You will represent NY at the Ms America Pageant, how will you prepare the contest ?
Representing the State of New York is a great honor! To get ready for the Ms. America Pageant, I have really focused on just being myself and making decisions about all aspects of the pageant based on who I am and what I represent. I think a true Ms. America will be confident and comfortable with who she is as a person and so I have made an effort not to lose myself in the preparation process. Win or lose I will have done my best, as myself, and that is something to be proud of.
Photos by Lisa Garcia
What unique characteristics would you say you bring to the competition?
I think I bring a great combination of warmth and professionalism. I bring a genuine interest in people and in my community and a warmth that encourages conversation. I am also an attorney and an investment business owner so I understand the importance of being professional. Both of these qualities are important for a titleholder, as well as in life. I also have a great sense of humor and that will serve me well during the stress and unpredictability of competition.
What do you expect to gain by competing in pageantry?
I have gained perspective from the many people in the mental health community that have reached out to me as an advocate. It is humbling and an honor. I have also gained many new friends, lots of new experiences and several new dresses. ;)
Tell me something about yourself and your work. What do you actually do, and have done in the past?
I am a licensed attorney and after practicing several years with a Fortune 500 company, I segued into real estate investment. I still get to use my legal skills on an almost daily basis but being an entrepreneur suits my personality and my professional goals much better. I also love the flexibility of owning my own business. It give me much more time with my five-year old daughter and time for travel, which I love. As far as what I have done in the past, I was formerly a dance studio teacher/owner, retail sales associate and lifestyle store co-owner. I also interned in both the legislative and judicial branches of state government. I think it is safe to say that I have a varied work background. ;) All of it has taught me something that is relevant to what I do today.
Social media seem to play a major role in pageantry nowadays. Do you think this is advantageous to you? Why or why not?
I do! Being able to reach a broader audience when you have something to say is a wonderful gift. The pageant community can be very supportive of its members and I have found this to be true in my social media experience. As long as you use it wisely and for good, social media can play a powerful and positive role in pageantry.
Did you face any moment of disappointment with yourself during the pageant journey, and how did you overcome it?
I really haven't. I have done my best to represent the State of New York, to connect with the community, to encourage other people on this journey and to promote mental health awareness during my time as a title holder. I have also done my best to prepare for the pageant in a way that is authentic. I feel like this journey has been a success, no matter how it turns out.
We’ve all seen the stereotypical portrayals of pageant contestants, a la Miss Congeniality, spreading peace, love and beauty throughout the world. How do you think you'll make a difference ?
Let me first say that I love that movie! I appreciate the parody of it and I hope others do too. I think making a difference comes from a genuine interest in your platform and in people. I have both. I want to make a direct impact on an issue that is important to me - mental health - during my time as a titleholder and beyond. I want to make a difference by connecting with people on a real level, by listening . . . and perhaps by spreading a little peace, love and beauty along the way. ;)
What would you advise any young girl out there who has a dream of being a queen one day?
Go for it! Win or lose you will gain so much. Just the interview experience alone will be hugely useful to you in the future and you will make new friends and challenge your own belief in yourself, which all make the experience worthwhile. Also, if you really want to be a queen, never give up. There is a lot of preparation and practice that goes into this, so put in the work and see each competition as a chance to learn and move closer to your goal.
Thanks to the beautiful Jolyn for the interview. Pageants News wishes you all the very best for Ms America pageant.