Miss New York USA 2021
As an adolescent, Briana Siaca would have never imagined she would be honored with the opportunity to represent New York in what would prove to be one of her most exciting and memorable life experiences.
Born in New York, Briana grew up in Brentwood, Long Island, a low income community whose youth is heavily influenced by substance abuse and gang violence. Briana recalls desperately navigating her childhood away from misconduct in her neighborhood. She spent most of her time quietly immersing herself in her studies and creating a safe-haven of education and family to combat the fear and uncertainty that consumed her each day.
Briana looked at her beloved hometown and felt conflicted. On the one hand, she felt great pride for where she comes from. Brentwood is alive with culture, supportive community members and vibrancy that only comes from the sheer will to survive and make the most of what God has given you. On the other hand, she felt a calling so deeply within her heart that this was not the future she wanted. In order to thrive, she knew she had to create an entirely new world for herself.
She spent her formative years in a single-parent household with her loving and hard-working father. In his actions and his words, Briana knew that her father would do anything for her. But suffice to say, from the community to her household, Briana had a hard time finding positive female role models as a child. Furthermore, it was even more challenging to find success stories to give her any hope of creating a different future for herself, but Briana persisted.
In 2012, Briana was admitted into Pace University, and finally moved away from Brentwood, the only world she’d ever known. Pace is an educational hub that fosters the integration of many different cultures, socio-economic classes, and diverse family structures; Briana experienced a sobering culture shock. She could have never imagined the wealth, the access to resources, and the stable home lives that many of her peers called “normal.” But she did not waver. With her goals clear and her mind sharp, she continued her studies diligently, eventually graduating Cum Laude in 2016 with a degree in Business and Chemistry. She had become the type of woman she knew her younger self would have looked up to and she knew exactly how she was meant to spend her life.
She competed in her first pageant that very year, placing as first runner-up for Miss New York USA. Briana went on to place top 5 four more years in a row before finally capturing the title of Miss New York USA on her sixth attempt and final year of eligibility. She truly left it all on the stage. She uses this experience as a testament to how resilience, persistence and hard work can change lives and achieve goals. It did for one little girl from Brentwood, Long Island and Briana continues to dedicate herself to making it happen for other young people everywhere.
She works with organizations like Girls Inc., which utilizes research-based programs to equip young women to break the cycle of poverty and to discover opportunities to pursue whatever dreams they might wish. She recently hosted a Confidence Project with the organization where she was able to share how she gains and maintains self-confidence in today’s world. She finds purpose in using each tool she’s learned along her journey to empower young women, especially those who grew up in underserved communities as she did.
During her day-to-day life, Briana is a charismatic and loving young woman. Being of Puerto Rican and Sicilian descent, she enjoys salsa dancing and making homemade pasta in her spare time. She enjoys taking her nieces on ice cream sundae dates or working on construction projects with her father. Briana is the youngest of four children and an aunt to five nieces to whom she would give the world. When she’s not with her loved ones, Briana works for a leading investment firm in Manhattan as an operations manager for many exciting projects involving real estate properties and the company’s international fashion magazine.
She is continually thankful for the blessings in her life. Her world now is a far leap — she would even say fairytale-like — from where she was as a young girl in Long Island.
Briana plans to use the title of Miss New York USA to expand her inspiring work with young people in marginalized communities, all while balancing the things she considers most important in her life: her family, her community, her mental health, and the hope of young girls everywhere that they can achieve even the most impossible dreams.