BRATTLEBORO — Meara Seery has placed third - second runner-up - in this year's Miss Vermont competition.
The contest was held April 16 at Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center in Stowe.
“I had a great weekend,” said the 2018 Brattleboro Union High School graduate, who competed with 10 other women. “It was such a fun time. The women were incredible, and I feel very lucky to get to know all of them. I'm very glad I did it.”
So, are pageants anything like what we saw portrayed in films like Miss Congeniality, starring Sandra Bullock?
“The overall message - not to judge a book by its cover and that the women who participate are intelligent - is accurate, but overall it's a different experience,” said Seery, who will hold her current local title of Miss Heart of Vermont until September.
The Brattleboro native can choose to again compete in the Miss Vermont contest in 2024.
“I'd like young women to know you can come from any background and still be successful in the Miss Vermont and Miss America organizations,” said Seery. “And there isn't just one type of person that competes; there are a lot of different personalities that compete.”
Uncowed by judges
Sunday's competition included four phases: a private, 10-minute interview with the judges, talent, fitness, and evening gown.
Regarding her interview, Seery said, “I think it went super well. It's the best I've ever felt coming out of an interview.”
During the Q&A, judges asked many questions about her community service, she said. They also asked her to name five breeds of cows.
“I got four,” said the winner with a smile.
For her 90-second talent segment, Seery sang “Shallow” from A Star is Born.
In the fitness portion, contestants modeled athletic wear. The evening gown phase, said Seery, was “when you get to showcase your personal style.”
Promoting social causes
As Miss Heart of Vermont, Seery will continue making appearances and working toward her community service initiative. She explained that in the Miss America organization each delegate has a community service mission. Hers is “climate change, creating healthier agriculture, neighborhoods, generations, and environments.”
“You basically spend the time you're involved promoting whatever social cause you're passionate about,” said Seery, who this year organized a local bottle drive that saved just about 1,000 recyclables from ending up in a landfill.
Community activism inspired by her love of the outdoors is not new for Seery, who logged more than 600 hours of such work at BUHS. During that time, she volunteered at Green Mountain Camp for Girls and in the BUHS administrative offices, taking “pretty much any opportunity” for climate volunteerism that came her way.
At BUHS, Seery, a trumpet player, also represented Vermont in district band and district jazz band, and she successfully auditioned for the Vermont state band. She also played high school and college field hockey, captaining her teams as both a senior at BUHS and at George Washington University.
She had participated in the Strolling of the Heifers parade each year since 2005 until the final one in 2019, and attended the Governor's Institute summer programs for both art and science.
Seery is the last to be crowned queen for Brattleboro's Winter Carnival and was selected to represent the state in the Cherry Blossom Parade in Washington, D.C.
In her senior semester at George Washington University, where she graduated magna cum laude in 2022, Seery was selected as a paid intern for U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders. She was hired after her internship and is currently works for Sanders as a digital producer, creating all his videos and graphics.
“I love my job,” Seery said. “It's really great because I get to work for Vermonters every day, regardless of my title.”