Sunday, March 27, 2011

Miss Southern NY Sweeper Pageant

The Scandinavian Center has been a second home to me this past month. Two weeks ago, I stood on that stage competing in a double sweeper pageant and was crowned with the title of Miss Liberty. Now, I'm back cheering on all the contestants competing in the Miss Southern NY sweeper pageant. Claire Buffie, the reigning Miss New York, did an excellent job emceeing the pageant. Joining me in the audience were some of my pageant sisters: Miss Southeast NY Amanda Mason, Miss Metropolitan Tara Szczepanski, Miss Queens Nardeen Bilan, and Miss Richmond County Amanda Alicea. Congratulations to Kaitlin Monte, Kasey Waters, and Kate Perkins!

Kasey Waters, Miss Greater Gotham 2011

Kaitlin Monte, Miss Southern NY 2011

Kate Perkins, Miss Five Boroughs 2011

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Movieland Murders

Kill-Her Entertainment has done it again with its first show of the season! Movieland Murders, A Hollywood Homicide is a musical murder mystery spoof on some of the most popular Hollywood actors, directors, and producers. My role was "Ginger Dodgers", a spoof on the iconic dancer Ginger Rodgers. My dance partner, Sal Pavia, and I performed a beautiful dance routine to a Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers classic: Smoke Gets In Your Eyes. I even got to share the stage with one of my Miss Staten Island sisters Marissa Terzino.

Miss Staten Island 2003 and 2009

Sal Pavia, my charming dance partner

Friday, March 25, 2011

T.E.A.C.H. Assembly at Public School 44

My first T.E.A.C.H. assembly was conducted at Public School 44. I spoke to over 250 fourth and fifth graders about my platform. These kids came to the assembly ready and eager to learn about the dangers of smoking and why it is important to never start the habit. They even prepared great questions for me about tobacco use. It was adorable when they walked into the gymnasium and saw me standing by the microphone. The kids were so excited to see me that they called me their own Miss America. Each student walked away with a T.E.A.C.H. folder, a helpful reminder of my message.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Kick Butts Day

Kick Butts Day was a great way to begin my reign as Miss Liberty. I traveled to Amityville, Long Island to celebrate the sixteenth annual event sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Kick Butts Day is a national day of activism that empowers youth to speak up and take action against tobacco use at more than 1,000 events from coast to coast. Students from schools across the country hold different events and activities that call attention to the problems caused by Big Tobacco and its attempts to market to youth. I was invited to the Park Avenue Memorial Elementary School as the guest speaker for this national event. Working with the North Shore LIJ Health System's Center for Tobacco Control, I had the opportunity to promote my platform T.E.A.C.H. to about 220 students. The gymnasium was transformed into the Kick Butts Day Carnival filled with anti-smoking booths, hand made posters by the students, and even a pig's lungs (to show what happens to a smoker's lungs after years of tobacco exposure). I was in charge of the "What's In A Cigarette" booth where I educated the students on some of the 4,000 toxins found inside a cigarette. I want to thank Patricia Folan, RN and Daniel Jacobsen, RN for inviting me participate in this event with the Center for Tobacco Control.

To view the press release for Kick Butts Day click HERE

Daniel Jacobsen, RN, Program Development for the Center of Tobacco Control

Speaking to the students

Volunteers from Amityville High School

"What's In A Cigarette" Booth

Nurses, staff, and volunteers for Kick Butts Day

Saturday, March 19, 2011

March Updates

March 1st was a busy day for me. I started at IHOP for the sixth annual National Pancake Day to support the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. Since 2006, IHOP has raised nearly $8 million to support children's hospitals throughout the country. Guests enjoyed a free stack of pancakes and in return were asked to give a donation to the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. This year the goal was to raise $2.3 million. Well, we exceeded that goal and raised $2.5 million!

Later that evening, I attended the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life Kickoff Celebration at St. John's University in the Kelleher Center. The kickoff is a way to prepare for the Relay for Life event. Invited guest were greeted by the local Relay for Life Volunteer Planning Committee and learned how to participate in the goal to eliminate cancer. Relay for Life is a nationwide movement that provides support to those affected by cancer.

Which brings me to the present. Now that you have been updated on everything prior to becoming Miss Liberty, check back frequently to read about my upcoming appearances, the promotion of my platform, and the most exciting part of all...competing for the title of Miss New York 2011!

Friday, March 18, 2011

February Updates

Smoking legislations became a big topic during the month of February. Most talked about was the passing of the Smoke Free Parks and Beaches legislations. Mayor Micheal Bloomberg announced plans to ban smoking in all city parks, beaches, and public plazas. This includes 117 city parks and 14 miles of beaches. On February 2nd, the City Council voted 36-12 to approve the legislation. The main reason for this ban is the high health risk of secondhand smoke. There will be a $50 summons if caught smoking in locations such as Central Park, the boardwalk of Coney Island, and part of Time Square. Mayor Micheal Bloomberg signed the ban into law on February 22nd and will go into effect on May 23, 2011.

