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Elizabeth Hancock

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

Elizabeth "Emy" Emerson Hancock '00

In June 1998, she won the title of Miss Massachusetts. Three months later she found herself in Atlantic City, representing the state in the Miss America Pageant.

Perhaps most recognizable for her 8 by 10 glossy on the wall in Pinocchio's, Emy Hancock looks back on her reign as Miss Massachusetts with fond memories and an understanding of the pressures and challenges of life in the spotlight.

"After you do something like that, people will always view you differently," the petite former cheerleader explains. "I think it toughened me up a bit but also made me more cynical about people." While touring around Massachusetts as part of the title-holder's requisite duties, Hancock drew substantial criticism for being a "Hillary Clinton-like" carpetbagger.

Hancock hails from Lexington, Ky., where her mother was first-runner up in the Miss Kentucky pageant years ago, and where Hancock herself won the Kentucky Junior Miss scholarship award in 1995.

"The watchword for the 1990s is diversity," she reasons. "I'm not from here, but I wanted to represent Massachusetts. I live here now, and it's a place I've grown to love."

Hancock also encountered some negativity on campus following gher bid to be the next Miss America. While waiting in line in the pizzeria one night, she stood behind two women scrutinizing her glamour shot on the wall.

"Oh, I hate that girl," one apparently said to the other. Hancock was taken aback; she didn't even know them.

"You put yourself in the spotlight, and you have to deal with criticism," she says.

During her year as Miss Massachusetts, Hancock--an environmental science and public policy concentrator--campaigned for environmental protection and youth motivation. She plans to remain in Boston next year after graduation to look for a job in environmental political advocacy. In the more distant future she hopes to pursue a career in broadcast political journalism.

And as far as pageantry is concerned, Hancock is still toying with the idea of entering another competition; officials at Miss USA-Universe have contacted her about an appearance on their circuit.

"I loved being Miss Massachusetts before," she says. "It meant a lot to me, and I'd love to do it again."

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