As the 2011 Miss New York State pageant week approaches in our new home of Staten Island, we are drumming up lots of press and media thanks to the Staten Island Advance and our volunteers and board members in community relations there on the Island. Thursday, following a wonderful lunch at the Staten Island Rotary Club, we had a really great opportunity for eight of the Miss New York contestants to join me, Kenny Mack (Executive Director) and Al Lambert, Staten Island celeb and musician, to record a 30-minute segment to be aired on cable networks in Staten Island, Manhattan and Brooklyn in the month leading up to the pageant. I believe it’s so important to emphasize the number of women in this organization rather than just focusing on the one representative of Miss America or of the state titleholder.
- · Miss NYC, Hannah Wright, spoke about the integration of her talent as a Juilliard dancer into her platform of empowering youth through dance as well as the fact that the Miss America Organization has awarded her over $10,000 in scholarships that afford her the ability to attend such a prestigious school.
- · Miss Queens, Nardeen Billan, spoke of bringing her culture and heritage to the Miss NY stage through belly dancing and the excitement of pageantry back to her family. She gave us a little insight on her Mr. New York contestant – her boyfriend!
- · Miss Kings County, Carmen Mendoza, talked about her personal platform “Destigmatizing Getting Tested” about HIV/AIDS awareness and knowing your status. And did you know, Salsa dance, her talent for Miss NY, kind of originated in New York clubs?
- · Miss Five Boroughs, Kate Perkins, reflected on the excitement and challenges presented as a first-time competitor and how the organization has already influence her life. She even sang a little impromptu tune with Al.
- · Miss Greater Gotham, Kasey Waters, admittedly discussed something that makes New York unique in the MAO, the fact that we draw contestants from many states, herself from North Carolina originally, because of the amount of young women who come to New York City especially to pursue dreams, careers and school. Kasey represents New York in addition to North Carolina, two of the nine states represented in this year’s contestants.
- · Miss Liberty, Kim Cantoni, one of the three Staten Island girls in the competition this year, shared some of the exciting things we’ll be doing during the Miss New York week
- · Miss Richmond County, Amanda Alicea, another Staten Islander, is a former Miss New York’s Outstanding Teen (one of 3 in the competition this year) and shared how the Outstanding Teen program for girls age 13-17 really feeds into the Miss New York Scholarship Program for women 18-24.
- · And lastly, Miss Staten Island, Maria DeSantis, an obvious Staten Islander, shared in the excitement of bringing the state pageant to it’s new home in Staten Island at the St. George Theatre and acknowledged the incredible support and family-oriented community involvement of the Island’s residents, businesses, charitable organizations and politicians.
If this media experience was any taste of what the girls will be bringing to interview and the state competition, we’re in for a good year! I was really impressed by the way the girls stepped up with such enthusiasm on such short notice and represented the organization so well. Special thanks to Al Lambert and Terry Terrangelo for setting this up, Joel the camera guy from CTV and the Nicotras at the Hilton for allowing us to tape at our host hotel. I was able to take a tour of the entire Hilton – it’s huge! – and check out Lorenzo’s Cabaret where the Mr. New York Pageant will be held. So excited!