Saturday, April 30, 2011

Never Ending Friendships

When you compete in a pageant, probably one of the last things you are thinking about is making life long friendships. Stereotypically, people would assume that pageant girls are another type of "mean girls". Everyone is cut-throat, trying to outdo one another. On the contrary, these girls are genuine and supportive to each other. Some of my best friends are "pageant sisters". Even though we are competing for the same goal, there are many qualities that makes us all compatible. Think about it: we all care about the community, we all are passionate about our platforms, we all go through the same struggles of dieting, and we all share similar interests that bonds us together.

A few weeks ago, I attended one of my good friend's wedding. Keelie Sheridan was my roommate at Miss New York 2009 (she was Miss Brooklyn; I was Miss Staten Island). We shared the stage again the following year. From getting to know Keelie over the past two years, I can tell you she is one amazing person. She is one of the most compassionate people I have had the pleasure of knowing. The work she has done as a titleholder is outstanding. Our friendship began thanks to the Miss America Organization. It was a joy to be a part of her big day. I could not stop smiling during the wedding ceremony. I am so happy for her; I was proud to witness my friend marry the love of her life (and a great guy I may add). I am blessed to have her as one of my friends! Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Kurtz!

I am honored to call these "pageant girls" my friends. So don't believe everything you hear about pageant girls. You could be standing on stage right next to your bridesmaids.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Casinos: Where Breathing is More Than a Bad Bet

The Staten Island Advance had an interesting article about casinos that allow smoking. Currently, 88% of commercial casinos nationally allow smoking. Researchers found that patrons and workers in casinos that allow smoking are subject to carcinogenic chemicals and air particulate pollution levels up to ten times higher then smokefree casinos. They found that ventilation and air cleaning systems did not measurably affect indoor smoke levels.

A new study suggests that less than two hours of exposure to secondhand smoke in a casino puts patrons and workers at acute risk of developing heart disease, pulmonary disease and cancer. The only effective control for secondhand smoke is reducing the number of smokers.

High intensity smoking, more than twenty cigarettes per day, has declined markedly across the nation. That fact, however, may not be the case inside casinos where clouds of cigarette fumes remain part of the iconic scene. Hopefully that will change in time, until then don't hold your breath...unless you're in a casino.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Knock Tobacco Out of the Park

Baseball season is finally here! And the American tradition is taking on a new initiative. Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association are negotiating a new contract that would make baseball tobacco-free. Smokeless tobacco has been a big part of baseball. Many players are seen chewing tobacco at the ballpark and in televised games. This acts as a negative influence among our youth. Many young athletes become enamored by their favorite players and imitate their every move. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smokeless tobacco use among high school boys has increased 36% since 2003. Currently, 15% of high school boys use smokeless tobacco. Smokeless tobacco has been found to cause oral cancer, pancreatic cancer, cardiovascular disease, gum disease, tooth decay and mouth lesions.

You can help "knock tobacco out of the park" by clicking HERE

Sunday, April 10, 2011

JFK Runway Run and Alzheimer's Festival

Today was a busy day with back-to-back appearances! My first stop was at the JFK Airport. The JFK Rotary Club had organized their annual JFK 5K Runway Run on the terminal of the airport. Now how many people can say they stepped foot onto an airport runway? I was invited to assist with the event, speak about the Miss New York Organization, and hand out awards to all the winners. This event originated in April 1973 thanks to Tom Carmody, one of the founders of this club. The Run on the Runway race has become one of the major fund raisers for the JFK Rotary Club. Funds raised from the race are used to support scholarships, sponsor terminally ill children from countries with limited medical and technological services, and for life-saving heart operations at local hospitals. It was an honor to be present for this monumentious event. Special thank you to the JFK Rotary Club, especially Rudy Auslander, for embracing me with open arms and inviting me to participate in such a successful event.

Click HERE to learn more about the JFK Runway Run

and click HERE to view my personal page the Rotary created for me!