Nassau County's legislators Judi Bosworth and Judy Jacobs proposed a bill that would ban smoking in cars with children under the age of eighteen riding inside. This ban would also protect against the high risk of secondhand smoke. If caught, offenders would pay a heavy $1,000 fine. This specific bill is being considered to go statewide. However, the fine would be reduced to $100 and involve children under the age of fourteen.

College campuses were not exempt from the smoking bans. It was announced that CUNY (City University of New York) wants to ban smoking on all its campuses by 2012. This tobacco policy will make CUNY the largest smoke-free public university system in the United States. The Board of Trustees voted unanimously to ban smoking on all 23 campuses in the five boroughs. This ban also prohibits the use of tobacco industry promotions and marketing on campus properties as well as tobacco industry sponsorship of athletic events and athletes.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

January Updates

Beside attending the Miss America Pageant, I had a performance opportunity with my dance company. Floorwork Dance Company was selected to perform at COAHSI's Night for Staten Island Artists on January 29th. COAHSI, which stands for Council on the Arts & Humanities for Staten Island, cultivates a sustainable and diverse cultural community for the people of Staten Island by making the arts accessible to every member of the community, supporting and building recognition for artistic achievement, and providing artists, organizations, and arts educators the technical, financial and social resources to encourage cultural production.

COAHSI programs and services are supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; the New York State Council on the Arts; The Carnegie Corporation; JPMorgan Chase Foundation; The Rockefeller Foundation; The Staten Island Foundation; Richmond County Savings Foundation; Time Warner Cable New York; New York Community Trust; Former Congressman Michael McMahon; New York City Councilman James Oddo, New York State Assemblyman Matthew Titone, New York State Senator Diane J. Savino, New York State Senator Andrew J. Lanza, and by COAHSI members.

Cecilia Flores, the Artistic Director of the company, received the DCA Art Fund from COAHSI. This grant funding wil aid her for the State Island Modern/Where Dance is Art event. She will choreograph a new piece entitled "HOPE Keeping Up with Appearances/Sisterhood." We performed Part II of the piece entitled "Sisterhood", a story about allowing ourselves to ask for help and support.

Click HERE to view the performance.

Company Members: Jennifer Cava, Stephanie Accardo, Brianna Soldano, and Kimberly Cantoni

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Miss America Week

Viva Las Vegas! What a great way to ring in the New Year by going to Las Vegas for the Miss America Pageant! Miss America week took place January 10th-January 15th at the Plant Hollywood Resort and Casino. This year was extra special because the Miss America Organization was celebrating its 90th anniversary. Think about it...90 years of Miss's an honor just to be affiliated with such a respected organization. New York is so proud of our queen, Claire Buffie. Claire finished in the Top 12 and was the America's Choice Winner! She looked stunning in her black velvet evening gown, performed a great jazz routine, looked fierce in swimsuit, and had one of the best onstage answers out of the whole pageant. One moment from that week that I remember vividly was when I saw Claire for the first time. It was at P.F. Chang's restaurant and all the Miss America contestants just finished dinner. My mother and I noticed the girls walking down the stairs as they headed back to rehearsal. We waited patiently until we spotted Claire on the stairs. We cheered: "Yay Miss New York!" When she saw us, she walked in my direction and gave me a huge hug. She looked amazing. Before we parted she said to me, "This is happening." Yes, the experience of a lifetime was a reality. The chance of having a son go to the Super Bowl is greater than having a daughter go to Miss America. Many young women dream of competing for the coveted title, but a handful get that opportunity each year. And you only get to go ONCE. So to see your friend have that "this is happening" moment is truly inspiring. From trade shows to attending rehearsals to attending an invitation only MacDuggal trunk show to cheering at the preliminary competitions, and everything else in between, you can say I had an amazing time in Las Vegas. The following pictures are the best way to summarize the week. Surrounded by the excitement that is Miss America, I hope to one day have my own "this is happening" moment.
Miss America 2004 Ericka Dunlap Miss America 2006 Jennifer Berry (and one of my favorite Miss Americas!) Miss America 2007 Lauren Nelson
Tuesday Night Preliminary Swimsuit Winner- Miss Hawaii Jalee Fuselier Tuesday Night Preliminary Talent Winner- Miss North Carolina
Adrienne Core
Wednesday Night Preliminary Swimsuit Winner- Miss Alabama Ashley Davis Wednesday Night Preliminary Talent Winner- Miss Rhode Island Deborah Saint-Vil Thursday Night Preliminary Swimsuit Winner- Miss Oklahoma Emoly West Thursday Night Preliminary Talent Winner- Miss Nebraska Teresa Scalan AND MISS AMERICA 2011! Miss New York Claire Buffie

Miss New York Claire Buffie and Miss Staten Island Maria DeSantis Miss New York 2005 Kandice Pelletier

All the ladies color coordinating

Miss Staten Island Maria DeSantis Miss District of Columbia Stephanie Williams and she's a fellow Wagner College alumnae!

Miss New Jersey Ashley Udalovas
Miss Manhattan 2010 Jackie Holmes
Sally Johnston , Miss New Jersey Executive Director Gregory Ellenburg, designer for this fabulous blue cocktail dress!