Did You Know? Miss Weston and Her Mental Health Message
Did you know that we have a Miss Weston? Not only is she amazing in what she has done and overcome, but she wants to share her important message about mental health with those who will listen.
This week the Owl received a message from Weston resident, Samantha Vocatura, about being Miss Weston USA 2022 and that she was soon competing in the Miss Massachusetts USA 2022 pageant. You could have knocked me over with a feather–I had no idea we had ever had a Miss Weston, nor did I know anything about the Miss Massachusetts pageant. Through email, I got to know Samantha as a contestant and as a spokesperson for mental health.
Tell us about the Miss Massachusetts pageant.
Each delegate competes in three events – swimsuit, evening gown, and personal interview. The winner will represent her state at the Miss USA 2022 pageant. Last year I competed in the pageant (though not as Miss Weston–then we were competing with assigned numbers) and came in as third runner up. As a fun fact, a Westonian/Westonite last won Miss Massachusetts in 1956 (Elaine Murphy). Elizabeth Gordan, who went to Weston High School with me, competed in 2009 and 2010 placing third runner up both times.
What is your platform as Miss Weston USA?
My goal in the competition and in everyday life is to candidly speak about overcoming my own mental health struggles, in the hope of destigmatizing them and encouraging others to reach out for help. My goal is to show anyone facing adversity that our dreams and aspirations are possible.
In addition, in conjunction with Miss Massachusetts USA and Miss USA, I am trying to increase literacy and raise awareness of Breast and Ovarian Cancer.
Why are you competing?
I am competing for my 14- year-old self, who struggled with severe depression and anxiety. As a tri-sport varsity athlete (including being on the state-winning girls varsity soccer team), from the outside, life looked pretty good. But behind the scenes, my mental health had deteriorated to the point where I eventually had to leave Weston High School. I was placed in an outpatient facility, a wilderness program, and, then a therapeutic boarding school where I was able to overcome my struggle with depression and anxiety. I was able to graduate high school cum laude, obtain two bachelor’s degrees in software engineering and in economics from McGill University and receive a dean’s scholarship for the Parsons School of Fashion Design Graduate Program. (You can hear about this journey in Samantha’s own words on IGTV: https://www.instagram.com/p/CZLDoZKO7Wk/
What are you doing when you are not competing in Miss Massachusetts?
I am the Chief Executive Officer of SammyVoc, a sustainable fashion company that upcycles used clothing. I designed my competition evening gown myself out of my 2013 prom dress.
I am also speaking about mental health awareness at my boarding school on March 24, and am talking with Weston public schools administration about a presentation locally soon.
Samantha has been sponsored by SashaFierceFitness, HairbyKaren, and Chantal Chamandy Entertainment.
The Miss Massachusetts 2022 pageant takes place March 26 and 27 at the Burlington Marriott hotel auditorium. You can find more here.