The pageant, for those 60 and older, salutes inspiring women and serves as a stepping stone to the national Ms. Senior America Pageant in the fall.
At age 64, Scalia, who recently retired from her job as the director of human resources for a real estate firm, saw the contest as a challenge and a way to reinvent herself.
“On the cusp of retirement, I just said, ‘I need to change what I’m doing,’” Scalia said. “This is a new chapter in my life, but it’s a new chapter of reinvention.”
Though she didn’t win the contest, Scalia was awarded “2014 Ms. Congeniality” of the pageant on Sunday, April 27, at Hofstra University, for her ability to interact and connect with the other contestants. Jane Rubinstein of Merrick, N.Y., was crowned the 2014 Ms. New York Senior America.
The women in the contest were judged based on an interview, an evening gown presentation which focused on elegance, their philosophy of life and a talent demonstration. Scalia said her past experience helped her to compete.
She holds a master’s degree in mass communications from Queens College, was a theatre performer and was once a staffer for U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman. She has also been an adjunct professor at New York University for about 15 years and is now a full-time teacher at the school.
Even though she didn’t win, what Scalia said she learned from the experience was very significant.
“Make your age work for you, no matter how old you are,” Scalia said. “It tells me that I can do what I’ve done and love to do. I may tackle theatre again.”