Friday, May 25, 2018

Alexandra Coppa Visits Section 36!

Section 36 has another visitor! Alexandra Coppa is a Red Sox fan, and the current Miss Rhode Island. In addition to following the Sox, she'll be spending her summer preparing for Miss America in
September. Thankfully she was nice enough to take time out of her schedule and visit with us to discuss her short time as Miss Rhode Island, blogging, the Red Sox, and much more. 

So let's see what happens when Alexandra Coppa visits Section 36!

How did you celebrate being crowned Miss Rhode Island?
After the pageant, the board, judges, formers, families, and of course my Teen and I, went to a restaurant in Newport to celebrate. It was really nice to be under the same roof as everyone after the chaos of the pageant died down to celebrate with all of those who made my dream a reality! It was also special to sit down with my family, who has supported me through everything I've done, as we are all pretty busy and don't get opportunities like that too often. 

You’re a former Miss Rhode Island’s Outstanding Teen. Do you think the experience of competing on a national stage will help you at Miss America?
Absolutely! I think one of the greatest lessons I learned at MAOT is
to believe in yourself and never give up. I remember being disappointed after my interview and giving up on myself before the rest of the competition, only to find out that October that I had been top 5 in the interview portion. It taught me that we are our own worst critics and to persevere regardless of how you think you performed. This is definitely an extremely important lesson that applies to most things in life and I'm glad that I am going to Miss America with the mindset that I am enough and that I should always believe in myself. It sounds so cliche but it's so true. 

What aspect of the Miss America competition are you most excited about?
I have wanted to compete for Miss RI since I gave up my title of Miss Rhode Island's Outstanding Teen but life got in the way for a while. First, I was assimilating into college, then I struggled with an eating disorder. The next year I was recovering, and when I finally was ready, the pageant fell on the day on my graduation. I'm just really excited to finally live out my dream and have the opportunity of a lifetime. Also, my best friend from college is our current Miss America, so I am excited to see her doing big things and living out her dream as well. I am so proud of her and was not able to attend the competition last year, so I am so happy that I can be there for her this time.

How did you select your platform, “HEALing Souls: Eating Disorder Treatment and Awareness”?
My platform is extremely personal to me. I suffered from an eating
disorder during my freshman and sophomore years of college and was in a very dark place in my life until I completed residential treatment. Recovery was hard and almost felt impossible, but I did it, and now I am an advocate for those who are in that very same place. I think it's important to be transparent and open about my experiences to let those who feel the hopelessness that I felt that recovery isn't as far-fetched as it seems. The word HEAL in the title of my platform represents Project HEAL, a national nonprofit of which I began a chapter at Brown University upon my return. I was in treatment over the summer between my sophomore and junior years and I felt like I needed a support system if I was going to continue to be okay. Project HEAL aims to
raise money for a treatment grant program to provide treatment for those who cannot afford it (treatment can get up to $5,000 a DAY), and to raise awareness of eating disorders. I became a mentor for others who watched me recover and flourish, and it showed me that if I wanted to help others, I had to be in charge of my own health. I've been in recovery for three years now, and I couldn't be happier to spend my year as Miss Rhode Island proving that it is okay to ask for help and that asking for help is truly worth it.

As a talented dancer, what is your favorite part about performing on stage?
I have been dancing since I was two years old, so dancing is a part
of my identity. I starting competing when I was 8 years old and found a love for performing. I was quite the ham on stage as a kid and it's cool to see my progress through the years, while still having that same passion for the stage. I think the thrill of performing comes from all the hard work I put in over the years. I was the girl who always had to work extra hard to prove to others that I was worthy and that I could keep up. I remember being told that I would never be a titleholder, so I put my mind to it and I
ended up winning titles from that point on. Being on stage reminds me that I can do anything I set my mind to and that I have come so far in my life because I never listened to the doubts around me. If you believe it, you can achieve it!

You’re a fellow blogger. What can you tell me about “Sparkles and Synapses”?
I began my blog while I was in treatment. This started because I
was so confused about people telling me to journal. I was thinking, why should I tell myself how I feel? I know how I feel and writing it down isn't going to help me work it out. So instead, I decided to tell others how I felt. In having to explain it to others to the extent where they could feel what I felt was a lot harder than writing, "I'm sad and today is hard," in a journal. I had to dig deep, and honestly, it was pretty painful. I uncovered a lot about myself that contributed to my eating disorder, such as the pain of being bullied my whole life, and a deep need for perfection because of all the doubts I experienced through my life regarding my talents and abilities. I was shocked to find that people started reaching out to me, opening up about their struggles and supporting me through my time of need. I realized that I had a voice and I could inspire others by sharing something that was deeply personal. Trigger

warning for anyone who wants to read it: it is VERY detailed and I do not hold back about any of my thoughts or feelings. It is highly emotional and can be hard for people to read if they are going through it, but it is really wonderful to read from least to most recent and see my growth and how much more positive my posts become as my journey through recovery continues. It shows that darkness that I was in and the light that I found in my life and I think if those who feel alone read it, it can be very eye opening. You are not alone and you are enough. Recovery is possible and it is worth it regardless of the intensely hard work that goes into it. 

Who is your favorite current Red Sox player? Why?
I don't have a favorite! I've been a part of a team/company as a dancer and I know that everyone is just as important as the other. I love the dynamic of sports teams, and how close they must be in order to read each others' plays and movements. Being a part of a team is a blessing and each person on the team makes it what it is.

If you can’t sit in Section 36, where would you like to sit to watch a Red Sox game?
I've only been to one or two games, so honestly, put me in any
section! The environment is so exciting and being there is a cool experience. If I could be anywhere though, I would like to be on the field throwing the first pitch! 

How will the Red Sox finish the 2018 season?
Oh that's an easy question. Boston sports are the best sports. I think all your readers know the answer to this question! :) 


She’s right. That’s should definitely be an easy question!

As always, I want to send a huge thank you to Alexandra for visiting with us. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Another big thanks for supplying the great pictures to go along with the interview. They really make the interview pop. (And thanks to the photographer: Daniel Gagnon Photography)

If you'd like to keep up with Alexandra during her time as Miss Rhode Island, check out her official Instagram account. You can also follow the Miss Rhode Island Organization itself on both Facebook and Instagram. And, be sure to check out her wonderful blog! Often!

And, of course, I want to wish Alexandra luck at the Miss America competition in September! It’s always exciting to see members of the Section 36 family on that stage!

Thanks again Alexandra, and good luck!

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