Charlestown resident Carrie Sunde was crowned Miss Cambridge Sunday night during the Miss Boston and Miss Cambridge Pageant at the Park Plaza Hotel in Boston.
It was the 34th year for the Miss Boston Pageant and the first year a Cambridge title was awarded. As the newly crowned “Miss Cambridge,” Sunde will compete alongside the new Miss Boston, Morgan Berg, in the upcoming Miss Massachusetts Pageant.
Sunde, 20, recently moved in with her dad, Don Bilodeau, a Charlestown resident, and told Patch before the competition that she was happy to be representing the neighborhood in the pageant.
“This is where I grew up. It’s always been my home. I’ve always been around Charlestown and Boston, and I really want to show that I am a true Bostonian,” Sunde said.
The Miss Boston and Miss Cambridge pageants are “open locals,” which means residents of any Massachusetts community can enter. Sunde and Berg competed against 14 other women for the two titles.
The event featured five competition stages: talent, interview, physical fitness, evening gown and an on-stage interview.
The daughter of Bilodeau and Carol Sunde, Carrie Sunde is a junior at Syracuse University where she is studying public relations. She was born in China and adopted at the age of one and a half, according to a press release from the pageant.
A graduate of North Quincy High School, Sunde spent a lot of time in Boston as a child, participating for many years in Boston Ballet’s pre-professional program and dancing in seven seasons of the ballet’s production of “The Nutcracker.”
Sunde continues to dance in college and danced a contemporary piece for her pageant talent.
“My goal is always to keep up with the art, because honestly I think it’s the best way to express yourself and to let out your emotions,” she told Patch.
Sunde also has worked for five years as a volunteer and intern for the Boston Museum of Science.
She first began competing in pageants while in college in upstate New York, drawn to the competitions because they encourage young women to be goal-oriented and help them develop important life skills.
“No matter what happens, if you don’t win the crown, the journey is as important as the pageant,” Sunde said, a few days before winning the Miss Cambridge crown. “You have to remember that it’s way more than a beauty pageant. You’re working with a panel of judges that is very smart, very diverse, and they are looking for a real girl who has everything—the whole package.”
In particular, the interviewing and on-stage speaking parts of the pageants have helped Sunde learn not to be afraid to use her voice, whether answering a pageant judge’s questions, speaking to local media or interviewing for a job.
Pageant work also helps Sunde promote her favorite cause: volunteering.
“Being in Boston, I’ve seen a lot of nonprofit organizations that need help. That’s what I’m doing, pushing for them through social media, by being out in the community and just being a driving force for what they need,” Sunde said.
As the winner of the 2013 Miss Cambridge title, Sunde will split more than $8,000 in scholarships and prizes with Miss Boston.
The two will compete in the Miss Massachusetts Pageant in June, with the winner going on to the Miss America Pageant.