It all started on the afternoon of November 21, 2004. The audience at the Grand Ballroom of the Sheraton Danbury Hotel stood and cheered, welcoming Melissa Mandak of West Haven, CT as the new MISS CONNECTICUT USA 2005. Her victory entitles her to represent Connecticut at the 2005 MISS USA Pageant, which will be televised live from Baltimore, MD on the NBC Television Network in April.

26-years-old, Mandak is a 2002 graduate of Rutgers University, where she obtained her B.A. in journalism and mass media. Currently a real estate agent, Mandak hopes to someday become an entrepreneur. Her five year plan includes the completion of graduate school, where she would like to specialize in meteorology, a successful career in the media field, and purchasing some investments properties.

But Mandak’s resume doesn’t stop there, and turns even more colorful as you read on. Some of her most unique occupations include working as a magician’s assistant, a pizza delivery girl, an extra in the recent “Stepford Wives” motion picture, and playing the role of “Foghorn Leghorn” at a Six Flags amusement park. She notes her most daring experience as skydiving from 13,000 feet.

The younger of two siblings, Mandak admits to being very shy as a child. “I would cling to my Dad’s leg whenever we were around people other than family!” Mandak attributes her now obvious self-confidence to the years of dance lessons and recitals she performed in as a member of the Westchester Performing Dance Company. She lists her tap shoes as her most treasured possession. “They remind me of the hours I spent in the dance studio… I have a lot of fond memories.”

It was the dancing that eventually led her to pageants. “A couple of the other girls I took dance class with also did pageants. We would all compete together and make a fun weekend out of it.” As for the relevance of pageants to today’s women, Mandak says, “Pageants can be used as an outlet to express personal views and opinions…. And also bring together strong, healthy and intelligent women and give them the opportunity to be role models.”

Mandak believes in being active in her community, and actively supports many Connecticut causes, including the Connecticut Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity, Read to Grow, and the Children’s Institute for Cancer. She describes herself as proud, compassionate and patriotic, and when asked what she wants most for people to know about her she says “I love a challenge, and never give up.”

Mandak plans to spend her reign as MISS CONNECTICUT USA 2005 speaking to various groups and organizations to raise the awareness of Breast and Ovarian Cancer, which is the official cause of the National MISS USA Organization. She also wants to continue volunteering her time to assist community organizations and charities to raise awareness and funds for their causes. The Miss Universe Organization, producers of the MISS UNIVERSE®, MISS USA® and MISS TEEN USA® Pageants, is a Donald J. Trump and NBC Universal partnership.

For bookings, interviews or additional information about Miss Connecticut USA, please email at or call at 302-221-5587.

Copyright © 2005 Crown Productions, Inc. All rights reserved. • Web Site Design: