A Glen Cove woman will be among 12 finalists competing in August in the Miss Long Island pageant, a precursor to the state and national pageants, announced the pageant's producer last week.
Elaina Estrada, 22, moved to Glen Cove in 2005 from Queens, where she still attends classes at Queens College.
Estrada's platform is self-esteem, something the fitness model has come to understand to be the root cause of so many problems.
"My platform used to be childhood obesity, but that comes from self-esteem issues, too," Estrada said, noting the social consequences of insecurity at a young age. "Someone not being comfortable with themselves can be a target for bullying, or it can be a cause for bullying."
Trainers at Estrada's gym saw potential in her as she lost some excess weight, she said, which fueled a new faith in herself as a model - an arena she had never considered.
She said an important aspect of self-esteem is the "self" part. She said she strives to meet her own standards, not those of others.
"I do things for myself, never for anyone else," she said.
Estrada said she hopes her experience might inspire kids to be active and fit. After college she wants to teach elementary school, she said.
The regional pageant's winner will appear at publicized events and other public functions in support of their cause, as well as go on to compete for the state and national titles.