Miss Essex County Pageant to be held at Bloomfield MS

BLOOMFIELD, NJ — The Miss Essex County beauty pageant leading to the Miss New Jersey crown is coming to Bloomfield Middle School on Jan. 28. That’s right, possibly the next Miss New Jersey, who will then compete for the title of Miss America, may first be crowned Miss Essex County, in Bloomfield.

Sponsored by the Miss Essex County Scholarship Program, the pageant is open to women ages 17 to 24, with a 17-year-old contestant at least a high school senior. Although the winner will be crowned Miss Essex County and represent the county in the Miss New Jersey pageant, a contestant may live in Hudson, Union, Morris, Sussex, Passaic, Warren or Essex county.

Hosting the pageant will be Rosa Baez, the executive director of the scholarship program. In a telephone interview, Baez said she opened the contest to all northern New Jersey counties except Bergen County which has three preliminary pageants of its own.

To be a Miss New Jersey contestant, the person must first be the winner of a local pageant, she said. There are about 28 local pageants throughout the state and they are of three types.

Baez said a pageant may be a closed pageant which means a contestant must live within the county where it is being held. A second pageant type is regional, like the one scheduled for the middle school. In a regional pageant, contestants will come from different counties. And finally, a pageant may be an open pageant with contestants living anywhere in the state. Baez said she made Miss Essex County a regional pageant so North Jersey contestants would be closer to home.
“Most local pageants are in South Jersey,” she said. “Girls in North Jersey don’t compete as much because of travel.”

The winner and runner-up of the Miss Essex County crown will receive scholarships and the winner will have all expenses paid to compete, in June, at the Miss New Jersey pageant, in Ocean City.

Baez said the purpose of the Miss Essex County Scholarship Program is to empower women to further their education, develop public-speaking skills, share their talent with a large audience, and spread awareness about the causes for which they care.

The Miss Essex County competition will have five phases: a private interview; lifestyle and fitness in swimsuit; talent; evening wear; and onstage question.
And of course, there must be judges. Baez said she would like to have seven judges.

Among them should be previous pageant winners; people knowledgeable of performing arts; educators; and someone outside of these areas with no knowledge of pageants.