As a child rising up in Brentwood, Lengthy Island, Miss New York USA Briana Siaca might by no means have envisioned a future as a magnificence queen.
“Brentwood is comprised of hustlers and other people simply attempting to outlive. You’re surrounded by violence,” Siaca informed The Publish of life as a “painfully shy” teen amidst the MS-13 riddled space. “I knew all about medicine and gangs by 10. We couldn’t play outdoors, there have been fixed slashings and shootings. There’s no room to dream.”
Now, the 27-year-old, who works as an operations supervisor for a world funding agency, is about to compete within the Miss USA pageant, airing stay on FYI at 8 p.m. Monday. Siaca has spent the previous six years striving to win the state-wide contest and make it so far.
“It was actually tough to face defeat annually,” stated the Lengthy Island Metropolis resident, noting that dropping was by no means an possibility. “I knew victory was inside attain.”
Raised by a single dad, an Military vet who labored in building, Siaca was a tomboy who discovered to alter a flat tire years earlier than she knew tips on how to apply mascara. “I didn’t have that optimistic feminine function mannequin rising up,” Siaca informed The Publish simply earlier than flying out to Tulsa, Okla., for the large pageant. “My sister turned a teenage mom at 15.”
She selected to pursue a distinct path. “I made a decision in highschool I need a greater life for myself,” she stated. Siaca utilized to Tempo College to review chemistry and was accepted. Her dad needed to refinance his home to assist pay her tuition.
In 2015, her curiosity in pageants was piqued when she was flipping by means of a college e-newsletter that includes a Miss New York USA. “I used to be lonely and insecure. I wished to problem myself with one thing to assist me develop,” she stated. “One thing that might make me really feel good and do one thing that might completely terrify me.”
Prepping for her debut on the Miss New York USA pageant in 2016 was a metamorphosis — each bodily and emotional. “Rising up, I used to be not a gorgeous woman,” stated Siaca, who famous that she was at all times self-conscious about her outsized glasses and frizzy hair.
“I didn’t actually know rather a lot about make-up or hair and I by no means went to the health club earlier than pageants — it was sort of a crash course earlier than my first pageant,” she stated.
However she positioned first runner-up. “I had no concept what I used to be doing, however I believe they liked that I introduced a contemporary vitality and innocence.”
The platform modified how she noticed herself intellectually: “I by no means felt like I had a voice. I felt like I suffered in silence,” she stated. “I went from the woman who didn’t communicate till spoken to, to the woman who can’t shut up.”
She turned hooked on the fun of the competitors — and would go on to enter yearly for six consecutive years, at all times putting within the prime 5.
Forward of her ultimate pageant this previous August — the max age for rivals is 27 — she got here to comprehend that her dream of successful won’t come true. “I used to be OK with any final result and that additionally modified my vitality,” she stated. “I thought of my neighborhood and what I might do with the title. This time round, there was a peaceful about me.”
Then, on the Resorts World Catskills lodge in a sea of 160 contestants, she gained. “I couldn’t imagine it. I simply began weeping,” she stated. The newly topped queen tearfully devoted her win to “the little ladies in Brentwood who don’t suppose they’re worthy of their desires.”
Now, she goes again to her center and excessive faculties to talk to the children about constructing self-confidence. She additionally volunteers with the non-profit Women Inc., which advocates for underprivileged ladies. She not too long ago hosted a “Confidence Undertaking” throughout which she shared insights with the children about cultivating self-worth. Miss New York choose Antonio Estrada was dazzled by Siaca. “She was poised, elegant and actual. Her story, the place she comes from a single dad, is so shifting,” stated the style designer. “She’s somebody lots of people can look as much as — she’s so inspirational.”
However behind the glamorous facade of the competitors is rigorous work, Siaca stated. She sleeps eight hours an evening, with lights out at 11 and a wakeup-call at 7. She hits the health club each earlier than and after work, with numerous weightlifting, bench urgent and squats. There’s water coaching, largely simply decreasing water consumption two days earlier than a pageant, a course of that’s designed to scale back water retention and assist emphasize belly definition onstage. “It’s fairly intense. Once I’m coaching for a pageant, there’s no stopping me.”
And it doesn’t come low-cost, both: most contestants have a staff, together with coaches and private trainers, and have to purchase their very own robes and jewels. “They name it the ‘wealthy ladies’ sport,” she stated. “And I’m positively not a wealthy woman. Each greenback I made I put it into this. I’d fund myself.” Siaca has shelled out hundreds for attire and coaches. Whereas she now has sponsors that contribute to her coaching, together with her office, GEM (International Rising Markets), Siaca admitted that prepping is a full-time job on prime of her full-time job. At 5-foot-6, she’s been busy practising to stroll in her eight-inch heels, praying she gained’t fall. “This yr I discovered I’m one of many shorter contestants,” she stated.
Regardless of her success, pageant life isn’t summer season camp. “I’m not making associates at these pageants — ladies don’t need to discuss to me,” Siaca stated throughout a February 2021 podcast, “Podcast and Chill,” concerning the cutthroat course of. However she respects all of the contestants. “It’s a few of the strongest, well-rounded, dynamic girls on the planet.”
Huge Apple magnificence queens are identified to be particularly fierce, making Siaca’s success over time all of the extra notable. “New York is arguably one of the crucial aggressive states to win,” stated the self-described “late bloomer.”
The “very single” magnificence queen admitted that since her win, increasingly more guys are popping out of the woodwork, sliding into her DMs with brazen — however largely respectful — requests for a date.
“[There are] greater than I’d prefer to admit,” she stated. “[But], I respect them — it takes a variety of braveness.”
To maintain her focus, she’s holding off on relationship till the pageant’s over. That’s not the one factor she’s wanting ahead to as soon as her tiara days are behind her. What else is on the post-pageant agenda? “An additional facet of fries could be cool,” she stated with amusing.
Make-up: Briana Siaca
Hair: Antonio Estrada
Styling: Estrada Twins