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Pageants: not just for southern girls

Top left: Christina LaRussa, Mackenzie Blackman, and Ashley Stark weather. Bottom left: Grace Richardson, Enayah Cordova, Arianna Warriner, Rachel LaRussa, Leah Sarzyniak.

BY: Kori Sciandra | January 16, 2013

NORTH TONAWANDA - About five years ago, North Tonawanda native Kathy Warriner fell in love with pageants after her daughter, Arianna Warriner, participated in the Miss Canal Fest pageant.

Her passion for the pageants led her to get involved in other pageant organizations, which opened the door for Warriner to become the Director for the USA Nation Miss, a scholarship pageant based out of Atlanta that is heading into its third year of existence.

“We are having a state pageant, This will be the first pageant ever held in New York State,” said Warriner.

While supporting her daughter as she competes in pageants in other states, Warriner noticed that many of the winners are often girls from southern states. She believes this is because there are more pageants that take place in the southern states, so girls have more opportunities to practice and participate beginning at a young age.

After Warriner noticed this occurrence, she decided to do something about it in order to giver girls in the northern states a better chance at the crown.

On top of hosting the USA National Miss New York State pageant, she asked the owner of USA National Miss, Jackie Watson, if she could begin a Princess in Training Program right here in New York State.

The training program is available for girls aged infant to 4 years old. It will allow for the girls to have the tools they need to compete locally, statewide and give them a chance at competing in a national level.

The USA National Miss New York State pageant is open to girls aged 4 through 24.

“I see how it changes girls. It gives them confidence, poise, and interview skills,” said Warriner “The passion I have right now is directing. I have seen how it’s changed girls and I am just so passionate about it. I want them to feel like queens and make them feel special for the year they are under the state title.”

With the help of her assistant Katie Rosehart, Warriner is thrilled to host the first pageant in New York State - USA National Miss New York State - and - the Princess in Training Program - March 2 and 3 at the Barton Hotel, Lewiston.

Those who place in the State pageant will earn a State title and have the chance to compete in the National competition, which takes place in June in Daytona, FL.

“For girls to compete at the level of Miss America, they need the training. It’s important that they get this training at a young age,” said Warriner. “It gives women and girls an opportunity as they grow to go into an interview in the corporate world. It gives them confidence. And they make friendships along the way.”

Warirner added, “I feel that were are on the cutting edge of making pageants a demand in New York. Our queens will represent, they will be out in the community, they will do charity work, and they will try to make a difference.

Park of becoming a pageant queen involves charity work A few charitable donations that have been made on behalf of the USA National Miss organization are baked goods sales; $800 was raised and donated to Relay for Life; items were collected and donated to North Tonawanda Food Pantry and The Salvation Army; the girls took part in a walk to help raise funds and bring awareness to MS; and a charity pageant was held for Toys for Tots, during which many toys were donated and delivered.

“I tell everyone - you have a crown on, use it for a good purpose,” said Warriner.

Warriner hopes to make this pageant an annual event and to continue to showcase the inner beauty of girls throughout New York State.

For more information or to sign-up for the pageant, visit

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