By: Eliza Mackintosh
For MSM’s student spotlight we caught up with UNH’s own Miss University, senior Jill Granucci. After championing a platform of breast cancer awareness as philanthropy chair for her sorority Alpha Chi Omega, Granucci took the stage of her first ever pageant this spring. Looking ahead to the Miss New Hampshire pageant in April, Granucci tells us about her preparation regime and shares what’s on her senior bucket list.
MSM: What is the role of Miss University on campus?
Jill Granucci: I had to compete in a pageant and now I’m doing service work for the University, which can be in any form. I’ve judged a couple of eating contests, I’ve helped at blood drives, as well as collecting toys for Wildcat Santa. I have a platform, which is breast cancer awareness, so I attend a lot of different events that raise money for that cause. The gymnastics team has a breast cancer awareness meet that I attended as a special guest.
MSM: What’s your prior experience with doing community service?
JG: I’ve done community service pretty much my whole life. Girl Scouts through Elementary and Middle School. Then in High School I won a leadership award and part of the requirements for that were to do acts of community service. When I came to college I kind of felt like there was something missing, I wasn’t really as involved in the community anymore. So I joined my sorority Alpha Chi Omega and eventually I became the philanthropy chair, whose duties are to plan two events a year. In the spring we raised money for breast cancer awareness and I planned a kickball tournament called save second base. In the fall I did a whole week of events for domestic violence awareness, and along with that I also coordinate community service opportunities for over a hundred girls in the house.
MSM: Had you done pageants before this?
JG: This was my first pageant, I walked in there and I was clueless. I went in for my interview and I just pretended it was just like a normal job interview. I did everything else and just was myself. It was very interesting.
MSM: What kinds of questions did they ask you and what was your favorite?
JG: They asked me anything all over the board from my background, to my major, and my platform. I picked breast cancer awareness in honor of my aunt who had breast cancer, who is a survivor, but had a very rough road to recovery so it’s very important to me and my family. My favorite question that they asked me was the last question, one of the judges has two daughters age 8 and 11, he asked what would be one piece of advice you would want me to tell them. I told him to tell them to just be themselves, be leaders, don’t follow anyone because it doesn’t get you anywhere.
MSM: What are your plans after graduation?
JG: After graduation, well, I’m kind of in a little bit of a problem right now because if I win Miss New Hampshire I will be serving the state of New Hampshire for a full year so I will take a break from the professional world. However, if I don’t win I would love to move to a city, probably work for a brand of some sort working in advertising or something else.
MSM: What are your future plans as Miss University?
JG: I will be Miss University until December of 2012 so until then I will continue to make appearances around the university. In addition, I play a really big role at Homecoming, which is probably what I’m most excited for. I get to be a judge at a grill cook off contest and I get to be a judge of what the best food is. I’m really excited for that. By that time I will have graduated so it will be such a fun way to come back and give back to UNH.
MSM: What are the dates for Miss New Hampshire?
JG: Miss New Hampshire is April 26th through the 28th. The 26th and 27th are preliminary nights and then the 28th is the finals.
MSM: What are you doing to prepare?
JG: Oh my goodness, I’m doing so much to prepare. I guess I’ll start with the competition; I’m shopping for gowns, looking for one to wear in the evening gown section of the competition. I am feverishly practicing my talent, which is the flute. I played for nine years and then gave it up, but I have to memorize a piece, which is what I’m most nervous about because in my experience I’ve never had to do that before. Then of course just continuing to work out like I have done in the past so I look in tip-top shape for the swimsuit portion. Then there are so many other things that go into it. I’ve been raising a lot of money for the Children’s Miracle Network because that’s the national platform of Miss America. I’ve been making appearances to just get my name out there and selling advertisements for the program booklet. One thing that I actually got to do was go to a make-up store in Manchester, Kriss Cosmetics, and they taught me how to do my make-up because I never really knew how to do it before.
MSM: How do you feel about the other contestants?
JG: So far the other contestants have been so amazing, helpful; I went to the make-up store with one of the girls because without her I wouldn’t have even known about it. Everyone is so friendly. We’re all in this together. It’s been a great experience so far.
MSM: When do you wear your crown?
JG: As much as possible (laughs). No, I wear my crown whenever I make an appearance. I wore it to the gymnastics meet. On February 28, I invited all of UNH to join me at IHOP in Newington where I helped to serve pancakes on national Pancake Day. It’s a fundraiser for the Children’s Miracle Network. I wore my crown there.
MSM: What’s on your senior bucket list?
JG: Number one thing is to win Miss New Hampshire (laughs). What else is on my list? It’s on my refrigerator. I want to make an omelet at HoCo behind the stir-fry station. I would like to walk out on center ice for a hockey game. I really want to climb Mt. Washington too, it’s not UNH related, but it’s definitely a New Hampshire thing that I want to do before I graduate.
MSM: Anything else you want to say about the pageant?
JG: This experience has opened up so many wonderful doors for me. I didn’t know what pageants were all about and it really is a whole other world. The people in it are absolutely amazing – they’re all volunteers.