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Hagerstown sisters hope for crowning moment at Miss Maryland

June 15, 2013|By AMY DULEBOHN | amyc@herald-mail.com
  • Whitney, left, and Audreanna Colombo have been involved with the Miss Maryland Scholarship Pageant since they were very young. This week, both sisters will compete for the title of Miss Maryland.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

Sisters Whitney and Audreanna Colombo share a common dream: to be crowned Miss Maryland. 

Whitney, 23, who is Miss Urbana, will compete for the fourth and final time this weekend for the state title, which is part of the Miss America Organization. 

Audreanna, 19, Miss Queen State, is competing for Miss Maryland for the first time. 

“I told (Audreanna), ‘I’m winning this year,’ and then I’ll crown her next year since this is my last year,” Whitney said during an interview in the sun room of their home near Hagerstown. 

But one thing is for sure, no matter the outcome of the pageant, which is being held this week in Hagerstown, the young women have each others’ utmost support. 

“I think the competitive nature among sisters is definitely different than it is among the rest of the contestants. I think we both feel if I couldn’t win, I would want (Audreanna) to win and if (she) couldn’t win, I think she would want me to win, so we’re competitive to a certain extent, and then the actual sisterhood of being sisters takes over,” Whitney said. 

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Audreanna nodded in agreement. “We’d still be able to experience the same thing. I would still be able to travel with her to Atlantic City and experience the Miss America (pageant) with her and vice versa,” she said. “Although I’m sure we would be a little jealous, I still have more time, and it is Whitney’s last year, and we would still be able to experience everything as a family, so I think we’d rather have each other than anybody else (win).” 

Both women have been involved with the Miss Maryland Scholarship Pageant since they were very young, when their mother became a member of the Miss Maryland board. The sisters said they wouldn’t have it any other way. 

“I became involved in the organization when I was 7 and (my sister) was 3. It’s an organization that we grew up with and we fully believe in its mission: to promote young women, not only being beautiful, obviously, but talented, intelligent, well-spoken. And the Miss America organization is the No. 1 provider for scholarships for young women in the country,” said Whitney, who graduated in 2011 from Shenandoah University in Winchester, Va., with a Bachelor of Science in nursing. 

Audreanna said for her, forming relationships is also important.

“You see girls who were Miss Maryland a couple years ago and the contestants they competed with are their bridesmaids in their weddings,” she said. “It’s really a sisterhood. We meet friends and that really lasts a lifetime. It’s not as catty as it seems on TV or in movies that you see.”

Also, Audreanna, who competed three times in the Miss Maryland Outstanding Teen Pageant, said competing can be habit-forming. She said she took her freshman year of college off from competition, while Whitney took a break for three years.

“When we went to watch (the pageant) last year, we were both just like, ‘I really wish I was up there’ because it is addicting and you want to be up there and you do miss it,” Audreanna  said. 

“The years that we’ve taken off have kind of helped us in a way because we’ve got to sit back and look and see what we’ve improved on. We’ve matured immensely, and I think it just helped us in the long run,” she added. 

Aside from getting hooked on the competition, the sisters have seen other benefits from being part of the Miss Maryland organization. 

“I couldn’t even begin to describe how much we’ve both learned from the public speaking benefits,” Whitney, who also competed twice for the state teen title, said. 

“Being involved in this organization for so long, it’s become second nature. You learn to speak in front of large groups of people and you don’t really think about it. I think it’s helped me immensely with interviews and not just as being a title holder, but as being Whitney,” she said.

Audreanna, who is a recent graduate of Hagerstown Community College with an associate degree in arts, said the same is true for her. 

“I used to not want to do pageants. I wasn’t a girly-girl. I was shy,” she said. “I would hide behind mom and dad when I had to speak in front of people, so it’s definitely brought out my communication skills, and with the system I’ve changed my major from teaching to communications because I love it so much. It’s something I want to continue to do after pageants,” she said. Audreanna said she also will study dance this fall at Frostburg State University.

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