Prior to capturing the coveted Miss Delaware United States crown in 2014 and securing the 2nd runner-up spot at the prestigious national event, Vincenza competed in pageants for many years, winning dozens of titles along the way. One highlight was when Vincenza was selected as Miss Delaware USA and competed on primetime national television in Las Vegas. She was also the first representative from Delaware to compete in the Miss Italy USA Pageant, placing Top 6 in the nation. One of her more recent titles was being selected from over millions of women across the country as the first ever national Elite Miss Earth United States 2015.
Vincenza works as a model, actress, and event hostess. She has walked the catwalk in New York City for Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, done catalog and print work, appeared in feature films, emceed and hosted dozens of events, fundraisers and nationally televised pageants, and has even been featured on the cover of numerous magazines. Vincenza also maintains a thriving television career and has filmed over 30 commercials for such well-known names as Fiat, Mercedes, Conair and Sugar House Casino.
Vincenza’s life, however, is not all about glitz, celebrity and crowns, although she is the “queen of the kitchen” at her new restaurant, the Vincenza & Margherita Italian-American Bistro! The restaurant, which opened in 2014, is the brainchild of Vincenza and younger sister Margherita, 3rd generation restaurateurs. In just a little over two years, the V&M Bistro has garnered hundreds of glowing reviews and was selected for impressive recognition including Best of Delaware 2015 Editor’s Choice for Best Italian Cuisine, Best of Delaware 2016 Best Specialty Cocktails in Upper Delaware, Best of Delaware 2017 Best Homemade Pasta, Best Cocktail for the North DelaWhere Happening List 2015, 2016, 2017, Finalist in the Readers’ Choice Award 2015 for Best Italian Restaurant, and Best of Delaware on the 2017 North Delaware Happening List.
Inside, the chic atmosphere is equal to any New York or Los Angeles hot spot. The bar is staffed with expert mixologists who create award-winning combinations like the Caramel Apple Martini or the famous Limoncello Ice Martini served with in-house made Italian lemon ice and fresh limoncello. And, V&M’s ever changing menu contains everything from delicious pasta handcrafted on site, to freshly baked bread, plus creative takes on classic favorites like Eggplant Parmigiano with Gnocchi, Timballo, and Linguini Frutti Di Mare, as well as exclusive V&M Pizzettes.
In her spare time, Vincenza works tirelessly at Success Won’t Wait, the literacy organization she co-founded in 2002, when she was just an 18-year-old high school senior. Over the past 15 years, she has been active in promoting literacy and has helped collect and redistribute well over 1 million books to communities, schools and organizations in need throughout the US and abroad.
Vincenza has been honored with several prestigious awards for her ongoing literacy efforts like the State of Delaware Jefferson Award, the Daily Points of Light Award as the Nation’s Volunteer of the Day, the Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Award, and more. Vincenza was also honored with a National Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Award for outstanding community service. She even has a day named after her; In Newark, Delaware July 15th is “Vincenza Carrieri-Russo Day.”
She is also a spokesperson for Lupus, a disease she has suffered with since 2011. In the six years since her diagnosis, Vincenza has worked tirelessly to educate the public about this often misunderstood and misdiagnosed disease. Her fundraising and awareness efforts include an annual 5K Walk and numerous speaking engagements. She even recently appeared as the cover story for Healthy Monitor’s Arthritis Magazine’s expose on Lupus.