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Former queens now running the show at Miss Long Island

sabrina and jessi

Before Sabrina Mastrangelo could commit to taking over running the annual Miss Long Island and Miss Long Island Teen pageants in Patchogue, she had to do one important thing.

She had to turn 18.

But that was OK, because the former Miss Long Island Teen 2012 and her now-business partner and co-director, Jessi (Ricco) Simeone, had a lot to think about before taking on the task. 

Waiting four months for Mastrangelo to become old enough to legally help form Ultimate Crown Productions Inc. in the State of New York allowed them the time they needed to mull things over.

“We thought it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Mastrangelo, who lives in Bellmore. “And we really didn’t know if we ‘d ever get this chance again.”

The women formed the corporation in May 2014, after Mastrangelo’s birthday, and though they hosted last year’s pageants at Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts, this Sunday will mark the first time Ultimate Crown Productions Inc. is producing the event after the co-directors obtained the license to run Miss Long Island from former producer Lori Thomas, they said.

Simeone, 27, is a second-grade teacher — as well as Miss Long Island 2013 — so having some time off as of late was a big help in being able to plan Sunday’s pageants, where 15 women will compete for the Miss Long Island 2016 crown and eight girls will vie for Miss Long Island Teen 2016.

The annual event at starts at 3 p.m. at the theater.

“This time of year is super busy,” said Simeone, who lives in Westbury. “Basically, every day something has to be done for the pageant. We have to write the script for the pageant. We are hosting the entire pageant ourselves. We have a live band, so we have to coordinate with them; the songs have to match with what the girls are doing on stage.”

The two women, who didn’t know each other well before becoming business partners, were actually approached by Thomas to take over the show.

Thomas hand-picked the women after having worked with them as former queens.

“She thought it was a good idea,” Simeone said.

Thomas is the founder and president of the Long Island Pageant Organization, which owns the pageant’s trademark.

“Their skills,” she said of Simeone and Mastrangelo, “where they both were in their lives last year, their understanding of the standards of my system, and the positive relationships we had, all played a part in my selection of them to partner up and offer the opportunity to move into the directing side of the Long Island Pageant system.”

A student at the Fashion Institute of Technology, Mastrangelo said the biggest challenge for her was juggling her school work with planning a pageant.

“I was right in New York City, so it wasn’t that stressful to get home, but I was trying to plan for assignments and things I had to do for school around pageant work,” she said. “Getting used to that took a lot of time but it was worth it.”

Mastrangelo was also crowned Miss New York Teen 2012 after her Long Island win, when she was just 15. Teenagers from Long Island have actually won that contest three of of the last four years.

The winner of Sunday’s Miss Long Island pageant, aside from the networking and event experience that comes with being a local queen, will have her $2,000 application fee covered to compete in the Miss New York contest.

She’ll also get coaching from Simeone and Mastrangelo in the run-up to the event.

About 150 women compete in Miss New York, the women said. The Miss Long Island for 2014, Michelle Medoff, who placed in the top five in the big contest.

Miss New York then goes on to compete in the Miss USA contest. That winner competes in Miss Universe.

Click here to purchase tickets to Sunday’s Miss Long Island and Miss Long Island Teen pageants.

mike@greaterpatchogue.com

Caption: Jessi (Ricco) Simeone (L-R) and Sabrina Mastrangelo hosting last year’s Miss Long Island pageants at the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts. (Credit: courtesy photo)

About the author: Michael White

Michael White is a Bellport resident, longtime newspaper reporter and editor, and the owner of greaterpatchogue.com. Email him your story ideas or tips: mike@greaterpatchogue.com