A Whitestone resident won big at a national pageant celebrating the inner and outer beauty of outstanding young women throughout the country.
Katherine McQuade was crowned 2016-17 National American Miss after representing New York state in the competition which took place in Hollywood, California, over Thanksgiving weekend. She was selected out of hundreds of candidates.
“[Winning the title means] everything,” McQuade said. “I have been competing with National American Miss since the age of 10 and winning the national title is truly a childhood dream come true.”
McQuade made her first official appearance as 2016-17 National American Miss at the third annual children’s holiday parade and tree lighting in Bayside on Sunday, Dec. 4.
The pageant winner is in her junior year at Marymount Manhattan College, where she has earned Dean’s List accolades. She teaches at Landrum School of Performing Arts in Whitestone, where she was a student for 16 years.
McQuade said her experience at the school has been an indispensable part of her journey.
“I have been a member of Landrum School of Performing Arts my entire life, and now I’m a dance teacher there,” McQuade said. “Annette Vallone, director of the studio, has helped with my journey to this crown in many ways. If it wasn’t for countless dance competitions under her direction — always reminding us the importance of winning and losing graciously and to never give up — I would not be the person I am today.”
McQuade also models, posing for bridal, prom and pageant gown designer ASHLEYlauren and as a feature and cover model in the Prom Cool Book 2017.
Also active in philanthropy, McQuade has raised over $5,000 for pancreatic cancer awareness through her platform “Promoting Hope – Potholders for Pancreatic Cancer Awareness,” which she founded to honor her late grandmother who passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2005.
“I plan to use my [National American Miss] title to continue to promote my platform and empower young woman across the country,” McQuade said.
The pageant winner will travel across the country in the new year representing National American Miss during the Pageant Program Summer Tour and will eventually return to California, where she will crown her successor.
McQuade plans on graduating from her college summa cum laude and dreams of one day performing with the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes. For now, McQuade is reveling in the moment.
“I want to continue my pageant career, but I have not decided whether I will enter Miss America, Miss USA or Miss United States, as I am enjoying my reign as your 2016-2017 National American Miss,” McQuade said.
The National American Miss pageant program seeks to recognize the accomplishments of each participant and emphasize the importance of gaining self-confidence, learning new skills and setting and achieving personal goals.