What was Arielle Rosmarino '13 thinking the moment she was crowned Miss Virginia USA 2014 in November?
"Well, I couldn't tell you exactly," she said. "I think I kind of blacked out."
Rosmarino, who graduated from Radford University in May 2013 with a degree in marketing, was standing in the exact spot on stage she was on two years ago when her name was announced as first runner up in the Miss Virginia pageant.
"All I could think about was hoping and praying they called her name first," Rosmarino said of the tense moment in the November 2013 pageant when she and the only other remaining contestant, Maggie Lawson, stood holding hands on the Paramount Theater stage in Bristol, waiting to hear which of the two would receive the crown.
When Lawson's name was called as the first runner up, Rosmarino's excitement turned her memory of the moment into a blur. "When I heard them say Maggie, I remember dropping my hands and hugging her, and that is all."
Now, just a few months into her new role, Rosmarino said she is "living the dream," and serving as Miss Virginia is "something spectacular."
"Being Miss Virginia USA means a whole lot more to me now than before I was crowned, and will probably mean even more once I have to give up my title," the Salem native said.
Wearing the crown as Miss Virginia comes with many responsibilities, and Rosmarino is enjoying every single moment. "I get to travel across the state and be involved with lots of very unique opportunities," she explained. "My favorite part about my appearances is the interactions. I love meeting new people, inspiring and motivating them to set and reach their goals."
Rosmarino said she loves hearing stories from the many people she meets at public appearances. She also enjoys putting a choke hold on stereotypes often associated with pageant participants.
"I feel that a lot of people pre-judge pageant girls to be high-maintenance, uneducated or even stuck up," she said. "People would be surprised to know that I wrestled on the boys team for nine years, I have a business marketing degree and love volunteering. Being able to share my story to inspire others and to be inspired by other people's stories is one of my favorite parts of being Miss Virginia USA," she said.
The marketing education she earned at RU has played a pivotal role, Rosmarino said, in helping her adapt to her new role as a public figure and in her job as marketing director and sales consultant at Proms, Pageants and Pretty Things at the Brides House in Roanoke.
"The job title of Miss Virginia USA is pretty much a marketing position," Rosmarino explained. "I not only have to market the pageant system, but I have to market myself. One of the biggest things that my RU education helped me with was real-life scenarios with situations that I wasn't that familiar with because they helped me think outside of the box."
When Rosmarino was pursuing her education at RU, Marketing Professor Angela Stanton knew her student had what it takes to be a successful marketer.
"When Arielle was here at RU, I had no idea she was involved in pageants," Stanton said. "However, it all makes sense to me now. Arielle had excellent presentation skills. She had poise, confidence and knew how to command an audience."
Rosmarino said learning how to network as a student in the College of Business and Economics (COBE) is one of the aspects of RU education that has guided her most in being Miss Virginia USA and in her position as a marketing director. "I took advantage of a lot of the business opportunities at COBE, which gave me practice with talking and networking, said Rosmarino, who is a brother of the international business fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi, of the Omicron Pi chapter at RU."
Rosmarino has a full schedule ahead of her for the next several months. However, soon it will be time to walk out on stage again. She will compete for the Miss USA 2014 crown, June 8 in Baton Rouge, La. During NBC's live broadcast of the pageant, viewers will have an opportunity to vote for Rosmarino.
She said she's not nervous, but excited to represent Virginia at the Miss USA pageant.
"I hope everyone can watch and vote for me," Rosmarino said.