Miss Brooklyn 2010: your name here

miss bk 2010Great news, parade-wave practitioners: the deadline to enter the 2010 Miss Brooklyn contest has been extended due to a surge in entries from Brokelyn readers after our item last week. Yep, the pageant is now allowing entries through March 7. So if you’re seriously thinking about pursuing this path to scholarship money (probs $1000) and free stuff galore (see “sponsors”), here’s advice from reigning Miss Brooklyn Keelie Sheridan, a 23-year-old Manhattan Beach student who’s been living in Brooklyn for the past five years. Turns out Keelie’s one of us: she buys her clothing at the Salvation Army in Sheepshead Bay.

What do you do?
I’m currently in the last semester of undergraduate theater studies with Empire State College. I teach dance at P.S. 209 in Sheepshead Bay through the YWCA, and I intern with Community Word Project at P.S. 27 in Red Hook. My goals are to pursue an MFA in drama, and eventually a PhD in Shakespearean studies.

What are your duties as Miss Brooklyn?
My first few months were full of interviews with local media and appearances around Brooklyn. It’s your job to get the word out about this fantastic program, and the opportunities it provides young women. Secondly, you represent Brooklyn at the Miss New York pageant. The highlight of my year was working with the Block Institute in Gravesend, which serves children and adults with developmental disabilities.

Does Miss Brooklyn have to make any kind of pledges not to pose nude?
Yes—actually! The Miss America Organization, which runs the Miss Brooklyn pageant, is very conscious of its image, so certain things, like posing nude for photographs, are quite obviously off limits.

What’s the best part of being Miss Brooklyn?
Being at the Miss New York State pageant in Albany and having “YO BROOKLYN!” yelled at you the entire week by passersby.Every time the contestants went out in public with our crowns and sashes on, people would see “Brooklyn” on my sash and go nuts!

How did you do?
I believe there were 21 contestants at Miss New York this past year. I ended up as 4th runner up, which I was thrilled about!

A lot of our readers might not be “pageant types.” Any idea how a girl who works in an indie bookstore and cuts her own hair could win this thing in 2010? Let’s assume she has at least one tattoo.
The judges are looking for the young woman who will bring the most to the table as Miss Brooklyn, not the girl who can best play the part of a “pageant queen. I encourage ANYONE who meets the eligibility requirements and is willing to dedicate a year of her life to community service and representing Brooklyn to compete. Don’t buy a “pageant wardrobe”… wear what you feel beautiful in. And depending on where your tattoo(s) are, I’d recommend using some Dermablend to cover them, not because tattoos aren’t awesome, but from a distance (like the distance between the stage and the judges/ audience), tattoos often look more like really bizarre birthmarks, which might be distracting when you’re modeling a swimsuit…

Keelie with Kimberly Cantoni, Miss Staten Island 2009, in a fashion show at last year's Miss New York pageant.
Keelie with Kimberly Cantoni, Miss Staten Island 2009, in a fashion show at last year's Miss New York pageant.

We’re a budget-living blog. Any advice on where to buy a cheap swimsuit or pageant heels?
I’m a full-time student, and I work two jobs to be able to afford to live here and pay for college, so I’m a big eBay and second-hand shopper. For pageant-related stuff, is an online consignment store that sells shoes, swimsuits, gowns… everything! I’ve gotten a majority of my appearance wardrobe from the Salvation Army in Sheepshead Bay. Wednesdays are “Family Clothing Day,” so all clothing and shoes are 50% off except for one specific tag color. I’ve found some surprisingly high-end stuff there. Also, you can solicit sponsors, and Brooklyn has been generous to me in that respect.

Who are your sponsors?
Ellen Stein ( is my personal trainer, who has gone above and beyond the call of duty as my fitness sponsor—she comes to my house to train me, helps me book appearances, sometimes drives me to appearances and even secured my hair sponsor for me! Joe Taylor of J Taylor Salon on 3rd Ave in Bay Ridge does my hair—he’s PHENOMENAL! Bend and Bloom Yoga in Park Slope and Bikram Bay Ridge gave me free classes to help me cross-train before Miss New York. Pacific Tanning in Park Slope gave me free airbrush tanning. Bensonhurst Dental Care donated teeth whitening services. Karolina Almanzar did my makeup for my headshots, David Gardiner photographed me, and Bond St. Studio donated space for my headshot shoot. Additionally, Aqua Health Rehabilitation, Wafels and Dinges, Nature Pure Spa, Miss Jessie’s, Spartak Chocolate Company, North American Crystal, My Darling Diva, Covenant Ballet Theatre and the NY Steakhouse all donated services, goods, time, effort or financial support to me during my year as Miss Brooklyn.

Wow. Any budget beauty tips?
And I’ve been going to Bay Aqua Nails on Sheepshead Bay Rd. since I moved here in 2005—it’s nothing fancy, but it’s cheap (appx $25 for eyebrows, manicure and pedicure), and they get the job done. I’m really DIY when it comes to this sort of thing. I make my own exfoliant out of coffee grinds and almond oil or yogurt. And I’m a drugstore girl when it comes to cosmetics.

What’s your advice for the Democrats and Republicans on forging an agreement on healthcare?
I’d like to remind them that while they stall and re-write and argue with each other, they’re doing so as insured Americans. They’d do well to try and channel some of the urgency of the uninsured Americans who cannot wait much longer for affordable healthcare.

Does Miss Brooklyn get free drinks?
I actually don’t drink, so yes, my drinks are free, but only because I’m drinking water.

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