Former Trenton resident Marina Gray was crowned Miss Maine 2018 at Holiday Inn Portland by the Bay Saturday, beating out 22 other competitors. PHOTO COURTESY OF MARINA GRAY

Trenton native is Miss Maine

PORTLAND — A Trenton native was named Miss Maine 2018, beating out 22 other contestants at the Holiday Inn Portland by the Bay Saturday.

Marina “Rosie” Gray will represent Maine at the Miss USA competition in 2018.

“I’m really in shock,” said Gray in a telephone interview Tuesday. “I knew I could win, but it’s an amazing feeling.”

Miss Maine is the first pageant that Gray has ever entered. She had about three months to prepare, she said.

Miss USA 2016, Deshauna Barber, inspired Gray to compete. Barber is thought to be the first Miss USA to be a member of the armed forces.

“After seeing a Facebook post about her success, I decided it was OK for me to take charge of my physical beauty, and it was OK for me to feel beautiful in my own skin and be a member of the service as well,” Gray said.

Gray is an Army National Guard sergeant in the 133rd Engineer Battalion in Brunswick. She is a petroleum supply specialist and was named Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year at her unit.

“I have been a member of the United States Army since I was 17 years old,” said Gray, who is 22.

“I never really focused on external beauty or my appearance,” she said. “I always felt my beauty could be distracting in a service environment.

“I can be a member of the United States Army, and I can put on my pageant heels and clothes and be a beauty queen at the same time,” she said. “It’s actually quite powerful to take charge of your beauty.”

Speaking of heels, Gray said learning to walk in heels was the hardest part of the pageant preparation. She is used to wearing Army boots or flat shoes.

“I definitely am very proud to be a titleholder,” Gray said. “It’s given me opportunity because I come from a low-income family. This opportunity is much bigger for me than me walking on stage and presenting myself.”

Gray finished high school a year early. She spent two years at Ellsworth High School and a year at Brewer High School, from which she graduated in 2012.

“I always felt there was something more for me out there,” Gray said about her decision to complete high school early.

When she’s not fulfilling her Army National Guard duties, Gray works as a waitress at the Portland restaurant Scales. She also does cinematography work.

Gray, who grew up in Trenton, graduated last December from the University of Maine with a degree in interpersonal communication.

She said her pageant platform is going to be encouraging young people to focus on their internal confidence as the driving force for success.

“She decided to change her circumstances and work hard to achieve great things,” said Heather Dorr, Gray’s former teacher. “She is larger-than-life and a gift to all who know her.”


Jennifer Osborn

Jennifer Osborn

Reporter and columnist at The Ellsworth American
News Reporter Jennifer Osborn covers news and features on the Blue Hill Peninsula and Deer Isle-Stonington. She welcomes tips and story ideas. She also writes the Gone Shopping column. Email Jennifer with your suggestions at [email protected] or call 667-2576.

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