Like many college students, Stefanie DiLauri often finds herself balancing a part-time job with her studies. But unlike many of her colleagues, she’s also got to balance a tiara.
The Seton Hall University nursing student is the reigning Miss New Jersey International, and is preparing to head to the national competition in July. Along with picking out an evening gown and practicing that beauty queen smile, the pretty blonde will also spend the next several months promoting her official pageant platform, "Childhood Obesity Awareness and Prevention."
DiLauri began pageants a few years ago, and tells The Inside Track she signed up for the international system because of its requirement that contestants’ take on a charitable cause alongside their typical beauty queen duties. Her studies played a role in her decision to pick obesity as her official cause: At the same time DiLauri was rocking a tiara, she also was learning about the obesity epidemic as a nursing student.
Childhood obesity seemed like the perfect fit, DiLauri explains, as it combined her interest in physical fitness and good nutrition with her goal of one day working in pediatrics. "They go hand-in-hand," she says.
Between now and July’s Miss International pageant in Chicago, DiLauri must work to promote her childhood obesity platform. It’s not just for window dressing; 40 percent of her total score will come from a pre-pageant interview, which DiLauri says will focus on her platform work.
Since being crowned Miss New Jersey International, DiLauri has visited school classrooms to teach students, mostly fifth and sixth graders, about staying healthy. She teaches them the basics about body mass index, and also gives them a few easy-to-learn guidelines about proper nutrition and exercise.
DiLauri also promotes childhood obesity efforts with events at the International House of Pancakes, where she works. Although IHOP isn’t exactly the first place one might think of to hold an event promoting healthy nutrition, DiLauri’s events serve to highlight the chain’s "Simple & Fit" menu, which features meals containing 600 calories or less.
DiLauri also is signed up to run several 5K races, which tie into other charitable causes while also promoting physical fitness, pageant duties that require her to break a sweat.
"I’m [not] a ‘toddler and tiara,’" DiLauri jokes, referring to the TLC reality show about pint-size beauty queens. "We’re not just beautiful girls wearing crowns. We have to have causes to speak on."
DiLauri says she’s interested in getting involved in other efforts to combat childhood obesity. To contact her directly, visit her Facebook page or email her at Stefanie@njpageants.com.