BY ARIEL HERNANDEZ
Jackson Heights’ 19-year-old Maria Paula Forero will be competing this weekend for the title of Miss New York at the National American Miss Teen New York Pageant at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in New Jersey.
Forero was born in Colombia and moved to New York when she was only four years old. When Forero was 12 years old, her father passed away, leaving her and her mother with just each other.
“That kind of pushes me,” Forero told the Queens Tribune. “My mom is my role model, always pushing me and telling me ‘what is meant for me will be meant for me.’”
Ever since Forero was just a little girl, she always took a liking to modeling, dancing and acting.
She graduated this year from Queens Vocational and Technical High School in Long Island City with her Cosmetology license.
Given that she works doing youth services for the Summer Youth Program, works part-time at Hollister and provides occasional cosmetology services to clients, she only has about an hour a day to practice for the competition.
“I don’t have much time to practice but I know how it works,” said Forero. “I did a pageant when I was about 10 years old. It’s very simple. You just have to model and be yourself.”
According to the NAM website, the pageant helps girls gain poise, self-confidence and valuable communication skills.
“I hope that I do win, it would be amazing,” said Forero. “Aside from winning, it will also give me confidence and make me a better person. Me winning would also inspire other girls because they are always being put down for looking a certain way or not being pretty.”
This whole weekend will consist of pageant festivities with the Miss New York Princess, ages four to six, and Miss New York Junior Pre-Teen, ages seven to nine, competitions taking place Friday and Saturday. The Miss New York Pre-Teen, ages 10 to 12, competition will take place Saturday and Sunday and Miss New York Junior Teen, ages 13 to 15, and the Miss New York Teen, ages 16 to 18, competitions taking place Sunday and Monday.
This competitive weekend will end with the crowning of five new Miss New York’s, who will be competing Thanksgiving Weekend in California against winners throughout the country.
Reach Ariel Hernandez at (718) 357-7400 x144 or firstname.lastname@example.org