The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Commonwealth Honors Alum Named Miss Massachusetts USA

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Sabrina Victor ’18 was recently named Miss Massachusetts USA. The Miss Universe Organization empowers women to develop the confidence they need to achieve their personal best in order to make real change throughout local, state and global communities.

Victor, who graduated from Commonwealth Honors with a dual degree in theater and journalism, says she got her inspiration to join beauty pageants during her time at UMass. After transferring to the Honors College in her junior year, Victor participated in the Miss Black and Gold competition run by the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. on-campus. To her surprise, she won Miss Black and Gold at UMass and went on through the various rounds of competition to win National Miss Black and Gold. This gave her the confidence to compete in the Miss USA system upon graduating UMass in 2018.

“At that point in time it became a small dream of mine,” Victor said of her decision to compete in the Miss USA system. “And now here I am, about to compete for Miss USA. It’s opened a lot of doors for me.”

A native of Brockton, Mass., Victor has utilized her platform as Miss Massachusetts USA to give back to the community. Though coronavirus limited some of her original plans, Victor has engaged with students and youth groups such as Best Buddies through Zoom. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit, she worked with local businesses and Bertucci’s Italian Restaurant to donate meals to frontline healthcare workers.

As an actor and performer, Victor’s main focus has been lecturing on “performance activism.”

“I love using art to speak on social issues, support young students and get them engaged in their community,” Victor said. “You can use art to tell important stories ranging from immigration issues to climate change to politics.”

Among Victor’s favorite performances she’s been a part of is The Donkey Show a long-running, audience-immersive rendition of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream created by Tony Award-winning director Diane Paulus. Victor was the first black woman to play the character of Dimitri and Vinnie in the show’s ten-year history.

She credits the UMass theater department for putting on a rare and interesting catalog of shows during her time at UMass. Theater department advisor Priscilla Page worked together with Victor as she put together her own play for her Honors thesis project, which studied black acting methods through African ritualistic traditions.

“She really helped me become an activist in my art,” said Victor about working with Page. “Before I was just an artist and I wasn’t really seeing how I could use it to make change. [The Honors thesis] was awesome, it was like the highlight of my UMass career.”

Hailing from Haitian heritage, Victor dedicates a lot of what she does to her culture. Coincidentally, she won Miss Massachusetts on January 12, 2020, the ten-year anniversary of the devastating 2010 Haiti earthquake.

“It really came full-circle for me to have won on the anniversary,” said Victor. “Being the winner, I hope to inspire some other Haitian kids out there who don’t see themselves on stages like that. I love being Haitian.”

Victor will compete at the Miss USA competition in Memphis, Tenn. on November 9. While she is looking forward to competing for the title of Miss USA, Victor says she is just grateful for the opportunity to have made it this far.

“I’m just excited to even say I get to compete,” Victor said. “If I win that would be a huge blessing and accomplishment, but if I don’t, I’ve already gotten so many doors open from this. I’m just excited to have fun.”

After all, she might have never competed in beauty pageants had she not come to UMass.

“If I hadn’t transferred to UMass or done the Miss Black and Gold pageant, I would not be where I am in my life right now,” Victor said. “I’m super grateful for the opportunities UMass gave me and I think everything happens for a reason.”

When she is not competing in pageants, Sabrina works in human resources at Bridgewater State University. She is also planning on attending Columbia University to earn her MFA in acting.