For The First Time, Again: Miss Hampton Beach Pageant Returns In Full Glam
A storied tradition has returned to Hampton Beach. Amid glitz, glamour and sky-high heels as the 75th Miss Hampton Beach, Lauren Brophy, was crowned. After a pared-down version last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the historic event that draws young women from all across New England to New Hampshire’s Seacoast came back in its full form for the first time, again.
“I'm still like, I don't even know that there's a sparkly crown on my head right now, I'm so awestruck right now,” Brophy said, beaming.
The 19-year-old Hampton native wore a rhinestone-studded dress, with amber hair cascading in waves down her back. As last year’s queen, Anna-Marie Alukonis, clipped the glittering crown to Brophy’s head, her hand was clasped over her mouth.
“Though my reign is over, you are continually a part of the Hampton Beach community,” Alukonis said.
Nine other hopeful queens stood behind her in a crescent shape, applauding their pageant sister for her win.
Brophy’s win is a landmark. Seventy-five years of queens came before her. Stephanie Lussier has been there for 25 of them. The former queen earned her title in 1995. After the pageant was canceled without an organizer in 1996, she stepped in to make sure the Hampton legacy didn’t end there.
“It's a long-standing tradition and there's a lot of women that came before us and I'm glad that, again, that I get to continue that tradition,” Lussier said. “It's a lot of work. But you see how many people are here today that support it.”
The competition combines a swimsuit, evening wear and interview section. The judges compile scores from each to determine the top contender. Each contestant glided effortlessly in heels, first to the right, then the left. Some gave the signature pageant wave — elbow, elbow, wrist, wrist.
For some contestants, there were role models who stood in their shoes years before. As 17-year-old Mackenzie Pinet waited outside the dressing room in the minutes before she was called on stage, she recalled the family history that comes with the pageant.
“[My mom] actually was Miss Hampton Beach in 1999, so she kind of inspired me to do it,” Pinet said. “But I also wanted to build friendships and do it and push myself out of my comfort zone.”
Pinet’s mother was one of several queens who returned to the beach to watch and be a part of the judging. Halfway through the pageant, they were called on stage for a raucous round of applause, raising their intertwined hands above their heads. Once a queen, always a queen.
For the rest of the year, the winning queen Brophy will represent Hampton Beach at festivals, parades and events, a symbol of everything Hampton has to offer. But for now, she said she has other plans.
“I really would love to go get some fried dough at Blinks and play in the arcade and maybe have a lemonade with my family to celebrate,” Brophy said.
She’s just going to enjoy the beach like she always does, but this time, with a crown.
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