Miss Massachusetts Gabriela Taveras just had a few quick minutes between rehearsals to chat with New England Pageant News. The Lawrence, Mass. native said she’s extremely luck to be at the competition, and is taking it all in, while realizing that conquering her fears, and her difficulties growing up, have made this moment so much more worthwhile.
Despite being a little tired, will you be ready to perform your talent in tonight’s prelims?
I feel like adrenaline just takes over your body. You’ll be wired and just feeling like “This is your one shot, you’d better do it.” In rehearsal, the lights were on in Boardwalk Hall, so I didn’t feel like I was competing. I could see everyone. It was kind of boring.
How has your stay in Atlantic City been?
So much fun. Everything is good. I told the judges [in the interview room] that I wasn’t supposed to be here. I was supposed to be dead by the age of 18, and now I’m at Miss America. It’s so cool. It’s such a good time.
The sisterhood with the other girls — with all of the changes happening, how is that?
We’ve had to support each other, because of all the things that are going on. It’s traumatic. We’re not really talking about it, because we’re focusing on ourselves. The way I interpret it is that we are the reset button for the Miss America Organization. So, we have the opportunity to make it what we want it to be. There have been plans in place for the new Miss America 2.0, but ultimately, we have an opportunity to also contribute to that new identity of who Miss America is supposed to be.
And what is that?
Well, it’s great, because all of the women in this class are extremely accomplished. We have people who are going to get their PhD or start their own business or non-profit organization. It’s time for people to actually respect them for what they do.
What do you have to say to all of your people back in Massachusetts?
The thing that makes Massachusetts so special is that we are willing to take what we can give. When tragedy happens in our state, we all band together and try to make it better. When anyone criticizes our state, we band together and defend ourselves. It’s been so beneficial to me, because it’s gotten me far. I’m so proud to be from Massachusetts.