Sade Palmer

Features Editor

Millersville University senior, Jenna Martorana was crowned Miss Red Rose City last month, and will be representing Lancaster City in the Miss Pennsylvania Pageant in June. It will be her sixth pageant she is competing in.Her first pageant was in January, and she said that experience was nerve-racking, but overall a good experience.

“The girls were all amazing, very encouraging, supportive and helped me through everything” Martorana said.

The other girls helped her figure out what she was supposed to be doing, and how she was supposed to be walking. Her reasons for wanting to compete in pageants is quite inspiring. She wanted to have a bigger platform to advocate for mental illness and the stigma surrounding mental illness. This is something that she personally suffers from, and has kept her from wanting to compete in pageants in the past. This has been something she wanted to do for the past three years and has finally found the courage to do so.

“I realized that just because I have a mental illness that doesn’t stop me from achieving anything.”

Wanting to show others, especially those interested in pageants, that nothing should stop them even if they are suffering from mental illness was one of her goals with her being in the pageants. Since her March 25 victory, Martorana has been in shock and expressed that if she would win the Miss Pennsylvania Pageant the feeling would be indescribable. It’s also a plus that her family is supportive of her embarking on this pageant journey. They knew she wanted to participate in pageants and her mother was the one who encouraged her.

Martorana talked briefly about the preparation for the pageant and some sections of it. One of the main things is service; each of the contestants must come up with something they want to use as their platform. For her platform, she chose to focus on breaking down the stigma surrounding mental illness, sharing her personal story about her struggles and encouraging others to share theirs as well. She says, if people would share their stories, it will help put a face to mental illness, making it more than a diagnosis. When the contestants are choosing these platforms, it must be something they are passionate about, such as homelessness awareness, child sexual abuse and cancer awareness.

This past Saturday, it was the fourth annual Miss America Serves day. This is where local, national and state title holders across the country go out and do community service projects throughout the day. She participated by helping to collect dresses for Hoffman Homes for Youth, which is a facility that helps children with mental illness The Miss America Pageant will be held in May.

Other things contestants must do to prepare for the pageant include creating an essay which explains their platform, and writing a fact sheet providing details. There’s a talent section which gives contestants 90 seconds to display any special talent they want. The lifestyle and fitness section, she says is the most nerve-racking part for her. There are other parts to the pageant, all of which are worth 100 points.

Martorana will be graduating in May, and is majoring in Applied Disability with a Psychology minor. She’s hoping to get into graduate school so she can study school counseling. Since contestants can compete until the age of 25, she plans on continuing her journey until then. Although she won this amazing title, she’s still a normal college student.

“I love to take naps like most college students and I enjoy playing with my two cats and three dogs.

Right now, she is preparing for the Miss Pennsylvania Pageant which takes place in Pittsburgh from June 17-23. She makes a joke saying, “which means a week of heels” because it will be a busy week for her and the contestants with different appearances and dinners. Although it will be busy, she’s excited and looking forward to it.