Outlasting a field of 19 other extremely accomplished young ladies, Emma Gibney was crowned Miss Massachusetts’ Teen 2023 at BMC Durfee High School in Fall River on May 7.
Gibney was the first to hold the title of Miss Blackstone Valley’s Teen, which she won at the Miss Worcester County Competition on Feb. 18. She previously was the first to hold the title of Miss Worcester County’s Outstanding Teen 2022 (The Miss America organization dropped the “outstanding” from its teen titles earlier this year).
Calling the competition an “up and down” day, Gibney said she didn’t feel good about her private interview with the judges, but, apparently the judges disagreed, as they selected her via the final ballot, after she placed in the top five.
The daughter of Tim and Nicole Gibney, Emma is a 17-year-old junior at New Bedford High School, and a standout varsity tennis player.
When the last two standing were Gibney and Na’Shajia Montiero, the eventual winner said she still wasn’t thinking she would get the crown.
“I told her that I loved her. I told her that she would be a great Miss Massachusetts’ Teen, because, honestly, I didn’t think it was going to be me,” Gibney said. “I think every girl who was out here deserves the crown and deserves to be in that position. To be able to realize that it was me…it really hasn’t sunk in yet, but when it does, it’s going to be a great year, and I’m super-excited for it.”
When the final announcement was made, Gibney said she experienced several emotions.
“I wanted to cry, I wanted to scream, it was a lot of mixed emotions all at once,” she said. “I fell to the ground and I really didn’t think it was me. I thought they mixed up the cards, like a Steve Harvey moment, but it wasn’t, and I’m so happy to be here.”
Gibney plans to continue to work with her Community Service Initiative, S.T.A.Y – Start The Awareness Young, suicide prevention, which was inspired by the loss of her cousin, Tyler, to suicide in 2018. Her goal is to not only bring awareness to young people’s mental health issues, but to talk to legislators and advocate for more funding for the state’s suicide hotline, and she may now have the chance to bring that impact to a national level.
“I’m going to really bring that to the stage at Miss America’s Teen,” she said.
For her talent performance, Gibney dramatically performed an original spoken-word piece, titled “Stay,” that echoes her CSI while taking viewers on a journey of someone giving a loved one reasons to avoid taking their own life.
Gibney thanked her local program, including the support she’s received from her sister titleholders, Miss Worcester County Gabrielle Griffiths, Miss Blackstone Valley Natalie Erhensbeck and Miss Worcester County’s Teen Kayla O’Hara, as well as her family and good friends, many of whom were in the audience as she was crowned.
“They come to every single competition, and deal with my crying and my laughter and everything afterwards,” she said. “They’re really my backbone, and why I continue to compete and I why I’ve done well. Even this title here today is because of my local director [who happened to be this reporter], my local board, and all of my family and friends.”
When asked when it will sink in that she’ll compete for the national title, Gibney said, “probably in like a week.”
“I think it’s going to take a little bit for me to get used to,” she said.
For more information, visit http://www.missmass.org or http://www.mmaoteen.org.