was host to the Long Island Pageants on Sunday afternoon, where more than 300 young women applied to be a part of this year's pageant competition and only 30 were chosen as finalists.
Nikki Orlando of Smithtown was crowned as Miss Long Island Teen 2013 and also won the title of Miss Teen Photogenic. Jessica Ricco of Westbury was crowned as Miss Long Island 2013.
Lori Thomas, currently the Executive Director of the Long Island Pageants, started as a pageant contestant. Thomas won the title of Mrs. Long Island in 2006 and then won the New York State three years in a row in three different pageant systems. She finished in 2009 with winning the national title.
"I started the Long Island pageant system and we just crowned our fifth year of queens. I think the girls are doing great - they're growing, maturing, getting experience, and helping their community," Thomas said.
In the Long Island pageants, the winners advance to compete on the New York State level in Bass Productions' Miss New York USA pageant, the official preliminary to Donald Trump's Miss USA pageant. The winner of the Miss Long Island and Miss Long Island Teen 2013 Pageant will represent this region at a statewide pageant comprised of winning queens from across New York State, and will make an appearances at a myriad of community events across Long Island.
"This past year has been very exciting. As you probably know, last year our Miss Long Island Teen [Sabrina Mastrangelo] went on to win the New York State title. So we brought the state crown home to Long Island and then we crowned the first runner up, Catherine Manett of Patchogue as the new Miss Long Island Teen," said Thomas.
Miss Long Island Teen 2013, Orlando was stunned after her crowning.
"This is such an empowering moment in my life. I've worked so hard to get into the spot that I'm in right now and I'm very thankful," Orlando said.
Her sister queen, Miss Long Island 2013 Jessica Ricco from Westbury, echoed sentiments of shock and gratitude.
"I felt like it wasn't really happening. It was all surreal, completely surreal. This is something that I have wanted for many, many years," Ricco said.
"My hope for the girls is the same every year - I hope that they gain skills that they might not have gained otherwise like public speaking, volunteer work, dealing with the media, and dealing in community places. As the year progresses, I hope that they are different than when they first got the crown and that they can recognize their own growth and their own abilities," Thomas said.
Throughout the year, Orlando will be promoting her platform called 'Beautiful', an effort to teach teens that they are all self-accepting individuals and to be true to themselves, and Ricco's platform is for child advocacy.
“My plan is to instill in teens that ‘you are who you are’ and that no one should tell you any differently just based on opinion. Teens are tomorrow’s leaders and we should all live our lives to the fullest potential no matter what,” said Orlando regarding her platform. “Tyra Banks has always been an inspiration to me. She always pulls out the positive in everything. Tyra also has an organization which she calls ‘TZONE’ which is very similar to my platform.”
Here are this year's full list of winning delegates:
MISS LONG ISLAND 2013 - Jessica Ricco
1st Runner Up - Elaina Estrada
2nd Runner Up - April Maroshick
3rd Runner Up - Danielle Cinone
4th Runner Up - Ashley Alese Edwards
MISS LONG ISLAND TEEN 2013 - Nikki Orlando
1st Runner Up - Lauren Doherty
2nd Runner Up - Amanda Luisi
3rd Runner Up - Bethany Sommerson
4th Runner Up - Taylor Greene
Miss Photogenic - Linda Simicic
Photogenic Runner Up - Laura Marciano
Miss Teen Photogenic - Nikki Orlando
Runers Up - Taylor Greene, Marisa Pierini
Sponsor Award, Miss - Michelle Medoff
Sponsor Award, Teen - Nicole Santa Maria
Miss Community Queen 2013 - Laura Marciano
Miss Teen Community Queen 2013 - Tiffani Greene
LI Pageant Leadership Award - Elaina Estrada & Jessica Ricco
LI Pageant New Comer Award - Inpreet Rattu and Kathryn Gawrych
Directors Award - Bethany Sommerson and Ashley Rothschild
Miss Congeniality - Tiffany Farrell
Miss Teen Congeniality - Tiffani Greene
Spirit 4th Runners Up - Taylor & Tiffani Greene, DeAnna & Marissa Mato
Spririt 3rd Runners Up - Amanda Luisi, Sabrina Bachai & Tiffany Farrell
Spirit 2nd Runners Up - Avalon Monti, Leanne Pinard & Nikki Silva
Spirit 1st Runner Up - Nicole Santa Maria & Laura Marciano
National Pageantry Spirit Award Winner - Danielle Cinone