Andrea Wise

The dressing rooms backstage at the Garde Arts Center in New London, Conn. buzzed with young women busily prepping for one of the biggest moments in their lives.

Twenty-four women ages 18-24 would compete for the Miss Connecticut crown, a coveted title that comes with a $5,000 scholarship and the opportunity to represent The Nutmeg State at the Miss America Pageant in January. Twenty-two girls ages 14-17 would compete for the junior crown, Miss Connecticut's Outstanding Teen.

These are some moments I found backstage before the finals on June 30th, 2012.