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pageantry interview ● erin brady More than Meets the Eye Erin Brady went big at the Miss Universe pageant by invoking the pop cultural awesomeness of the Transformers, and she's only just started wowing the world O ne of the things that makes being Miss USA so unique is the fact that as soon as that lucky and spectacular young woman is crowned, she has to turn around and almost instantly compete again for the title of Miss Universe. Sure, it’s not like it’s the very next day, but when it comes to the reign of one of the most recognized ladies in the country, a day almost always seems like a minute. That’s why Erin Brady decided to go big at her one shot on the world’s grandest pageant stage by invoking the power and pop cultural awesomeness of Optimus Prime and the Transformers. Because if they weren’t already talking about her after Miss USA, people were going crazy over her at Miss Universe. Erin’s year has been an exciting and fast-paced one, as we always expect from the prestigious Miss USA title- holders, but as her year winds down and she prepares to be the first Miss USA to ever crown her successor in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, instead of Las Vegas, she’s not yet ask- ing herself, “What’s next?” as much as she’s asking, “What’s left?” because she’s not done making her own dreams come true. after winning Miss USA, and then I came to the realization that I was going to have to get right back into the compe- tition, and send myself off to Moscow for three weeks to compete with 85 other amazingly beautiful women from all over the world. It was an experience unlike anything other. I’ve never been to Russia before, so that alone was very in- teresting, to see the culture and meet the people. But I think it was just really cool to meet each girl and see how their countries view pageantry, because being in the U.S., pageantry is viewed one way here, but in the Latin coun- tries and in the Asian communities, it’s viewed much dif- ferently. The languages and outfits were so cool and interesting to see. Pageantry magazine: You were a featured model on the cover of the last issue of Pageantry maga- zine, and it sold out faster than any issue in our 35 year history. So congratulations on that. Erin Brady: Thanks! That’s incredible. Actually, my grandma might be a part of that. She was so excited about the magazine, so I know she bought a lot of copies. PM: So what was just the biggest and most impressive memory that you brought back from Miss Universe? EB: I’d have to say just being able to represent an entire country. I know how excited I was to be representing my state of Connecticut, and now I got to do that on a much grander scale. To have so many people from all over the country tuning in and to know that it was broadcast all over the world, very few women get to say that they’ve graced the stage of Miss Universe, and I placed Top 10, which I was ecstatic about. PM: Let’s talk about heading to Russia to compete for the title of Miss Universe. How was that experience? EB: It was absolutely incredible. Obviously, I was on a high PM: Your national costume was a huge Internet and social media hit. What was the premise behind the de- sign and what has become of the costume? 50 PAGEANTRY