- Andrea Piecuch opens up about her philanthropic aspirations and the need for local efforts in the US.
- She has an encouraging message for other models wrongly accused of pageant hopping.
- Talks about her recent success streak expressing gratitude.
Participating in one of the Big Four beauty pageants as a representative of her country or territory is an honor for any beautiful and intelligent young woman. Born in 1991, Andrea is 5’10 feet tall and has worked as a model, air stewardess, and is also a businesswoman.
As the elected Miss US Virgin Islands for 2019, Andrea Piecuch represented the USVI territory at the Miss Universe beauty pageant in December 2019 at the Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, Georgia.
We grabbed the opportunity presented to us to chat with Andrea Piecuch because she is difficult to find as she is currently devoting herself to her commitments as the current elected Miss US Virgin Islands, including various modeling assignments.
Andrea, it has been a while since we talked. I know that you have participated in a few beauty pageants in your life, but now that you have had time to recover from the whirlwind of winning one title and participating in the prestigious Miss Universe pageant how did you feel?
Yes, I have been lucky to have had the opportunity to participate in a few pageants since I have traveled around quite a bit with my family, studied away from home, and have worked in quite a few places.
Since my work has brought me to the US Virgin Islands, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to participate in and be crowned Miss US Virgin Islands 2019. Winning the crown gave me the chance to realize my lifelong dream, to participate in the Miss Universe Pageant.
Did the participation meet your expectations?
It was fantastic. Ninety contestants from all over the globe, each one extremely beautiful. What struck me was the level of all the entrants, the girls were all professional and their personalities were marvelous.
Contrary to what many people think, these girls are not just obsessed with their beauty, hair, clothes, and make-up but are intelligent and genuinely concerned about various environmental, and social issues.
What were your thoughts when the current Miss Universe, Zozibini Tunzi was crowned?
Miss Universe is a pageant known for its stiff competition, and Zozibini excelled in every way. What makes Zozibini stand out most for me is her confidence and the way she has embraced her beauty. She was never self-conscious at any stage of the contest, not even when she spoke. She is a genuine person who means to change many perceptions about race and cultures and she managed to convey her message across beautifully.
You are also very poised and confident. How do you manage to keep calm, because it must be nerve-wracking to be standing in front of people who judge every aspect of you?
Yes, that is something that comes with time. Initially, when I was younger, I was more self-conscious and tried too hard. Leaving home to study was my first step into becoming an independent woman and with time, my confidence grew.
However, my biggest confidence boost came when I decided to apply for a job as an air stewardess. I worked for Emirates for three years and I can’t begin to tell how I grew from there. In the time I worked for the airline I flew to over 70 countries and was exposed to so many different cultures and experiences.
What are your plans once you hand over your Miss US Virgin Islands crown?
These past 8 months have flown. I have been very busy and I have met some wonderful people from many industries and have done some exciting things. Even though I have been working very hard, I have also had some time to think about my future. Modeling will always play a major role in my life, but I am also planning to start something new. However, that is still in the pipeline so I cannot say anything about those plans just yet.
How did you feel about the controversy that immediately followed your crowning as Miss US Virgin Islands?
There is not much that I would like to add to that story because as far as I am concerned there was no controversy. I live on St Thomas and have been here for over 2 years now. I provided all the proof that was required of me and I feel that I have represented the culture of the US Virgin Islands with respect and pride.
What would you say to aspiring models who have no experience in dealing with the media?
I will say though, for the sake of all the other models who were wrongly accused of pageant hopping over the years, and in times to come: ladies you have worked incredibly hard, don’t take it personal when the media gets it wrong. Every sport has its injuries as they say but thank goodness, we also have honorable members of the media out there. My fans and others in the media were incredibly supportive – including most people in the US Virgin Islands.
This was not your first beauty pageant?
I was born in Virginia, but my family has since moved to Utah. Other than smaller pageants over the years, I had also enrolled in the Miss Utah contest early in 2019, which I participated in and came third. I am eligible to participate there because my family is there.
Don’t you miss being close to your family?
Since I attended college in Texas, I have moved quite a bit. We have got used to the distance between us, especially when I lived in the UAE. I do miss them, but I try and see them whenever I have a break in my work commitments, and we speak every day.
Can you tell us about your philanthropic aspirations as a successful businesswoman?
Some of the biggest philanthropists I know don’t publicize their good deeds. However when we do, it can inspire others to follow in our footsteps and do something good. I am thinking especially about a recent interview where best-selling author and Hollywood personal trainer Phil Catudal and Versace model Fariba Rahimi spoke about cancer awareness. Others like model Amanda Van Annan use a podcast series to live out their passion for women’s rights and empowerment. These are all great examples of how we can use our time and resources for a good purpose to help others. I would say that right now, considering the devastating consequences of COVID-19 in our own country: charity can also begin at home. We have millions of unemployed people, homelessness and, as Peter Navarro pointed out: other health issues that got brushed aside which may itself lead to a higher death rate than that caused by COVID-19 itself. So we have a great need in the U.S. right now for philanthropy focusing on local needs.
Andrea, I want to thank you for taking the time to chat. In parting what would you like to say to those young girls aspiring to follow in your footsteps.
My family fostered children and I also have an adopted sister. I realized early on in my life that encouragement and empowerment are important for young girls. At the Miss Universe contest, I realized that most of the contestants shared my views We are role-models and we need to help these young girls believe that their dreams can come true.
My advice to them, just be yourselves and always have a smile on your face. No matter what others believe about you, always believe in yourselves and you will achieve everything you dream about.