The Five-Minute Interview: Miss Virginia, Adrianna Sgarlata

Posted: January 18, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Colleen Kearney Rich

Adrianna Sgarlata
Adrianna Sgarlata
Photo by Evan Cantwell

On Monday, Jan. 29, Mason alumna and current graduate student Adrianna Sgarlata, the reigning Miss Virginia, will compete for the Miss America title.

Sgarlata, an accomplished opera singer, graduated from Mason with a bachelor of music in 2005 and is currently working on a master of music degree.

This year’s Miss America pageant will be broadcast from Las Vegas on Country Music Television at 8 p.m. A profile and photos of Miss Virginia are available online.

Sgarlata’s platform of service includes an anti-bullying campaign called BRAVO, an acronym for Behaving Respectfully and Valuing Others. As director of the Virginia chapter of Bully Police USA, a national nonprofit organization, she has traveled around the state promoting anti-bullying campaigns in schools and relating her own childhood experiences with bullying.

On Saturday, Feb. 17, she will be singing the National Anthem at the Mason Homecoming game in the Patriot Center.

How do you prepare for something as huge as the Miss America pageant?

W-O-R-K – plain and simple. For the last seven months, I’ve prepared by making appearances around the state, from classrooms to Capitol Hill, ballrooms to boardrooms, meeting with students, legislators, teachers, researchers, parents, you name it. My routine when I’m not making appearances (and there have been more than 300 – plus driving 5,000 miles a month) is: Two hours a day in the gym with my personal trainer, then answering e-mails on my platform, BRAVO,and then if I’m really lucky I’ll get to go out and release some stress by bargain shopping. There are a million and one little things needed for a competition on this scale. And visiting my sponsors – who provide a lot of support – everything from clothes, manicures, gym memberships, even fruit smoothies (really).

When you were a child, did you watch the pageants and aspire to be Miss America? I loved watching pageants, but I never gave any thought that this was me or could be me – the thought never crossed my mind. I’m actually a late bloomer in the pageant world. I’ve only ever competed a total of eight times, losing five, winning three.

Has anything surprised you during your reign as Miss Virginia? I wouldn’t say “surprised,” but “touched” would be a better word. I’m always touched by the love of others toward Miss Virginia. I only get to hold this title for one year, but the public reveres and loves their Miss Virginias. From little children that I’ve read to at the mall to those who received Christmas presents when I rode the Santa Train with country music star Allison Krauss, to hosting the five-day Military Idol international webcast at Ft. Belvoir, being Miss Virginia is a privilege of a lifetime, and my life has been touched by being able to touch the lives of others.

At what point in your life did you become interested in singing? I sang a lot around the house, probably because my mom is always singing and whistling. But I never gave it much thought to do it “for real” until ninth grade. It was by accident. I discovered a long-lost elementary school friend was in a church choir that sang all around Northern Virginia. She talked me into trying out for this choir. The choir director saw something, or at least heard something, she liked, and offered to give me voice lessons. And the rest is history.

What are you most proud of? I’m probably most proud of having the stamina and fortitude to have now made more than 300 appearances – oftentimes traveling as much as 8 to 10 hours in a day, and speaking at two or three different events at opposite ends of our commonwealth. I’m proud that I was able to work with others for eventual passage of two laws to protect victims of bullies in Virginia, and then to serve on a national committee to help other states pass similar laws. It’s estimated that there are more than five million victims of bullies, and another three million bullies. I’m proud that my work is forcing character education training that encompasses simple basic human decency training, so kids will learn the importance of behaving respectfully and valuing others.

When the crown and the sash come off, what do you do for fun and to relax? I have the greatest mom in the world, and I love shopping with her. She’s my best friend, and I love her dearly. I have also been blessed with a wonderful boyfriend, and he and I enjoy working out together and just talking to each other. I also love the ocean and beach and snow skiing.

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