Five years after she watched her one-time baby sitter, Ruth Zakarian win the Miss Teen USA Pageant, today’s Amsterdam Birthday Celebrant almost duplicated the feat, finishing first runner-up in the 1988 version of the same event. Born in Schenectady, NY on April 1, 1971, Jessica Capogna moved to Amsterdam as a young girl and grew up with her mom Eileen, on Bunn Street.
Like Zakarian, Capogna had captured the Miss New York State Teen title in June of 1988, after completing her junior year at Amsterdam High School. She then travelled to San Bernardino, California the following month to compete (as Jessica “Collins”) against the most beautiful teens from around the country. Just about everyone in her hometown was glued to their TV’s during the nationally televised pageant. Thanks to live on screen scoring results, we all knew this beautiful young lady was one of the judges’ favorites that evening, as she received the highest scores in a number of the categories including both the bathing suit and personal interview segments. But in the end, she was somehow edged out for the title and the $150,000 worth of prizes that went along with it by Miss Oregon.
She then returned to Amsterdam, where she completed her senior year at AHS and served as captain of the school’s majorette corps. From there it was off to acting schools in London and Los Angeles, followed by a long successful acting career during which she again used her “Jessica Collins” stage name.
Her acting credits included…
The rest of Jessica Collins’ birthday post will be published in the second editionof A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam NY Birthdays, which will be available for sale right after Thanksgiving. To make sure you get your hands on one of the first copies, join my mailing list here.
The first edition of A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam NY Birthdays, which features my birthday posts for 320 current or former Amsterdam residents, is currently being sold at Liberty Fresh Market, on Route 30 in Amsterdam. You can also purchase it online here.
Jessica shares her April 1 birthday with this former Amsterdam Recorder columnist/reporter and historian.