Environment in Schools), which focuses on anti-bullying. For Carr, who says she has been bullied herself, the cause is particularly resonant. “I’d definitely like to do whatever I can to help prevent other people from being bullied,” said Carr. She participates locally in the anti-bullying walk and travels to area schools to speak to her peers about the bullying and how it can be prevented.

During the competition itself, Carr will be showcasing her flute-playing ability in the performing talent portion. For the non-performing talent category, she submitted a poem that she penned and set to a video she developed and narrated herself. She will also be judged on the gown walk, the runway, and the interview portions of her performance. 

Brooklyn McCarthy, who was born in Calais but now resides in Indian Township, is similarly eager to demonstrate her commitment to community service and to anti-bullying. Now 9 years old, McCarthy was crowned USA National Miss Maine Pre-Teen earlier this year. As a fourth-generation Passamaquoddy tribal member, McCarthy is passionate about advocating for the Crown CARES platform as well as breast cancer and Alzheimer’s prevention and awareness. McCarthy will be competing in interview, casual wear, cover model, super model, runway and beauty. “Brooklyn makes us proud everyday for so many reasons,” said Dachelle McCarthy, Brooklyn’s mother. “She is an amazing, smart, caring young lady that her father and I are so very proud of.”

The youngest of the trio to compete is 5-year old Brylea Newman of Alexander. Newman has been competing locally since she was 2 years old, culminating in a successful sweep of last year’s Miss Maine pageant. 

“I like to win,” said Newman when asked what her favorite part of competing was. “I like talent.” Newman’s particular talents include her award-winning baton performances, choreographed with the assistance of Barbara Lara of Barbara’s International School of Dance in Calais. Newman will also be sharing a special unique talent with the judges – one she has been practicing since she was 2. Newman can recite the alphabet backwards flawlessly.

Even though she is only half a decade old, Newman has readily demonstrated her willingness to help her community. She enjoys going to nursing homes to talk with the residents and serve them tea before putting on special performances with her fellow queens. Whenever her school has a function she helps out by handing out programs and she always participates in kindness acts at school. Newman is proud to be part of the Crown CARES program and she talks about the importance of anti-bullying at school and intervenes when she sees bullying in progress on the bus or anywhere else. 

For each of the three young women, participating in the pageants is a joy. “It’s a close-knit community of girls from all over the state,” said Alice “Gert” Newman, Brylea’s grandmother. “They just love each other. They’re like sister-queens. [Brylea’s] very excited to see them all when they get together.”

The competition will be held from July 10th-15th at the Boca Resort & Beach Club in Boca Raton.