Alicia Harrison on the road to Miss U.S. International 2017

For her the crown symbolizes possibility. Alicia Harrison competed in her first pageant at 22, won the crown of Miss New York U.S. International and will represent her state at the 2017 Miss U.S International Pageant later this year.

But Pageant is not just glitter and glamour, Alicia believes they can play a role in the betterment of society. The beauty queen enjoys giving back to her community and has volunteered with an organization called Volunteer NY. "I am hopeful my biggest contribution to the world will be getting people involved for years to come."

Miss U.S. International is the official USA preliminary to the prestigious Miss International Beauty Contest. The USA has sent a representative to the Miss International pageant since its inception in 1960. The only year a representative was not sent was in 2006.

Lets know a little more about the beautiful Alicia Harrison through this interview!

You won the Miss New York US International Pageant. What does the crown symbolizes to you?

Winning the title of Miss NY USI symbolizes possibility to me. I am so appreciative for the opportunity to not only represent New York at nationals in June, but to also reach my community on a much larger and broader scale.  

How has your life changed since you were crowned Miss Miss NY US International 2017 ?

Since winning the title of Miss NY USI, my life has since stayed normal. But, I can say my schedule has been swamped with appearances, volunteering and preparation for nationals. 

What's the best one word to describe NYC? What is your favorite thing to do in your city ?

The best word to describe NYC is mystifying. I work in Manhattan and everyday I am in awe by how beautifully amazing the city is. I enjoy attending interactive theater shows, festivals and eating at all the restaurants in Manhattan. 

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What inspired you to walk on the course of beauty pageants?

Since I was younger, I always wanted to take part in a pageant. I was originally drawn to the talent portion of pageantry. Watching the most incredible and creative ladies perform, I knew I had to be a pageant. My parents didn't know a thing about pageantry except for there was heavy makeup involved. They would immediately say no everytime I asked to participate. It wasn't until I was 22 years old, and going through a very rough time in my life, I entered into my first pageant. Four years later, I am Miss New York US International. 

Social media seem to play a major role in pageantry nowadays. Do you think this is advantageous to you? Why or why not?

I have always been torn when it comes to social media. I am a relatively private person in general, so I don't post as many pictures and videos as some of my sister queens do [in regards to all pageant organizations]. But I do believe social media is definitely one of the great ways promote myself and the US International brand. 

We’ve all seen the stereotypical portrayals of pageant contestants, a la Miss Congeniality, spreading peace, love and beauty throughout the world. How do you think you'll make a difference ?

For past 2 1/2 years, I have volunteered with an organization called Volunteer NY. Even though I was volunteering heavily in my community when I started, I wanted to do more. I was offered the position of brand ambassador a year ago, and since then my goal has been to get as many people involved within the community. I believe the more people that understand their community/environment/world is need of maintenance and repair, positive change is sure to happen. I am hopeful my biggest contribution to the world will be getting people involved for years to come.   

Did you face any moment of disappointment with yourself during the pageant journey, and how did you overcome it?

There were times I felt overwhelmed because I did not feel my personal life was advancing to compete against amazingly successful women. At the time, I was my grandfather's caretaker while he suffered from advancing dementia, part-time student, volunteering when I could, part-time worker at two different jobs and I was a dancer preparing for shows. Now, I understand I was busy and involved in very important things. There were times I would think to myself "I'm not doing enough" or "what you're doing isn't good enough." I felt selfish because I would be losing even more time with my grandfather. It was a constant struggle until I had to say to myself "everything will be okay in the end and if it's not okay then it's not the end" and "all things will happen when they're suppose to." Soon, those words became my daily affirmation to help me get to where I am today. 

Tell me something about yourself and your work. What do you actually do, and have done in the past?

I am currently, and have been for the past 6 1/2 years, a Telecommunications Engineer Consultant. I install, program and manage all phones, and the phone system, within a home health aid agency in Manhattan.

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In the midst of preparing for nationals, I am studying for my Cisco CCNA certification test which will allow me to advance in my career. Before I was consultant, I was a snack shack attendant at a country club (I'd flipped burgers, literally), a hostess/waitress/bridal attendant at a special occasion venue and worked as a bridal consultant at Davids Bridal. 

I have studied ballet and modern/contemporary dance for almost 15 years. In between jobs, I would volunteer as a dance instructor at an after school program in the Bronx and at a private dance studio in Westchester County.

The last 2 years, I have been studying bellydance. I absolutely love it. 

Your favorite beauty queen ?

My favorite beauty queen is Deshauna Barbara (Miss USA 2015) because we're close in age and I can relate to her adversity losing her mother. I lost my grandmother, who was my best friend, at 12 years old and I lost my grandfather a few years ago. I admire Deshauna's strength and perseverance.

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Thanks to the beautiful Alicia for the interview. Pageants News wishes you all the very best for Miss U.S International 2017 pageant.