Odd Jobs

Her crowning achievement

Jackie Bruno says being Miss Massachusetts is like a 'super internship for a year'

Jackie Bruno during filming for an upcoming MTV show while she attended a program for the charity Toys for Tots. Jackie Bruno during filming for an upcoming MTV show while she attended a program for the charity Toys for Tots. (Justine Hunt/Globe Staff)
Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Cindy Atoji Keene
Globe Correspondent / May 18, 2008

Is being Miss Massachusetts a tough job? Most definitely, says Jackie Bruno, 23, who has been driving around with her rhinestone crown carefully shielded in a plastic box, tucked into the back seat of her car. With her sash wrapped around it and a few pictures for autographing, Bruno is ready for her frequent appearances at charity events and benefits.

Bruno, who was crowned Miss Massachusetts USA 2008 in November, is halfway through her reign. Her unpaid position is like a "super internship for a year," says Bruno, who graduated cum laude from Boston University, where she earned her degree in broadcast journalism.

Bruno was prepped by a "glam squad" for the nationally broadcast Miss USA pageant in April. She came in in the top 10.

Who's on your pageant-prep team?
I have a dress sponsor, a hair stylist, and a dentist who takes care of my teeth to make sure it's in the 'pretty zone.' I had a retainer that I had to wear all the time - yes, Miss Massachusetts has to sleep with a retainer. I had a personal trainer who came to the house; a nutritionist who handles my diet; a pageant coach who works on interview questions with me; a director and appearance manager.

It's the best part of the prize package, not necessarily the hair extensions and the teeth whitening. They are like a second family to me now.

The swimsuit competition must be kind of nerve-wracking.
We all had to wear black bikinis for the Miss USA contest. I prepared for it by lifting weights, and an hour of cardio every day, usually running. I usually do four miles on my treadmill, while watching "Oprah" or "Dancing with the Stars." I also have a special diet: six small meals a day, like a cup of oatmeal and four egg whites.

I'll also have sandwich wraps or nuts on the run. I used to eat a lot of chicken, but you don't carry around a cooler of chicken all day. Sushi is my new thing, although I shouldn't be eating the white rice.

What's your appearance schedule like? Can we expect to see you, say at Roxy or Rumors?
I do fashion events, parades, and benefits, but no bar events or anything that would compromise the crown. I have been asked to host events at different clubs, but being Miss Massachusetts is not being at a club all night long. I'm in bed at 10 at night.

What do you wear for the evening gown competition?
When I was competing to become Miss Massachusetts, I wore a white, one-shoulder, chiffon gown with a sweetheart neckline, wrapped around like an X, with liquid beading from the hip down.

You have to be safe with what you wear for Massachusetts, since it's a conservative state in some ways. There's also a superstition in pageantry that you will win in white. So I wanted to wear white to give me extra confidence. It felt like a princess dress.

Did you ever stumble on the runway?
When I was competing for Miss Massachusetts Teen in 2003, I walked the wrong way during the swimsuit competition, but luckily the cameras weren't on me.

Do you have bad hair days?
I'm a geek who made good. I have revolting pictures from middle school with a big puff of hair. I was constantly teased and used to get on the bus in tears. Today, I have to blow my hair straight.

There's two Miss Massachusetts, you, and the Miss Massachusetts who competes in the Miss America pageant. What's the difference?
Miss America offers a scholarship prize and there's a talent portion. I don't have a talent - to hear me sing would be painful, so I didn't go that route. And to me, Miss America looks like a senator's wife, while Miss USA, the title I competed for, is a sexy, modern woman.

Did you ever run into the other Miss Massachusetts?
I'm from Assonet, and she's from the next town over, and we've both been involved with pageants, so yes, I know her.

Who's prettier? Hey, that I can't say.

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