City Journal: A Crowning Achievement
Miss Massachusetts Despina Delios takes her routine to Los Angeles this month for the Miss USA pageant, where she’ll battle beauties from across the country—and rub elbows with the Donald.
1. BEGINNER’S PLUCK
The 23-year-old Lynn native beat out 57 other hopefuls—including two former Miss Massachusetts Teen USA winners—to take the tiara in her first-ever pageant. “My boyfriend’s sister [Maria Lekkakos] was Miss Massachusetts in 2004, so I figured if she could do it, I could do it,” Delios says. “There are girls with a different outfit for every hour, who had been practicing all the time. I learned it on the first try.”
2. MISSED CONGENIALITY
The pageant circuit isn’t all smiles and rose petals. Since winning her crown, Delios has received some catty comments via online message boards. “Somebody posted a picture with Twinkies next to my head,” she laughs. But Delios, a waitress at Paulo’s in Charlestown, also has plenty of boosters. “All of my family, friends, and customers say, ‘It’s like we won, too!’ Even my mailman—it’s like everyone’s included.”
3. WALK THIS WAY
To prep for the nationally televised pageant, Delios has been working with an eight-person “glam squad” that includes a “walking expert,” fitness trainer, interview coach, jeweler, and stylists for hair, makeup, and fashion.
4. SUGAR BABY
Much has been made of the misbehavior of the current Miss USA, Tara Conner, whose tearful apology after being caught boozing famously launched a spat between pageant owner Donald Trump and Rosie O’Donnell. Delios says her lone vice is the occasional doughnut. “My family owns Kane Donuts in Saugus. That’s the secret to a great body!”
5. DON WHO?
Should the Peabody High grad win the big crown, she’ll get to live in an apartment in Manhattan’s Trump Tower during her reign. Nice pad, but Delios is hardly smitten with her potential landlord. “I don’t know much about him,” she says of Trump. “I know he has a lot of money. And I guess he’s really funny. Hopefully he’ll say, ‘You’re the doughnut girl, right?’”
6. REGAL THOUGHTS
Confidence counts, says Laurie Clemente, the Miss Massachuetts pageant director and Delios’s chief handler. “We tell the girls to envision the crown already on their head, that they already are a celebrity.”