Former Bristol Miss Fourth competing for Miss Rhode Island

By Ethan Hartley
Posted 5/27/22

Samantha Golden, the 2016 winner of the Bristol Miss Fourth pageant, has her eyes set on another prize — the title of Miss Rhode Island — and will be competing in a pageant this weekend for that chance.

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Former Bristol Miss Fourth competing for Miss Rhode Island

Posted

Samantha Golden has already achieved a lot for a 23-year-old.

The Bristol native and lifelong resident not only captured the coveted title of Miss Fourth of July in 2016, she has already accomplished her career dream of becoming a special education teacher in her hometown — working mornings at Guiteras Elementary School.

“I love working with kids and making a difference in their lives, it means a lot to me,” Golden said, adding that helping her sister with her education provided inspiration for that career path.

That job came, also, after graduating Summa Cum Laude from URI in 2020, celebrating her achievement in a less then traditional sense with her roommates in her college dorm living room in classic early pandemic style.

“It was definitely an experience and something I won’t forget,” she said, adding that she was thankful to eventually be able to walk the stage during a makeup ceremony in October of 2021.

Now, the ambitious young woman has her eyes set on another prize — the title of Miss Rhode Island — and will be competing in a pageant this weekend for that chance.

“I think this past year with COVID and this being a year of change for my life, I thought it was a good opportunity to give it a try and do it now while I’m young instead of looking back and regretting not doing it,” she said.

Although Golden doesn’t consider herself to be as competitive, perhaps, as some of the other girls entering the competition — instead of a pageant coach, she has her dedicated and supportive mother, Tina, filling that role — she is still excited about the opportunity to become the first woman from the East Bay to earn the title of Miss Rhode Island. She says that she is reveling in the pressure of the moment, and encourages others to strive for goals that may seem intimidating.

“Step out of your comfort zone, even though it might seem scary,” she said. “The Miss Fourth pageant was a fun thing for me, but now with the Miss Rhode Island, it’s something that I really pushed myself to do. It seemed scary, and I’m still really nervous, but it’s something that, looking forward, I want to be more open to doing things out of my comfort zone. Change is scary, but it will be worth it in the end hopefully.”

Outside of pageantry and teaching, Golden is a gym rat — a passion she uncovered during the lockdown, channeled through popular at-home workout programs found online, and now shared at the gym with her family. She is also a certified veteran of Swanea’s Eskimo King, where she has scooped ice cream for 10 years, in addition to working a job at the Portside Tavern in Bristol.

“I spend a lot of my time working but I do love it,” she said.

Moving forward, Golden hopes to earn her Masters degree in special education. She said she was grateful for her strong support system, which includes her family, friends, and her former teachers-turned colleagues at Guiteras.

“They’ve been super supportive throughout this whole journey,” she said. “And it has been a journey.”

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.