The evening of May 1, at 9 p.m., Drexel Student, Elaine Ficarra, was selected from a group of 10 women to be crowned the Centennial Miss Philadelphia at the CEG Performing Arts Academy in Philadelphia.
There, the women took part in a long day of competition, consisting of a talent portion, a private interview, a red carpet, and a social impact pitch.
According to Ficarra, winning means a lot to her, but being crowned Miss Philadelphia as the organization celebrates 100 years makes her win even more special.
“I am honored to represent 100 years of an organization of people who have voluntarily made a positive contribution to the city of Philadelphia. I am also proud to be the first Filipino-American Miss Philadelphia in the Program’s 100-Year History! It is heartwarming to know that I can help empower and represent the wonderful AAPI community that is ever-present in the diverse city of Philadelphia,” Ficarra said.
Ficarra, 20, is a student in Drexel’s Pennoni Honors College majoring in Biology and minoring in Theater and Communication.
But outside of the classroom, Ficarra said she is involved in a wide variety of activities.
“I am in STEM and the performing arts. I have always feared the saying ‘jack of all trades, but master of none.’ Although this is true, I am quite an organized and committed person. I take the Drexel slogan ‘ambition can’t wait’ to heart. I have found that when I am passionate about something, I can make the time for it,” Ficarra said.
Ficarra’s ambition lends itself to singing and advocacy.
“Being both an Honors biology student and Miss Philadelphia, I can advocate and be a role model for other women in STEM. Additionally, the interviews I do as Miss Philadelphia are giving me beneficial experience for my new ambition to be a medical correspondent, who would report on public issues within the medical field for TV networks. As an aspiring singer and professional entertainer, Miss Philadelphia gives me the voice and platform to perform both covers and original songs that have a positive and empowering message. My hope is to inspire others through music that speaks to my social impact initiative,” Ficarra said.
Ficarra’s social impact initiative centers around suicide and mental health. Ficarra wishes to end the stigma that surrounds discussions of mental health struggles. By partnering with Chester County Suicide Prevention Task Force and Prevent Suicide PA, she is using open conversations and her music to share the message that “The World is Better With You in it,” she said.
However, winning Miss Philadelphia has provided Ficarra with more than just a platform for her message. Ficarra was also rewarded with a $5,000 cash scholarship, which she intends to use for her tuition costs at Drexel. She also received a full tuition scholarship to Cabrini University, which Ficarra said she intends to use for her Master’s degree.
In addition, winning Miss Philadelphia gave Ficarra the ability to compete in Miss Pennsylvania in mid–June. She became the third runner–up in that competition, granting her another scholarship.
In the future, Ficarra hopes to share her passion for music and continue to make a positive impact on both her Drexel community and her Philadelphia community, she said.
And to her fellow Drexel Dragons, Ficarra gave the following advice: don’t be afraid and take all necessary steps to achieve your goals, even if it‘s scary, because you never know who you will meet or what you will learn.