The day Brenna Carnuccio received a phone call from her grandmother, she had no idea that she would end up winning Miss Ocean City.
After being prodded for weeks to enter, she finally filled out the application and looked to the brighter side of things.
Montclair State had just raised tuition by an extra $5,000, and the Miss Ocean City pageant gave scholarships to the winner. It was the perfect chance for Carnuccio to compete doing the things she loves, and hanging out with a great group of girls with a chance of winning the extra money she needed.
That was until Montclair's payment was due one week before the pageant. The Carnuccios made the decision to hold off on Brenna's college until next year; however she would still compete, seeing everything was set.
“I know it would be a honor for me to represent Ocean City. It is a place that is near and dear to my heart after growing up here in the summers,” said the West Chester, PA, resident who plans to study acting.
At first, Carnuccio had no idea what she would do for her talent in the show. She thought about playing the piano and singing, or dancing. And then acting crossed her mind.
A student in a charter school, Carnuccio focused on straight acting instead of musicals, making it easier for her to bring her character's presence to the stage.
“I wanted to combine the different ways I perform as much as I could. And how could I show the judges who I am in two minutes? I decided Stars and Moon combines acting with singing. It used all of my skills without boring the audience with a monologue.”
The most important thing about Carnuccio's act was for the audience to feel what the character was feeling. For the audience to understand and connect with the two minutes of acting and singing is the only thing that mattered. Her performance won her the title.
A question on everyone's mind is why Carnuccio's name was called five times in the evening as a winner of an event, given that she is not your average pageant girl.
She was never fake to the other contestants, she didn't really care about the swimsuit competition, she was pushed into joining and she certainly never imagined she would win the title of Miss Ocean City.
“I was not there for a beauty pageant. If I won for anything, I thought maybe it would be my talent,” Carnuccio said.
Sarcastically, she adds, “When they called me for swimsuit, I was like oh great, best bod."
After the category was awarded to her, Carnuccio believed that was all she was going to win.
But when the talent category was also awarded to her, she felt shock.
She thought her competition, Devon Vanderslice, would win the talent, after her tap dance to a Beethoven song. When awarded the second, she was thankful to have two wins and felt she was not going to make the court or get anything else.
And then, for a third time her name was called to be awarded the category of interview, something that happened before the show and was only between the judges and the contestants.
“It started getting painful to get the trophies. It was such a close competition and everyone was so good. I had grown to appreciate their talents, and I would turn around and dread walking through all of the girls. Don't get me wrong I was thrilled and honored, but I felt others deserved to win as well.”
During the Little Miss Ocean City competition, Carnuccio had to share a dressing room with previous Miss Ocean City, Rachel Reese. During her time holding the title, Reese had attended school events, parades, city events, and volunteer opportunities. Carnuccio has recognized all of these things and hopes to be just as good as Rachel.
“Let me tell you, I hope I can live up to the standards she set and I have big shoes to fill,” Carnuccio adds.
When she won't be in town representing Ocean City, Carnuccio will be competing to win a contract to perform on 24 stages across the country at Creation, a Christian music festival.
Her band, Coastal Rise, is one of three bands in the final round. Not only will the winner perform all over the nation and get paid for the gigs, but they will be able to record a second album.
Their first album is available on iTunes.
Not only does she play in a band, but she enjoys activities like traveling, creative writing, taking photos, sailing and many other "girly" pursuits, she says.
Don't forget to stop her for a photo the next time you see her glowing smile and sparkling crown.