Her Crowning Achievement

Melissa Sapini, Miss Massachusetts USA, is making education the centerpiece of her campaign for the national title
Melissa Sapini, wearing her Miss Massachusetts USA crown and sash, sits in Studio 73, where she works as a reporter
This March, Suffolk student Melissa Sapini—a broadcast journalism major and reporter for Suffolk’s Studio 73—was crowned Miss Massachusetts USA 2024. In August, she will be competing for the national title.

This March, after five solid years of training and preparation, Melissa Sapini, Class of 2025, captured the Massachusetts state title. Now she’s hard at work preparing for nationals in August, working with her coaches to sharpen her game as she prepares to compete on what she calls “the biggest stage of my life.”

Sapini, however, is no ordinary competitor. In March she was crowned Miss Massachusetts USA 2024, chosen from a field of 55 other contestants from across the state in a ceremony held at the Boston Marriott Burlington Hotel.

“This is something that I’ve always wanted to do, and it has been years in the making,” says Sapini, a broadcast journalism major from North Attleboro. “When I won, it was like seeing all my hard work, sacrifice, and dreams come to fruition.”

Sapini—who began modeling at age 6 and has appeared in numerous television commercials—entered her first pageant in 2019, when she finished in the Top 15 in the Miss Teen Massachusetts USA competition. By 2022, she advanced to first runner-up in that competition. Last year, as the youngest competitor in the Miss Massachusetts USA event, she placed in the Top 5.

This May, the Miss USA pageant organization made the news when the reigning title holder stepped down, citing a “toxic work environment.” As she prepares for the August 4 pageant, Sapini (who, like all pageant contestants, signed a nondisclosure agreement) remains focused on her community engagement work as Miss Massachusetts—and on the women who’ve inspired her.

A long line of strong women

Sapini’s mother, Yvrose Brouillard, is herself a former model and television commercial actress in her native Haiti. Her maternal grandmother, Christiana Duguaran, raised nine children in the village of Belladere, Haiti, while also caring for her disabled husband.

“I thought of her as a Super Woman, but she couldn’t read or write,” says Sapini. “She opened my eyes at an early age about how so many people have this problem. I feel if she could have grown up knowing how to read and write, her life would have been different.”

“Students not only need materials to improve their reading level, but also to open up conversations about race, culture, and feelings. It’s one thing to be book smart; it’s another thing to have the emotional capacity to understand and appreciate the backgrounds and experiences of others.”
Melissa Sapini, Class of 2025 Miss Massachusetts USA

That’s why Sapini has placed literacy at the center of her work as Miss Massachusetts USA. She is using her title to advocate for better support for education, particularly when it comes to elementary school students in underserved communities throughout Massachusetts and beyond.

“Students not only need materials to improve their reading level, but also to open up conversations about race, culture, and feelings,” she says. “It’s one thing to be book smart; it’s another thing to have the emotional capacity to understand and appreciate the backgrounds and experiences of others.”

Sapini has already visited a number of schools in Massachusetts and New Hampshire as a guest reader and speaker, something she also did during a 2019 visit to Haiti. Her message was the same then as it is now.

“I talked with students about the importance of education, reaching their goals, and becoming successful in life,” she says.

A career in entertainment reporting

While Sapini has her sights set on becoming the next Miss USA, her ultimate goal is to work as an E! News reporter. She has been honing her skills by working as a production assistant and reporter for Studio 73 since her freshman year.

Melissa Sapini (left) and Adeta Odiah (right) interview actor-comedian Anthony Anderson at the Museum of African American History’s 2023 gala
As Studio 73 reporters, Melissa Sapini (left) and Areta Odiah (right), both Class of 2025, covered the Museum of African American History’s 2023 Living Legends Gala, hosted by actor and comedian Anthony Anderson (center).

In addition to learning how to operate camera equipment and serving as a floor director for taping of shows, Sapini also conducts on-camera interviews. One of her most memorable assignments was covering the Museum of African American History’s 2023 Living Legends Gala, a red carpet event hosted by actor and comedian Anthony Anderson at the Four Seasons Hotel Boston.

“I felt like a professional reporter working in the Boston community,” says Sapini, who interviewed prominent leaders in business, higher education, philanthropy, and social justice. “That night solidified what I want to do with my career.”

Sapini has also been an entertainment correspondent for New England Sports Network’s (NESN) Dirty Water TV, covering events and interviewing people from the New England entertainment and sports scene.

“Melissa is very confident and not afraid to ask the right questions,” says Jerry Glendye, director of broadcast facilities for the College of Arts & Sciences. “She always wants to learn more and understand what’s the best way to get the job done. The hands-on skills she’s learned with Studio 73 have proven to me that she has a bright future in this business.”

Contact

Tony Ferullo
Office of Public Affairs
617-573-8448

Greg Gatlin
Office of Public Affairs
617-573-8428