Molly Andrade won the Miss Congeniality award at the Miss Rhode Island competition on May 5. She also happened to win the title of Miss Rhode Island 2019.
Andrade, 20, had competed the past two years, and was first-runner up in 2017.
A competitive Irish Step dancer, Andrade wowed the crowd (which included Miss CT Bridget Oei, also a world-level Irish stepper) and earned the points from the judges to also capture the dance and overall talent awards.
“I’m incredibly grateful and so excited for this opportunity,” Andrade said, adding that if she doesn’t capture the national title, one of her main goals is to increase participation in the Rhode Island program.
“I want to bring as many women as possible to this organization and increase the amount of scholarships we give out,” she said.
She also has plans to help implement a self-defense course at every high school in Rhode Island. She developed her platform after a friend was assaulted.
“My best friend was sexually assaulted in high school,” Andrade said. “After seeing the lifelong effect it’s had on her, I knew I had to do something. I took a self-defense class in high school. One in eight women Rhode Island will be sexually assaulted. We need to act.”
Andrade said she’s also excited for everything, including appearances and the partnership with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.
“I’m just excited to have a great year and a wonderful opportunity,” she said. “It’s incredible. I’m excited to see what the next steps are for Miss America.”
Caroline Parente, 17, was crowned Miss Rhode Island’s Outstanding Teen at the same pageant. She said she decided to try a pageant for the first time, after seeing the effect it had on her childhood friend, Miss Rhode Island’s Outstanding Teen 2018 Macie Johnson.
“I just saw how much the program did for her, and how it was an amazing program, basically through social media, and I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of,” she said.
Parente is from South Kingstown, and goes to South Kingstown High School. She was also enthused about the year ahead.
“This is absolutely incredible. I am so humbled. This opportunity means the world to me, and I can’t wait to get started,” she said. “I’m looking forward to working on my platform and working with Molly, because she’s so intelligent.”
Parente’s platform is The Ripple Effect: Rising To Initiate Prevention and Positive Lifestyles Through Education.
“Basically, I want to educate all youth on how to educate their peers about substance abuse, because youth really do make the difference in this,” she said, adding that she is an intern for a national government coalition for the program.