Vanessa Oriolo’s initial foray into beauty pageants came about when she saw a banner advertisement on Facebook. She hardly expected this would lead to being crowned Miss New Jersey USA.
Oriolo, a senior marketing major from the Fox School of Business, represented Temple University and her home state in the nationally televised Miss USA pageant, held July 12 in Baton Rouge, La. While Oriolo did not advance past the initial stage of the competition, she said she learned a valuable lesson that also translates to the business education she’s receiving at the Fox School.
“I participated for two years in the Miss New Jersey Teen USA pageant, and two more years in Miss New Jersey USA, before I won. It took five tries before I found success, and that’s the most-rewarding experience, if you ask me,” Oriolo said.
“In business, or in life, nothing works out exactly the way you hope it will. It’s having the patience and the confidence to try again that matters. I like to roll with the punches and accept things for what they are, because that’s how you arrive at the most-satisfying outcomes in life.”
Oriolo was crowned Miss New Jersey USA in October 2014, following a rigorous three-day competition. She bested a field of 119 young women, aged 18 to 27, to earn the right to represent the Garden State in the Miss USA pageant.
“The moment felt surreal,” Oriolo said. “You work so hard to get there. I think it took a few months to settle in that I had won.”
Though Oriolo did not win the Miss USA competition, her duties as Miss New Jersey are far from complete. She will continue to make public appearances at children’s hospitals, fundraisers, and various galas, promoting charities and good causes along the way.
“The Miss USA organization does not require you to select a specific platform, which I like,” she said. “I don’t have to select one specific cause, but I do consider myself an advocate against dating violence, encouraging women to recognize the warning signs of unhealthy relationships. And I also hold a special place in my heart for any and all foundations that benefit children.”
A Colts Neck, N.J., native, Oriolo said she yearns for a career in the fashion industry working for a luxury designer brand, and even potentially starting her own fashion brand one day. Yet, she has not dismissed other professional paths being that she has so many different passions. She has not ruled out the possibility of a career in modeling or in the entertainment industry. She also said attending law school, another lifelong aspiration, still remains a possibility, as well.
“Literally or figuratively, your education never stops,” said Oriolo, who is slated to graduate in December 2015. “You don’t have to limit yourself to one career choice. I would never turn down an opportunity that I thought was interesting. So for me, I’m keeping my career open-ended.”