By Mac Cerullo
---- — SOUTH HAMPTON — A local wedding planner best known as the girlfriend of professional snowboarder Scotty Lago has been named Miss New Hampshire USA 2014 and will compete for the title of Miss USA this summer.
Bridget Brunet, 25, was crowned Miss New Hampshire USA over the weekend after two days of competition in Manchester, N.H. The pageant includes a swimsuit, evening gown and interview competition, but not a talent competition, and Brunet said she competed against 21 other girls, all of whom were very impressive.
“They’re all well educated, have great life experiences and such, so I wasn’t like a shoo-in and I wasn’t 100 percent confident that I’d win,” Brunet said. “So when I did I was shocked and so excited.”
By winning the title of Miss New Hampshire, the South Hampton native has a chance to become the first New Hampshire titleholder ever to win the Miss USA crown. The closest a New Hampshire competitor has come in the past was in 2000, when Bridget Vezina won first runner-up.
Though Brunet said she’s no expert on beauty pageants, she has had some experience in the past at the state level. While in high school, Brunet competed for the title of Miss New Hampshire Teen USA twice, finishing in the Top 15 and the Top 10, according to a post on her Go Fund Me website.
After high school, Brunet went on to earn her degree in marketing and business administration from Salve Regina University in 2010, and upon graduating, she opted to start her own wedding planning business, which is based in Hampton Falls, N.H.
“About two years ago I was diagnosed with melanoma, and it kicked me into high gear to do things that I wanted to do and make those dreams a reality,” Brunet said. “So I dove in and started my own company. I definitely could’ve worked for someone and gained more experience, but that wasn’t the path that I saw myself going on.”
Similarly, it was always Brunet’s dream to be a state pageant titleholder, and having started her own company and traveled the world, she decided recently that the time was right.
Brunet said her friends and family have been incredibly supportive, particularly Lago, who wasn’t able to attend the competition himself because he was out in Mammoth Falls, Calif., trying to punch his ticket to Sochi for his second Olympic appearance. The 26-year-old Seabrook resident previously won the bronze medal in the halfpipe at the 2010 Vancouver games, and the two have been dating for three and a half years.
“It was a big day for both of us,” Brunet said.
Unfortunately, Lago’s final grand prix competition didn’t go well. Lago needed to finish second or better to secure a spot on the four-man Olympic snowboarding team, but after wiping out on his first run, he wound up finishing 13th.
Regardless, Brunet is flying out to Aspen, Colo., today to watch Lago compete in the Winter X Games, which start Thursday, and she’s bringing her newly won crown along with her.
“I don’t think I’ve ever won anything in my entire life, so this is a new experience for me,” Brunet said. “I’m usually backstage with Scott, so it’s kind of funny that the roles are reversed, but he’s been so supportive and he’s pretty excited to see me in my crown tomorrow.”
The Miss USA Pageant, which is owned by Donald Trump and NBC Universal, will take place in Las Vegas in July. The winner of the Miss USA competition will go on to represent the United States at the Miss Universe Pageant.