Time for Miss Maritime

Winning a pageant could be a lifelong dream. Or, in the case of Sarah Rioux, the dream of a week and a half. A mere week and a half after deciding to do pageants, Rioux earned the title of Miss Maritime 2018.

Although new to the pageant scene, Rioux is no stranger to the stage.

“From the time I was young, you could tell I loved to be onstage,” Rioux shares.

A dancer of 13 years, 10 of which she has been dancing competitively, it was ultimately the dance world that served as her introduction to the pageant world. She grew interested in competing when she attended a local pageant to support one of her fellow dancers. Rioux admits that, prior to the pageant, she was unaware about the true objective of pageants. However, after further educating herself, she was pleasantly surprised.

“I realized the Miss America organization does not do ‘beauty’ pageants,” explains Rioux. “It is a scholarship organization, and they give money to the young women who hold these titles.”

Six days after making the decision to compete, Rioux took on her first pageant as a learning experience. Although she did not leave with a crown, the welcoming nature of her fellow contestants encouraged Rioux to continue competing.

Rioux, who was accustomed to the hostile atmosphere of dance competitions, was surprised by this welcoming nature.

“I’ve been a dancer for years, girls will only sometimes wish you luck backstage, and those are the nice ones.” she elaborates. “But at pageants, everyone is just rooting for each other and uplifting each other.”

The morning of her second pageant, she took the SAT in full hair and makeup, and then raced off to compete. Beginning the day with a rigorous standardized test may not be the most conventional way to prepare for a pageant, but clearly, Rioux is not one to abide by conventions.

The pageant was a “double day” pageant, meaning there were essentially two competitions in one day, both of which Rioux competed in. In the first, Rioux won “Top Talent” but did not win a title.

Before competing in the second of the day, she had no premonitions of winning. The girls she was competing against had more experience and more stage-time so she resolved to simply try her best. This strategy worked in Rioux’s favor. That night, she was crowned Miss  Maritime 2018.

The third time may have been a charm, but was certainly not the end. Following her victory is a year of serving the community as Miss Maritime. Rioux’s service platform is Quality and Affordable Childcare for Low Income Mothers.

Affordable childcare is a cause that came to Rioux’s attention while doing volunteer work at a daycare in Waterbury. She witnessed a lot of families having to leave daycare due to financial difficulties, and knowing the kids were not necessarily going to suitable preschooling care concerned Rioux.

“They may be put in the care of someone who may not know how important reading to them or even singing to them really helps early development,” explains Rioux. “If this type of stimulation is not present in their early life they can be behind their entire academic career.”

For the next year, Rioux plans to work with daycare providers and daycare financial support organizations to make a difference.

Her service is not the only thing left on Rioux’s agenda for 2018; in June, she will be competing in Miss. Connecticut. The competition will be tough, but Rioux does not seem daunted by it.

“If I win, I win. If I lose, I lose. It’s the judges’ opinion,” says Rioux. “All that matters is that I’m happy with what I did.”