Theresa M. Agonia, 23 of Cumberland, Rhode Island, won the title of Miss Rhode Island USA 2016 on August 30, 2015, at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island. Theresa competed against 46 women to represent the beautiful state of Rhode Island at the national MISS USA® competition in 2016!
Theresa is the youngest child of Fernanda and the late Manuel Agonia, both from Viana do Castelo in Minho, Portugal. Growing up, her parents kept her very engaged in her Portuguese culture. She has been dancing traditional folkloric music with Rancho Dancas e Cantares in Cumberland, for 15 years, where she has served as dance instructor, secretary, and currently is President of the 40+ member group.
Theresa grew up watching the MISS USA® pageant. She was always amazed at how confidently beautiful all of the contestants were and knew she too wanted to one day walk the MISS USA® stage. In 2007, she competed in and won the title of Miss Dia de Portugal Rhode Island in the junior category, and later went on to win the senior category in 2009, winning a trip to Portugal. Her involvement in pageantry continued throughout the years, whether it was judging local pageants or competing in Miss Rhode Island Teen USA or Miss Rhode Island USA. This was Theresa’s fourth attempt at winning Miss Rhode Island USA, each time inching her way closer to the crown. She attributes Viola Davis’ 2013 SAG Award Winning speech message for Central Falls students to “Dream Big and Dream Fierce” as her inspiration to persevere for her dream.
In 2013, she became the first member of her family to graduate college, earning a BA in Media Communications from Roger Williams University. She has prioritized remaining active in her hometown, Central Falls, having worked in the Mayor’s Office and currently serving on the board for the Central Falls Alumni Association. Over the next year, she plans to be very involved in promoting cancer awareness in her father’s memory. Other passions she will be involved with during her reign include, access to education, increasing civic engagement, women empowerment, Alzheimer’s, the importance of blood donation, and many more.
Born and raised in Central Falls, Rhode Island, Theresa currently lives in Cumberland and is Deputy Chief of Staff for Mayor Jorge Elorza in the capital city of Providence. She looks forward to her journey ahead as Miss Rhode Island USA 2016 and fulfilling her dream to proudly represent her home state at MISS USA®!