Whitestone pageant teen Katherine McQuade wears her crown proudly.
The 16-year-old won the title of Miss New York Junior Teen during this year’s National American Miss statewide competition in August. The state queen wowed a panel of judges in Brooklyn and beat out 144 other hopefuls in her southern division.
McQuade did not go on to win the national contest this November in California, but the once-shy borough beauty said feeling comfortable in her skin is the real prize.
“I think competing has helped me with so many different things in life,” she said. “I was an extremely shy little girl when I first started pageants [at age 10]. I’m so much more confident. I know who I am, and I have pageants to thank for that.”
But the Professional Performing Arts High School student and dancer did not go home empty handed in the country-wide competition.
She placed second runner up in casual wear modeling, fourth runner up in talent, second runner up in the “best thank you note” contest, first runner up in the art contest, first runner up in the scrapbook contest and first runner up in volunteer service. McQuade also won the prestigious “Golden Achievement in Service Award.”
“It was truly amazing,” McQuade said. “I was very excited and felt really blessed winning those awards. It showed my hard work paid off.”
That hard work, the teen said, includes prepping for long periods of time with a coach and squeezing in time between school and homework to rehearse speeches and improve her dance.
McQuade hopes her dedication will help her place in her next contest, the USA Ambassador Pageant held in Connecticut — where she’ll go to compete in February – and ultimately land her a role in Radio City Music Hall as a renowned Rockette.
“I think competing for me is just everything,” she said. “Pageants are meant to empower women. I feel amazing now. I’m not scared. I’m confident. I’m growing. I am a girl with dreams.”