Forty and fabulous – that’s what Harper’s Bazaar thought of 43-year-old Bayside resident Kariza Chan.
Chan’s three teenage daughters entered her name and photo in the magazine’s “Fabulous at Every Age” contest and was selected by the editors, from thousands nationwide, as the most chic and stylish woman of her age group.
“It was unbelievable,” the enthusiastic winner said, upon learning she was a finalist. “I was in shock when I got the email. I thought it was just a subscription renewal – and I had to make sure it was real.”
The contest, sponsored by cosmetic giant Estée Lauder, began its search for America’s très chic women in August, to find someone to fill each of their five categories: 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s.
"We received so many entries from fantastically chic women of all ages," said Harper’s Bazaar editor-in-chief Glenda Bailey. “The finalists are living proof that great style has nothing to do with the date on your driver’s license. Women who look fabulous at every age know the secret is dressing with confidence and having fun with fashion.”
The 5-foot-9 Chan and the other winners: Nicole Otero of Manhattan (20s); Trinette Faint of Massachusetts (30s); Valerie Duca of Michigan (50s) and Mary Lou Stockwell of California (60-plus) were feted at a party at the Hearst Tower in Manhattan on Thursday, October 29. They met model/actress Elizabeth Hurley, “the face of Estée Lauder,” who hosted.
In addition to a $5,000 prize and choice of designer outfit, each winner got accommodations for the event at The Surrey Hotel on the Upper East Side. They will be featured in Bazaar’s February 2010 issue.
After a career as an agency model in fashion shows, Chan now works independently. Her plan is to work with women her age and older to conduct seminars promoting a healthier lifestyle.
The casual Queens mom rocks her vintage wardrobe daily and maintains a “timeless” style – some of her favorite pieces are over 20 years old.
The finalists are keeping in touch via Facebook. “They are wonderful, wonderful women!” exclaimed the newly-recognized “fashionista.”
“We are real people who represent real fashion. We are not famous or celebrities, we want to dress age appropriately and look beautiful in our clothes,” Chan said.