Stony Brook, New York
Mrs. New York America contestant,
Most Photogenic winner last year
What's your pageant platform?
Life is too short; go ahead and dye your hair, wear your high heels, and never forget your party pants.
What's your talent in the competitions?
I'm a male impersonator in a tuxedo, singing "The Impossible Dream."
In Mrs. New York America you compete against women in their 20s and 30s. Is that intimidating?
Never. Last year, I was third runner-up in the swimsuit competition. Not bad for 66.
What motivates you to do the pageants?
The challenges they present and the glamour they encourage.
How much money do you spend on a typical pageant?
$495–$1,000 in entry fees and about $4,500 on photos, clothes, travel, and training. I go the whole nine yards.
What's your number one beauty secret?
Are pageant contestants as cutthroat as movies make them out to be?
They are fabulous ladies. Directors never permit poor behaviors.
What's more important—beauty sleep or staying up to grade schoolwork?
Sleep is extremely important. Without it, nothing gets done well, including grading papers and teaching students.
Why did you decide to become an NEA member?
Because I am a teacher. If I am to help every child, then I need accurate and supportive information to assist me.
High school photography teacher; jewelry designer
Favorite photography format—digital or film?
Working with both allows me to really push my creativity.
Favorite thing to shoot?
Photographing people candidly as an observer of moments.
You make jewelry as a hobby. How did that get started?
I started fixing jewelry belonging to my wife. Then I discovered beads. Next, I started selling my designs to pay for supplies and made even more jewelry and glass beads.
How do you have the patience for such detailed work?
My first year of teaching I quickly learned that impatience was not going to work. Patience is a dance I do with the smallest of beads or biggest of classes.
You were in a serious car accident shortly after you started teaching. Did it change you as an educator?
The change started with a question from a nurse when I was in the hospital: "How important is it to you to get yourself back with all the students that you were getting to know and work with?" Every child in every classroom has been important ever since.
Why did you become an NEA member?
My mother and grandfather could not make a living wage as teachers. I committed to myself to work with other educators to make a professional wage as a teacher.