By Gina Martinez
A Whitestone teacher has been named National American Miss. Katherine McQuade, 20, won the national title representing New York State over Thanksgiving week in Hollywood, Calif.
McQuade has a lot on her plate. She is currently a junior at Marymount Manhattan College, where she is on the dean’s list. She also models for designer Ashley Lauren, a bridal, prom and pageant gown designer, and for magazines like Prom Cool Book 2017. One of her goals is to perform with the famous Radio City Music Hall Rockettes.
McQuade also dabbles in philanthropy. She created her own charitable foundation that she says is near and dear to her heart called “Promoting Hope- Pot holders for Pancreatic Cancer Awareness.”
“I created that organization in honor of my grandmother, who died of that terrible disease in 2005,” she said in an interview. “I sell or give pot holders as gifts and all proceeds are funded to help the organization. So far I’ve raised over $5,000.”
As part of her National American Miss duties, McQuade will be traveling across the country over the summer representing her title during the Pageant Program Summer Tour. McQuade will also be traveling to Houston to participate in the National Photo Shoot and next summer she will return to California to crown her successor and enjoy a free day in Disneyland along with a tour of Hollywood with her mother.
McQuade said she is thankful and surprised at her win.
“There were 36 contestants,” she said, ‘It was amazing considering I have been competing since the age of 10 and winning the national title has been a dream come true. Winning is very difficult. You can’t always do it on your first shot, Most girls take years to win the National titles.”
McQuade currently works as a teacher at the Landrum School of Performing Arts in her hometown of Whitestone, the school she attended.
“I work as an acting and dance teacher,” she said. ‘Sometimes I help with the competition kids as well. I’ve been dancing at the school since the age of 3, so being a part of competition team now, it’s been cool to see that transition from student to teacher.”
As far as the future, McQuade says she wants to continue doing pageants and continue her education.
“I’ve been doing this since I was 10,” she said, “so I definitely want to go big or go home. I want to compete in Miss America or Miss USA, but first I have to finish up my year as National American Miss in 2017. I’m excited to get my foot into that door. But, of course, I love to teach. It’s definitely a fun experience, I learn so much from the kids. As far as school, I’m a commercial arts major with concentration in creative media. I want to enter the film world as a film editor. I’m good at working with computer software, I enjoy it so much.”
For now McQuade wants to enjoy every second of winning National American Miss.
“I plan to use this platform to empower young women across the country, I’m super excited.”
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart