Of course, it’s no surprise to readers (and lookers) of The Brooklyn Paper, but Miss Brooklyn Leigh-Tayor Smith is now Miss New York!
The stunning Smith, who is actually a Virginia-raised Manhattanite — but with a strong tie to Brooklyn as a parishioner at the Brooklyn Tabernacle on the Fulton Mall — took the statewide crown on Saturday night at a performing arts center in Long Island.
“I’m so excited and so humbled,” she told The Brooklyn Paper this week, gushing about her plans to represent her adopted Empire State in the Miss America pageant in Las Vegas in January with a platform that calls for greater volunteer efforts by high school students.
It’s unclear whether that lofty platform, or something else, led to Smith’s victory.
“There are so many elements. They must compete in interviews. They also must be very intelligent,” Paul Brown, executive director of Miss New York, told Newsday. “[But] let’s be realistic: Physical attractiveness is very appealing.”
Smith preferred to see herself as the total package: beauty, talent and social consciousness (though we prefer to think that she won because she was wearing a sash that read “Brooklyn” on it).
For her talent portion of the contest, she sang “Baby Girl” by Sugarland, a country tune. She promised to sing a different number at the Miss America pageant — though, ever the savvy New Yorker, she declined to say which one.
But she will stick to her volunteerism platform.
“It’s easy for me because I’m so passionate about it,” she said.
Smith admitted that she’s a bit less passionate about the other major pillar of Miss Americanism: good looks.
“I do try to eat healthy, but I don’t always succeed,” she said. “Everything in moderation is what I try to do. And I like to go to the gym as much as I can.”
Most important, Smith’s new crown as Miss New York will forever put to rest the controversy that has dogged her for most of the four and a half months that she has been Miss Brooklyn: she is not a Brooklynite.
“I live in Manhattan, so now that I’m Miss New York, everything is all good,” she said. “I could not be more thrilled.”
No Miss Brooklyn has ever won the Miss America pageant. Last year, Miss New York (and Bay Ridge native) Bethlene Pancoast was snubbed in favor of Miss Oklahoma, a blonde sorority type.