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Yorktown Resident to Compete for Miss New York USA Title

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Christina DeLeon
Christina DeLeon

Although she has her name in the history books as the first winner of the Miss Westchester USA pageant, Christina DeLeon has her eyes set on another title—Miss New York USA.

DeLeon, a 25 year-old Yorktown resident, will compete in January against about 200 other young ladies for the 2012 Miss New York USA crown. The winner of the Miss New York USA pageant will also represent the state at the national competition which is broadcast live on NBC.

Although DeLeon had participated in pageants when she was growing up in the Bronx, she had not competed in 10 years before the Miss Westchester USA contest last year. She decided to enter on a whim and it changed everything in her life.

“My mom saw it the ad in the newspaper about the Miss Westchester USA pageant,” said DeLeon, who is currently studying for her Master’s degree in early childhood education at Mercy College. “I decided to enter as kind of a personal goal. When I was in school I was bullied a bit, then I was in a relationship where someone made themselves feel better by making me feel bad about myself.”

DeLeon believes that participating in pageants is a positive thing for a girl to do. “It helped me regain self-confidence and a renewed self-image,” DeLeon said.

When DeLeon ran in the 2011 Miss Westchester USA contest some of her competitors ran in pageants regularly, but she was able to stand out from the crowd. “I don’t know what it was about me,” said DeLeon, “I feel so lucky that the judges picked me.”

The competition is based on three equally important parts the swimwear competition, evening wear competition and the interview process. The Miss USA competition and its affiliated contests do not have a talent component.

DeLeon won her Miss Westchester USA crown on a platform of advocating the rights for the disabled. While she still feels very strongly on the issue, her focus has changed.

“After going to schools and studying in college how prevalent bullying was, and having been bullied before in my life I wanted to campaign for anti-bullying,” said DeLeon. “I want to start a partnership with schools so I can go and talk to the students about anti-bullying and what they can do to prevent it.”

DeLeon, who also volunteers for Guiding Eyes for the Blind in Yorktown, is also an advocate of animal rights and supports the SPCA of Westchester.

DeLeon passed the crown to the reigning Miss Westchester USA, Sarah Hreyo of Yonkers, in September. The two will actually be competing against one another in the Miss New York USA contest. In fact there are 15 women from Westchester in the competition.

“Whoever wins Miss Westchester is sent to compete in Miss New York, but that does not mean that other girls from the county cannot compete,” said DeLeon. “There are a lot of us in the competition but we are all very supportive of one another.”

DeLeon insists that actually knowing some of the other contestants make it easier. “When we go there we already know one-another. There is a little comfort zone,” said DeLeon. “We cheered each other on during the Miss Westchester competition so I do not see this as any different.

Unlike other years, where the Miss New York USA contest is held in Albany, the competition this year will be held in Westchester at the Performing Arts Center at SUNY Purchase, Jan. 13-15, 2012.

Contestant will be known by the area they represent. DeLeon will be Miss Yorktown USA.
“I picked Yorktown because the community has been so supportive of me and I wanted to show my gratitude,” said DeLeon.

Expenses related to the competition can add up. DeLeon has received sponsorships from many of the local businesses and organizations such as Yorktown Jewelers and the Yorktown Chamber of Commerce.

Every dollar does help, but I really am so thankful for all of the moral support I have received from the entire Yorktown community.

For those who do not think highly of pageantry, DeLeon encourages them to talk to her.
“I would tell anyone who contemplated entering into a pageant to do it,” said DeLeon.  “You never know what the outcome will be. I did it on whim and winning was a complete surprise but it is a once-in-a lifetime opportunity. It changed my whole perspective on life and of me.”

For more information about the pageant or to sponsor DeLeon, visit her website:

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