Meet Miss Cambridge 2023, Abby Riggs: “All three of my brothers are collegiate athletes so if you hear people cheering at Miss Massachusetts like it’s the Super Bowl, that’s my family!”

Alissa Musto
9 min readApr 3

The 2023 Miss America season is well underway, with young women around the country preparing to compete at their upcoming state competitions and capture one of the coveted 51 spots at Miss America 2024. To kick off this year’s class, the new Miss Vermont will be crowned in just a few weeks on April 16th.

Like other major pageant systems, the Miss America Organization recently announced some game-changing eligibility and competition requirements, widening the pool of eligible candidates this year. One of the noteworthy changes is that at-large contestants will now be able to directly enter their statewide pageant, rather than having to first win a local competition — usually a title reflecting a contestant’s city, county or school. While some of these local titles were traditionally “closed” competitions, requiring the winner to live, work or attend school in the designated area on their sash, other “open” competitions, welcomed competitors from any part of the state.

Regardless of this change, I still believe local titleholders will continue to be important assets in the Miss America Organization and their local communities. By representing a particular region rather than the entire state, these women are given a unique opportunity to have a strong impact and presence in the community and garner local support, sponsorships and recognition. When local titleholders appear at their hometown parades, local schools or community events, they may be the closest thing to Miss America that many attendees will ever meet and have the ability to single-handedly mold opinions on the organization and pageants, as a whole.

I also look at being a local titleholder as “bootcamp” for the role and responsibilities of being Miss State. They give a glimpse into the spotlight and demands of wearing the bigger crown — which extend far beyond winning the title, and allow competitors to practice and develop their branding, networking, media relations and interpersonal skills. Being Miss Cambridge was an important and exciting precursor for my journey as Miss Massachusetts. The sisterhood and…

Alissa Musto

Musician. Singer. Songwriter. Signed Actor. Miss MA ‘16 & Miss America Top 15. Sailor. Vanlifer. 50+ countries. Harvard ‘16. UMiami ‘19. IG: @AlissaMustoMusic