'Miss City of Dreams' Johanna Sambucini Wins Miss New York Pageant

By Serena Solomon on January 16, 2012 11:15am 

Miss New York USA 2012 winner Johanna Sambucini attends the 2012 Miss New York USA pageant at Purchase College Performing Arts Center on January 15, 2012 in Purchase, New York.
Miss New York USA 2012 winner Johanna Sambucini attends the 2012 Miss New York USA pageant at Purchase College Performing Arts Center on January 15, 2012 in Purchase, New York.
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Rob Kim/WireImage

MANHATTAN — It was a dream come true for Miss City of Dreams.

Johanna Sambucini was crowned Miss New York USA at Sunday's pageant, progressing on to compete to become Miss USA.

Sambucini, a Dominican native whose blog describes her as a graduate student with modeling and acting aspirations, beat almost 150 competitors to the crown.

Her title, Miss City of Dreams, reflected her lifelong hope of grasping the prize.  All contestants in the competition, held in Westchester over the weekend, were required to nominate a title that had significance to them.

Sambucini, 24, beat runners-up Miss Greenpoint Sarah Otey, according to the Daily Briarcliff. Third place went to Miss Richmond County Janae Desire, and Miss Spanish Harlem, Nikole Churchill took fourth.

Churchill, a 24-year-old registered nurse, was profiled by DNAinfo before the competition, along with 12 other Miss New York USA pageant entrants from New York City.

In the pageant-esque questions posed by DNAinfo, Churchill described herself in one word as “free-spirited” and could not choose a dream vacation destination because “there is too much to explore, learn and embrace to choose just one specific place.”

Churchill also chose Beyonce over Lady Gaga as her favourite New York City pop-star.

“As her ultimate fan, I sincerely appreciate Beyonce’s talent, grace and her ability to be a role model for women everywhere by reminding us to stay empowered," Churchill said.

The profiles showed a diverse class of hopefuls, with one naming Adolf Hitler as her perfect dinner partner and another dreaming of a vacation in space.

Sambucini, who lives in Brooklyn and hopes to start her own chain of fashion boutiques after finishing a masters degree in Business Administration, will now be promoting charity causes chosen by Miss New York USA throughout her 12 month reign. They include targeting counterfeit designer goods as well as breast cancer awareness.

The Miss America pageant was also held over the weekend in Las Vegas.  New York's entrant Kaitlin Monte, who finished third, took a swipe at Occupy Wall Street during the competition stating, "If they're going to come up and complain about a problem, they have to come up with some solutions, too," according to the Daily News.

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Miss New York USA Contestants
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Billy Figueroa
Johanna Sambucini was crowned the winner of the Miss New York USA pageant Sunday night.
Johanna Sambucini was crowned the winner of the Miss New York USA pageant Sunday night.
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Facebook/Johanna Sambucini

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