Queens lawyer crowned Mrs. New York America 2020 in virtual pageant

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Courtesy of Gumbs-Breakenridge

Yasmeen Gumbs-Breakenridge, a legal consultant and public speaker from Long Island City, is this year’s Mrs. New York America

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gumbs-Breakenridge became the newly crowned Mrs. New York America 2020 in a virtual ceremony hosted in Rochester in July. She is now preparing to compete in the Mrs. America pageant this fall in Las Vegas at the Westgate Resort. 

This is Gumbs-Breakenridge’s second time participating in the pageant after winning first runner-up in 2018. 

“When I competed this time I won, and I was very excited about that because of the larger platform that it would give me as the reigning Mrs. New York of America,” Gumbs-Breakenridge said. 

Gumbs-Breakenridge was born on the island of St. Thomas, United States Virgin Island. At a young age, she relocated from St. Thomas to New York City with her family. She attended the University of New Orleans on a track-and-field scholarship and then attended the Appalachian School of Law in Virginia. 

Gumbs-Breakenridge is a commercial litigator and has defended cases against corporations. She is a member of the New York State Bar.

As the newly crowned Mrs. New York, Gumbs-Breakenridge is also an advocate for academic and professional programs for children and young adults who are experiencing economic hardship and homelessness through her platform, #ConfidenceComesFromWithin. 

When her father, a respected U.S. Coast Guard and Marine, passed away three years ago, Gumbs-Breakenridge said it led her to create the platform. 

“My father was always the type of person who gave back to society and it was at that point that I had to take a step back and ask myself, ‘What kind of legacy did I want to leave?’” Gumbs-Breakenridge said. 

For the past several years, Gumbs-Breakenridge has served as a council member at the Madison Square Boys and Girls Club in Manhattan, which provides after-school and summer youth programs for children between the ages of 6 to 18 in underserved communities in New York City. 

Gumbs-Breakenridge works one-on-one with junior high and high school kids helping them create a plan to achieve their goals and dreams, she said. 

Recently, she has also partnered with the Salvation Army of Greater NY during the Camp-in-a-Box summer program and the Back to School Campaign and by serving as a direct mentor.

“With the older children, I help with resumes and college prep. I’ve helped girls get into schools that were far reach — schools that they would not be able to get into without proper mentorship,” Gumbs-Breakenridge said. “I hope that children understand that their current economic status doesn’t determine where they will end up in life, as long as they have good mentorship, believe in themselves and work hard.”

For Gumbs-Breakenridge, being involved in pageantry has not only allowed her to gain a stronger self-awareness of herself, but also making a meaningful impact in her community. 

“I’ve seen some of my kids go off to college or get into good high schools, and that’s something I think pageantry has allowed me to do and also helped strengthen my public speaking,” Gumbs-Breakenridge said. “I think pageantry polished that a lot and the amount of friends and sisterhood you gained and the professional relationship is so extraordinary compared to non-pageantry life in corporate America.” 

The Mrs. New York pageant is headed by Executive Director Diane Hardgrove. The three winners received all-expenses-paid trips to the national competition this fall.

The Mrs. America pageant is now in its 43rd year and the organization has evolved to become a year-round lifestyle brand. The contestants are attorneys, business executives, educators and other professionals, and many contestants are moms.