Olivia Collins, 16, of Wading River, a Riverhead High School junior, was crowned Miss Long Island Teen this month. Courtesy photo.

Riverhead High School junior Olivia Collins has been crowned Miss Long Island Teen 2021.

The 16-year-old Wading River girl won the pageant title on Oct. 4 in a competition that, like everything else in the pandemic age, was held virtually via Zoom.

The contest was her first pageant and Olivia said she never expected to win.

Each contestant had a platform and Olivia’s is suicide and mental health awareness.

“It’s something I feel very passionately about,” Olivia said in an interview. The 11th-grader says she plans to study psychology in college and hopes to work in the field of mental health.

The contest consisted of three parts: an evening gown competition, an active wear competition and an interview. Each contested submitted videos for the evening gown and active wear competitions. Then they were interviewed by a panel of five judges.

“We had to submit a paper in advance,” Olivia said. “They asked questions about what I wrote and they asked about my platform.”

“When the contest’s finalists were announced, I was in the top three and I was like, whoa,” Olivia said. “When they announced the first runner-up and it wasn’t my name, I was like — what? I was not expecting that,” she said.

Olivia said when she won her parents, Tracy and Jason, “cried even more than I did.” She also won the Director’s Award, which is given to the girl who was most responsible in complying with contest rules, she said.

“I was very surprised to win,” Olivia said. “It was my first time and I thought the other girls were very pretty and they were all very confident.”

The Miss Long Island Teen competition is open to girls ages 14 to 18. The first contest was in 2009. Olivia is the first Riverhead High School student to claim the crown.

As Miss Long Island Teen, Olivia is automatically entered into the Miss New York Teen USA pageant.

The title also comes with the opportunity for a one-year modeling contract with a modeling agency. Olivia has already had her first shoot.

“It was so much fun,” she said. “I got my hair and makeup done there, striking the poses — Some of it was all new and I needed instruction,” she said.

“I always had kind of an interest in modeling,” she said. “I feel like that’s every little girl’s dream.”

Olivia has also had her first appearance as Miss Long Island Teen. She wore her crown and sash to the Long Island Boxing Awards Gala yesterday. Her appearance wardrobe will be provided by Estelle’s Dressy Dresses for one year and her wardrobe jewelry will be provided by Park Lane Jewels by Dawn Marie Rizzi.

The pageant will arrange for some appearances, but she will also arrange for some on her own, she said. She’s planning to find appearances that relate to her platform. With the pandemic canceling so many events, the appearances may not be easy to find, she knows, but she’s determined.

Olivia is attending school virtually this year because of the pandemic.

Last year, Olivia was a pole-vaulter on the Riverhead High School track team and captain of the JV cheerleading team. Now, between the COVID-19 crisis and Riverhead’s failed budget, there are no competitive sports for Riverhead students.

“I complete my assignments during the day,” she said. When she’s not doing school work, she likes to work out and do arts and crafts. “I always have stuff to do,” she said. “But I miss seeing my friends a lot.”

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Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.