SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Miss Louisiana, — Laryssa Bonacquisti — describes being a part of the Miss America pageant as amazing.
Bonacquisti was in the top 7 where she won the preliminary awards for talent and the lifestyle and fitness (the swimsuit competition).
"I always said, after I got the swimsuit award, I could go home now," Bonacquisti said.
She said that she's still in awe of all the things that she's accomplished. One of the best things about competing was meeting the other young women in the pageant.
"Everyone sees on TV their beauty and talent," Bonacquisti said. "But the intelligence level behind each one of those women is so beyond belief. They break every stereotype anyone has of a pageant girl."
Before she graced the stage as Miss America, she was first Miss Shreveport.
Being in the Miss America pageant is also a family tradition, her mother Lynette Falls Bonacquisti is Miss New Jersey 1990.
"To follow in her footsteps is something that's more than amazing," Bonacquisti said.
Now that the pageant has ended, Bonacquisti is speaking at schools, stopping at Midway Elementary in Shreveport on Tuesday. She is also spreading the word of pancreatic cancer, which her grandmother died from.
"My grandmother's birthday would have been two days ago," Bonacquisti said. "And it reminded me constantly of the legacy she left behind. I know she would want me to speak about that, not just as Miss Louisiana, but for the rest of my life.
Now, Bonacquisti will spend the next nine months, taking a break from school, and traveling.
"I dedicate everything to this opportunity which is so wonderful," Bonacquisti said. "Even though I have one more year of my undergraduate degree, I get an entire year to focus on my job which is being Miss Louisiana."
She calls Monroe home for the moment, living on campus at the University of Louisiana at Monroe.
"Even though I'm LSU at heart, I feel like I have a little bit of Warhawk in me now," Bonacquisti added.