A Larchmont woman is helping to organize the first Miss Westchester pageant, to be held Sunday. We asked her some tough questions about the rationale for
this type of contest in this day and age.
Was this pageant your idea? What inspired you and why?
Dee van Eyck: Last year as my best friend, Laura Giannone and I helped my daughter Catherine to prepare for the Miss New York Teen USA Pageant, we found ourselves transported back to our own pageant days. (Both of us are former title holders.) We enjoyed the time with my daughter so much that we wanted to help other young women have the same positive experience.
Where and when will it be held? What are prerequisites for admission and the cost?
The Miss Westchester & Miss Westchester Teen Pageants will be held on Sunday, September 5th at 7 p.m. at the White Plains Performing Arts Center. The tickets are $25 in Advance and $35 on the day of show and can be purchased through the WPPAC box office: www.wppac.com The Pageant Entry Fee was $550.
What if a girl wishes to enter and cannot afford to?
Laura and I have held a series of workshops to help them prepare for the pageant. In one of the sessions, How to Obtain Sponsorship, I taught our contestants how to put together a sponsor proposal. They learned how to write a resume, cover letter, press release and to put it together as a complete marketing package. Then I worked with them on making the sales call (on the phone and in person), the sales pitch and how to clinch the sale. Some of the girls were so successful, they raised much more than the entry fee and were able to put the monies towards their competition wardrobe. We also had other incentives to help them raise funds: ad sales commissions, ticket sales, etc. We wanted to make sure that any girl who wanted to participate, could if she was willing to work at it.
In this day and age — do pageants send the right message to young girls?
Right now, the world is a very competitive place and I think that anything you can do to have an honest edge over your competition, is worthwhile. These young women have gained so much in these weeks of preparation. Besides the marketing skills, they’ve learned other very valuable life skills: time management, self-discipline, public speaking, sportsmanship, etc. It is also important to us that we reinforce their self-esteem and self confidence and promote healthy lifestyles. Although there are no height or weight requirements, we do emphasize physical fitness. Our pageant also stresses the importance of social awareness as well as self-awareness and we will give a special award for community service. Our titleholders will become Ambassadors for Westchester County and will make public appearances and have to give speeches and talk to diverse groups. A pageant is the ultimate job interview and the winner will have a job as our spokesperson for one year.
2011 Miss Westchester Pageants Official Results
Miss Westchester Teen 2011: Samantha Gold, 17, Armonk
Miss Westchester Teen First Runner-Up: Jazzmin Lyttle-Hylton, 16, New Rochelle
Miss Westchester Teen Second Runner-Up: Tina Pizzuti, 15, Scarsdale
Miss Westchester 2011: Christina DeLeon, 24, Yorktown Heights
Miss Westchester First Runner-Up: Christi Marraccini, 19, Harrison
Miss Westchester Second Runner-Up: Heidi Peguero, 23, Sleepy Hollow
2011 Miss Westchester Pageants Special Awards Winners
Congeniality: Samantha Gold
Photogenic: Christina DeLeon
Style: Avigail Toth, 24, White Plains
Spirit: Jacqueline Groccia, 13, Eastchester
Service: Jazzmin Lyttle-Hylton
People’s Choice: Tai’ana Searight, 18, Peekskill