Wellesley High School graduate Katrina Kincade is no stranger to donning an evening gown and answering tough questions on the fly, with grace and poise. The winner earlier this month of the 2022 Miss Massachusetts pageant at the Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts in Worcester, the precursor to the Miss America competition, started gaining experience as a Wellesley Middle School student.
“I started in pageants when I was in middle school, with Miss Black USA,” Kincade, a WBZ-TV reporter, said in a telephone interview. Her supportive family of two brothers, her mom. and her dad have been with her every step of the way, but she shouted out her “pageant dad” for special recognition. “He helps with fashion, outfits, accessories. When I won Miss Massachusetts he was so proud and said, ‘finally! You won one!'”
Besides the title, Kincade received a $15k scholarship, which she says has cut her college loan burden by more than half.
Winning aside, Kincade cites a great feeling of pride in her accomplishment. She’s the first Muslim woman to be named Miss Massachusetts. “I understand what it’s like to be the first and only,” she said, acquired wisdom that informs her social impact initiative work. Although demonstrating dedication to such work is a requirement for all Miss Massachusetts contestants, Kincade has lived her message of representation and diversity since long before a pageant application listed it as a box to be checked. Whether performing in WHS plays, entering American University’s College of Communications, or going for a job at a major television network, she has tried to embody the confidence and go-for-it attitude she encourages in others.
Since winning Miss Massachusetts, the Boston-area resident speaks at YMCAs, Boys and Girls Clubs, public schools, and other places where she can reach youth with her message that representation matters. “I encourage kids to enter fields where they’re not seen and say why it’s important to look at different career fields. I want to talk to marginalized and under-represented kids” who aren’t seen in certain fields.
“My message is ‘because of them, we can—representation matters.'”
Kincade will in December vie for the Miss America title at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut. There, competitors from 50 states and the District of Columbia will demonstrate their talents (Kincade sings), show off their evening gowns, engage in a private interview with the judges, and answer an on-stage question.
A Massachusetts representative has never been crowned Miss America. Not that we’re biased or anything, but we think it’s about time.