photo :: carrie mateosian
Meet Candace Kendall. Miss New York USA 2014.
An accomplished model, dancer and philanthropist, the recently crowned Candace believes every day should be utilized to its full potential and strives to make a difference in the life of each person she meets. The impact she can have as a state titleholder can be overwhelming, however, she is grateful to have this opportunity once again. Candace was Miss New York Teen USA in 2006 and has reigned with remarkable poise.
Her passions have led her to numerous charitable organizations to which she gives much of her time and support from animal shelters to cancer to multiple sclerosis to women and children issues. In her quest to continue making a difference, Candace has led a women’s class at her college teaching safety tips and self-defense techniques to help empower women to better defend themselves. A brown belt in Isshin-Ryu karate and a three-time first place division champion title do not hurt either.
As an international model, her career has taken her to New York, Toronto, Singapore and LA. Woven into her accomplishments are 21 years of dance. From tap, jazz, hip-hop, lyrical and pointe, dancing has instilled a strong work ethic and determination that she attributes her successes in life to. One of her most cherished successes is her BA as a double major in corporate finance and accounting. Candace graduated magna cum laude in addition to being named to the dean’s list every semester and was inducted into the Beta Gamma Sigma International Honor Society for being in the top ten percent of business students.
Candace strives to touch the lives of everyone she connects with by inspiring them and giving back as Miss New York and more importantly, as Candace. To many of us who know her as Candace, she graces Scott Miller with her indelible warmth as she meets and greets staff and clients alike at special events and making the everyday an extraordinary event. Our love goes with her as she sets her sights on Miss USA in June.
A special note: Our very own Hannah Lopa also competed in Miss New York with Candace. We are incredibly proud of Hannah as her passion, dedication and talents on and off-stage are wonderful assets to us. You may see her lovely smile around Scott Miller. Please say hello.
Q - As Miss New York, how are you sharing this experience with your family, friends and fans?
I was fortunate to have some of my family and friends at the pageant supporting me. It really meant a lot to me to have the people who have shaped my life to be there to share in all our accomplishments. I have been traveling a lot in my new role. A memorable stop was an event to support the Meriwether Foundation that helps people in Southern Africa with health, education and nutrition. Through the Meriwether Foundation, I was able to attend the Venexiana show for New York Fashion Week. One of the benefits to my role is meeting people in person at the appearances and fundraisers that I attend. It’s incredibly rewarding to have that connection and it’s one of the things I love most about this experience.
Q - You wear many crowns. Not just Miss New York but philanthropist, model, women’s advocate, daughter, friend. Have you felt the need to separate the personal from your work?
I am blessed to have many different roles in life but the nice thing is that I can just be myself for all of them. I do not feel that I have to separate my private life from work. There is a profile that each titleholder fills out before competing for Miss USA that talks about your background, accomplishments and views where the content can be shared with the public. I am happy to share my experiences with others and it is always very heart-warming when someone tells me that my journey has inspired her.
Q - You reigned as Miss New York Teen at a young age. How did you summon the confidence and know-how to project the sense that you are in control and know what you’re doing?
I competed for Miss New York Teen USA when I was fifteen years old and I had no idea what to expect. I was very nervous at first but I really loved the pageant experience. I learned more about myself and gained confidence that helped me win the following year when I competed again. I knew who I was … a caring, hard-working person. I just made sure that the judges were able to get to know me.
Q - How do you set yourself a discipline or structure to take on this incredible journey?
I have been wanting to go for Miss New York USA but I wanted to wait until I felt ready to prepare and give my all to the goal. In addition to the necessary pageant preparations including interview skills, wardrobe management and personal health commitments, I enjoy my community service activities, working at Scott Miller and assisting my mom at Fairport Karate Academy. These are my daily touchstones as I prepare to go after my dream. It has been an exciting ride and I am thankful for every moment.
Q - Your most fervent wish?
My goal is to serve as a real role model who inspires young women to work hard, to lead, to be confident and comfortable in their own skin. This is more than just a beauty contest, It’s a responsibility to uphold the integrity of the titles and the core values that go along with it. A responsibility I do not take lightly.