Pittston Baby Wins National Cuteness Contest
PITTSTON TWP. — The baby with the big blue eyes won her family a trip to Fiji on Friday after being voted the cutest child in a nationwide photo contest.
Television hosts Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest announced on their show “Live! with Kelly and Ryan” that 10-month-old Ophelia Mecadon is the winner of their Oh Baby Photo Contest, which has been running since May.
“This is incredible,” Ophelia’s mother, Simone Mecadon, said Friday afternoon. “I never expected to make it this far. This whole experience has just been crazy.”
The family says they decided to enter Ophelia into the contest because people frequently stop and comment about how beautiful she is. The baby with the captivating gaze made it through round one, which began in May, and was announced as a top 10 finalist on July 3.
Ophelia made the top five earlier this week, and got more votes than the other finalists — from Texas, Michigan and Georgia — to win the contest on Friday.
Mecadon said she had been doubtful they would win, based upon likes Ophelia’s photo was getting on social media. As of Friday, Ophelia’s photo on the show’s Instagram page had more than 22,000 likes — but another girl from Georgia had more than 29,000.
“I was just hoping that the online votes that we couldn’t see were really high, and they obviously were because we won,” Mecadon said. “I can’t believe it!”
The family watched the announcement at the Keystone Dental Center in Scranton, where Ophelia’s father Francis C. Mecadon is a dentist.
“We went crazy!” said Maria Domal, who works at the center. “I just always thought she would win because I just think she’s absolutely beautiful. But we all went crazy.”
Simone Mecadon said the building “exploded with excitement” at the news and that she then had to console Ophelia, who was frightened by all the commotion.
The prize for winning the contest is a paid vacation for four people at the Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort on the South Pacific island of Fiji. The prize includes eight days and seven nights at the resort as well as airfare provided by Fiji Airlines.
The show’s rules list the prize value at $13,885.
Simone Mecadon said the prize has to be redeemed within a year and that the family will have to decide about whether Ophelia will be able to make a roughly 18-hour flight to the other side of the world.
“We’re deciding what would be best for her. It might be kind of hard. We’ll see,” she said. “If she doesn’t go, we’ll definitely do something else to celebrate with her.”
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