Isabella Scuteri is a senior at Patchogue-Medford High School with a passion for writing, as the editor-in-chief of The Red and Black newspaper. She also is a fashionista; an AP scholar student; a member of the yearbook club, the school broadcast and three national honor societies (and one international) and a co-president of the PTSA; and, adding to the long list of accomplishments, now an official state finalist for the Miss New York Teen USA Pageant.
Recently, in an attempt to apply for college scholarships, Scuteri found something that piqued her interest: the Miss New York Teen USA Pageant. She applied online and received an email, then a phone interview call soon after. After that, she was deemed an official state finalist, one of 125 girls ages 14–18 throughout the state.
“My mom is really supportive of me and loves to do all the girly stuff,” she said of her mother, noting that her aunt and her sister are also excited about the pageant. “I grew up with people always saying, ‘You’re so tall, you should be a model,’” she added, of her 5-foot-7 figure.
“In today’s younger generation, it’s a blessing to have an inspiration such as Isabella,” added her aunt, Krys Calcagno. “Her compassion, grace, creativity, kindness and love for her family are immeasurable.”
Come late January, Scuteri will have to undergo an interview and hit the stage in activewear and an evening gown for the two-day event. Her mission is to raise money for the Sarcoma Foundation of America and to send the message that being kind is the foundation of being confident and beautiful. The cause is something that hits home for Scuteri after a close friend lost a family member from the disease about two years ago.
“It’s really heartbreaking, but I felt this was a good fit because it would not only raise money to fight the disease but (spread) awareness as well,” she said, explaining that sarcoma is an uncommon cancer that most people don’t know about. “I am excited to participate in an event that enables me to speak about issues I am passionate about as well as provide opportunities of a lifetime now and in the future.”
Aside from school, writing and shopping, Scuteri, 17, also enjoys calligraphy and watching her favorite TV show, “Gossip Girl.” One day she hopes to live the lavish life of an Upper East Sider, hopefully working for The New York Times after studying, most likely at Stony Brook University. (She has applied and is awaiting acceptance.) If you can’t find her at home, she says, then she is most likely shopping at the mall.
“Whenever I don’t know what to wear, I always go to my sister for outfit inspiration,” said her 15-year-old sister, Ava, proud of her older sister.
Scuteri is also an active member of the community, volunteering at the St. Francis soup kitchen on Saturday mornings, helping at the senior citizen dances at her high school and helping hold basket auctions throughout the year.
Prior to the competition, Scuteri must raise a total of $1,500 to fund her three-day, two-night trip to the Crown Plaza in White Plains and the Performing Arts Center at Purchase College. Most excited for the evening gown portion, Scuteri has already chosen a fluffy blush dress outfitted with pearls, her birthstone. If she wins, Scuteri would then move on to the Miss Teen USA Pageant.
“We are so proud of Isabella. She is so excited to do this pageant to meet new friends and have this great experience,” added her mother, April.
As of now, she has raised just over $500 toward her $2,000 goal; once it’s met, she will attend the pageant on Jan. 17. A GoFundMe page has since been set up in the name “Isabella Scuteri — Miss New York Teen USA Pageant.” To visit the page or to donate, go to https://www.gofundme.com/f/isabella-scuteri-miss-new-york-teen-usa-pageant.