Jerry Spampanato, JFK Airport General Manager

Jesse Cromer, JFK Rotary President

Rudy Aslander, Event Organizer and JFK Rotary

Diane Carmody, wife of Tom Carmody (founder of JFK
Runway Run, 1973) and Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano

After that amazing morning I headed back to Staten Island. I made an appearance with the Alzheimer's Foundation of Staten Island at their annual Food and Wine Festival. The Renaissance played host to this extravagant event full of speciality dishes form Staten Island's best restaurants and desserts prepared by local bakeries. Not only did I get to enjoy all of the delicious food, but I was asked to be a celebrity server! It was a ton of fun! Jack LiGreci, owner of the Staaten, was presented with the Robert R. Merlino Memorial Endless Pastabilities Award for his dedication to the foundation's food fundraiser.

Gladys Schweiger, Executive Director of Alzheimer's Foundation

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Miss New York 2011 Spring Workshop

The St. George Theatre was bustling with excitement as Miss and Teen contestants gathered for the Miss New York 2011 Spring Workshop. This was a great opportunity to meet all the girls, hand in all our paperwork, and learn more about pageant week. I performed my talent for the Reality Panel, which included Kent Parham (Artistic Producer and Choreographer for Miss New York), Jeoffrey Watson (Mr. New York 2010), and Kelli Cooke-Bodnar (former Miss Brooklyn). Let me just say how ebullient I was to have the chance to dance on the St. George Theatre stage. The panel had great feedback especially since I decided to dance a new routine. Kent reviewed the pageant show as Kenny Mack, the Miss New York Executive Director, went over the schedule of events for pageant week. Claire Buffie shared some helpful tips for the interview competition. She even showed us her actually Miss America interview! After that, we headed back to the stage to work on walking, posing, and the opening number with Kent. Kandice Pelletier, Miss New York 2005, stopped by to talk to us about the swimsuit competition. The day concluded with the selection of the contestant order for the competition. So without further ado, here is the Miss New York Class of 2011:

Miss Brooklyn Christina Moore ~ Miss Buffalo Desiree Wiley ~ Miss Empire Rose Colleen Gagne ~ Miss Empire Star Jennifer Pollard ~ Miss Finger Lakes Charlotte Booth ~ Miss Five Boroughs Kate Perkins ~ Miss Forest Queen Allison Carlos ~ Miss Fulton County Kieren Sheridan ~ Miss Greater Gotham Kasey Waters ~ Miss Greater Rochester Chelsea Prophet ~ Miss Kings County Carmen Mendoza ~ Miss Liberty Kimberly Cantoni ~ Miss Manhattan Mallory Hagan ~ Miss Metropolitan Tara Szczepanski ~ Miss Mohawk Valley Lynn Tryon ~ Miss New York City Hannah Wright ~ Miss Queens Nardeen Bilan ~ Miss Richmond County Amanda Alicea ~ Miss Southeast NY Amanda Mason ~ Miss Southern NY Kaitlin Monte ~ Miss Staten Island Maria DeSantis ~ Miss Thousand Islands Morgan Bocciolatt

Wagner College Girls: Maria, Kim, and Christina

Staten Island Girls: Amanda, Kim, and Maria

Lois Wims, Miss Liberty Liaison

Miss New York Class of 2011

Miss New York Class of 2011 with Claire Buffie

Miss New York Class of 2011 with Claire Buffie

Friday, April 1, 2011

New Headshots!

April started on the right track with new headshots! I headed into the city to meet up with my photographer for the day, Claire Buffie. She is an amazing photographer and has a knack for getting your personality to shine in your photos. For the past two years, I used a headshot that was more of a natural look. This time around, I wanted a more glamorous headshot for Miss New York. Claire and Gloria, my make-up artist, helped me achieve the glamour I wanted for my headshot. Thank you both for a great day! More photos to come but here is my new headshot!