For Madison Gesiotto, pageants are a chance for her to feel like a princess. On Nov. 9, she received her crowning moment.
Gesiotto, a fourth-year in political science, was named Miss Ohio USA 2014. She is set to represent the state of Ohio at the Miss USA Pageant in 2014.
Growing up as a competitive figure skater in Massillon, Ohio, Gesiotto never put much thought into entering the world of pageantry.
However, after a little push from her mother and younger sister, who is about six years younger than Gesiotto and also competes in pageants, Gesiotto eventually agreed to give it a try.
“My mom and my sister really wanted me to try one, and eventually I agreed to compete in my first pageant, the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival Pageant,” Gesiotto said. “I was selected as a member of the court and had the honor of escorting Dick LeBeau (former defensive back and current defensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers) when he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame (in Canton, Ohio).”
Last year, Gesiotto took her first shot at the Miss Ohio USA title. She was named third runner-up.
“The first time around, I didn’t do much to prepare because I wasn’t sure what it was all about at that level,” Gesiotto said.
For this year’s pageant, Gesiotto took the preparation process much more seriously and sought the coaching of professionals, including renowned pageant coach Bill Alverson, who has coached 2013 Miss America Nina Davuluri and 2012 Miss America Mallory Hagan, and personal trainer Josh Rogers.
“Bill Alverson came up from Alabama and helped me with the interview portion of the pageant,” Gesiotto said. “For your personal interview, it’s based off of your résumé, so it’s easier to prepare for. But the top five question is random, so we practiced answering political and current event questions on the spot.”
A top five question is asked to the final five pageant contestants. A question, written by the judges, is drawn at random from a bowl, and the contestant is given 30 seconds to answer to her best ability. This allows the judges to rank the women and determine the winner.
Gesiotto said the top five question is exciting because the question could be anything. Gesiotto said her top five question dealt with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) and its effect on young Americans.
“It is exhilarating not knowing what will be asked and coming up with something at the top of my head,” Gesiotto said. “My interest in politics also helps with the interview portion.”
Melissa Pitchford, a representative from Proctor Productions and the director of Miss Ohio USA and Miss Michigan USA, said in an email Madison really gained speed when answering her final question, according to the judges’ comments.
Gesiotto said training for the swimsuit portion of the pageant was the most challenging aspect of the preparation process. She explained that she did not have to give up a lot of food, but she made “great efforts to eat healthier and eat a more balanced diet.”
“I am Italian and absolutely love pasta, so it was hard giving it up,” Gesiotto said. “But once I got into a routine, it got easier, and I started to feel much better and much healthier.”
When Gesiotto was crowned as the winner, she said she knew the hard work had paid off.
“When they announced my name as Miss Ohio, I was absolutely shocked, and I don’t think it set in for about a day,” Gesiotto said. “Once it did set in, it was just a feeling of gratefulness to be able to represent Ohio and the Miss Universe organization, as well as further my career.”
Now that she is Miss Ohio, Gesiotto said she will work throughout the year to prepare for the Miss USA Pageant in 2014. Also, she will work with philanthropic organizations, including The Pink Ribbon Girls, a support group for young women who battle or are survivors of breast cancer.
Gesiotto said she also received a $47,000 scholarship to Lindenwood University, located in St. Charles, Mo.
Gesiotto does not plan to attend Lindenwood and plans on attending law school after she graduates from Ohio State, but wants to first use her current status as Miss Ohio to try to develop a political awareness-type campaign in public school systems.
“A lot of kids in our generation do not know what’s going on in politics, and I think we should implement a program at a young age to help promote political awareness and civic duty,” Gesiotto said.
Alessandra Gesiotto, Madison’s sister and a freshman at Jackson High School, has competed in 11 pageants, has won three state titles and one national title.
“The most challenging part of pageants is getting over your fear of walking and talking in front of tons of people,” Alessandra Gesiotto said.
Alessandra Gesiotto said she aspires to follow in her sister’s footsteps and compete in the Miss USA pageant one day.
“Pageants can be hard, but they are so fun,” Alessandra Gesiotto said. “It is fun meeting all of the girls from all over the country.”
Now that Madison Gesiotto has clenched the title as Miss Ohio USA 2014, her schedule is busy right off the bat.
“I’m going to Austin, Texas to design my Miss USA gown, then I am going to the Bahamas over Thanksgiving break for the ‘Battle 4 Atlantis’ NCAA basketball tournament, where I will be making an appearance with nine other state title holders and also doing some volunteer work,” Madison Gesiotto said.
The date of the Miss USA 2014 pageant has not yet been released.
Although pageants are an individual competition, Madison Gesiotto said the most important thing she has learned from her experience in them is team bonding.
“Communication is such a huge thing in pageants. You are with a lot of girls all the time, and it is so interesting to meet all of the other inspirational women and learn from them and watch and see what they are all doing,” Madison Gesiotto said. “During a pageant you get to feel like a princess, and that’s not something that gets to happen everyday.”