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Melissa Sapini of North Attleborough crowned 2024 Miss Massachusetts, moves on to Miss USA competition

Melissa Sapini of North Attleborough reacts to the announcement that she has been crowned the 2024 Miss Massachusetts USA on Sunday, March 10, at the Miss Massachusetts pageant in Burlington. Photo Credit/Chris Mitchell

In 2019, Melissa Sapini watched the Miss Universe competition with her mother and said, “I can do that.”

In 2024, her journey towards that goal took a big step forward on Sunday, March 10, when she was crowned the 2024 Miss Massachusetts USA.

“I can’t even describe it,” said Sapini, 20, of North Attleborough. “There was shock, but I knew in my heart I would be getting this one day. I felt a lot of comfort and peace, because I knew it was finally happening.”

The 2024 Miss Massachusetts pageant took place over two days the weekend of March 9. Sapini said that the preliminaries were on Saturday, and from there, 15 competitors were chosen for the next round on Sunday. The pageant included an evening gown, swimsuit and interview segments.

Sapini’s final interview question was her take on the recent changes to the competition rules, which included removing the age limitation. Previously, the contest was only open to women between the ages of 18 and 28. Beginning in 2024, that criteria will no longer apply.

Sapini said she reflected on how her mother came to the US from Haiti at 22 and worked hard for all that she has accomplished. At 18, Sapini said she became one of the youngest correspondents for the New England Sports Network (NESN).

“I dove into how your age does not define your success—its limitless,” said Sapini, recalling her answer to the interview question. “You should be able to go after our wildest dreams, no matter how old or how young you are.”

Five young women made it to the finals, Sapini among them. She recalls hearing the announcer reading the names of the fourth, third, and second runners up. As they got down to the final two, Sapini held hands with fellow competitor Samantha Vocatura and heard their name announced as the first runner-up, meaning that Sapini was now Miss Massachusetts.

“It is a really crazy realization,” Sapini said. “I have big dreams, I started to see my dreams really come into fruition as I stood there and held her (Vocatura’s) hands. I can’t explain the feelings, the emotion was so high.”

Sapini has been participating in Miss Teen and later, Miss Massachusetts, pageants for years. It began in 2019 with Miss Teen USA when she was 16 and a junior at North Attleborough High School. The first time, she was named to the top 15 of the competitors and the second time was named the runner up. In 2023, she was named the fourth runner up in the Miss Massachusetts USA competition.

“Every year I’ve gone into this with the winner mindset, and (this year) something felt different,” she said. “I went into the weekend as ‘I’m ready, I’m Miss Massachusetts USA 2024 and I’m ready and I want this.’”

Winning Miss Massachusetts means that Sapini will join 50 other winners from across the country—the competition also crowns a winner from the District of Columbia—at the Miss USA pageant, which will take place this summer in Hollywood, California.

“This is not just a ‘me thing,’” she said. “This is a win for the town, a win for the state, a win for the people of Haiti.”

In the weeks and months to come, Sapini will be making a number of public appearances, both locally and throughout the state, including Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade. She’ll also be preparing for the Miss Universe pageant and working with her coaches at KP Consulting. Sapini said that she is proud to represent North Attleborough and wants to advocate for high-quality, diverse reading materials for the schools.

“My four months have already been scheduled,” she said. “I’ll be showing up for Massachusetts in any way, shape and form.”

Sapini is a graduate from NAHS and currently a junior at Suffolk University studying broadcast journalism. She’s worked as a model and actress, recently appearing in a commercial for Six Flags. She’s a correspondent for NESN, Suffolk University News and Dirty Water TV, which airs on the New England Sports Network and covers a variety of Boston-area news, including nightlife, entertainment, sports, and fashion. She sees some correlation between her journalism work and pageant competitions.

“Because I knew how to represent a network, I could represent Miss Massachusetts USA,” she said.

All this has shown Sapini that one should always work toward their dreams, and wants to represent this in the Miss USA pageant and become a role model. Sapini said that her mother has been a tremendous inspiration for her, and she thanked the educators of North Attleborough for all they did to make her who she is today.

“To be able to represent Massachusetts, that is huge,” she said. “I want the students to see me and know I was in their shoes not too long ago and know that anything is possible.”

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