Monica Lebensztejn 1st R.U. of the Queen of the 2021 May 3rd Parade
World Class Beauty Queens Magazine would like to welcome amazing Queen Monica Lebensztejn First Runner Up of the Queen of the 2021 May 3rd Parade.
Full name: Monica Lebensztejn
Title/Year: First Runner Up of the Queen of the 2021 May 3rd Parade and Miss Photogenic
Pageant System: Queen of the May 3rd Constitution Day Parade
Education Level: Master of Science in Higher Education Administration and Policy
Zodiac sign: Leo
Hobbies: Photography, traveling, musical instruments, learning about history and other cultures
Platform: Higher Education Accessibility
Years competed: 1 year
Countries visited: Poland, France, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Monaco, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, England, Mexico, and around 20 states in the United States
Likes: Honesty, thought-provoking conversations, spending time with family, Eastern European history, exploring new restaurants, cats
Dislikes: Toxic positivity, arrogance, airplane flights, littering, people who put others down to feel better about themselves
Status: In a relationship
World Class Beauty Queens: Please tell us about yourself.
I am the daughter of two Polish immigrants residing in Chicago. My passion for helping others attain their goals stems from a young age when I would help my parents by translating complicated documents from Polish to English. Traveling is another one of my greatest passions as I have learned more about other cultures and developed personally throughout my adventures by becoming more confident, responsible, and genuinely curious to learn more about the world.
World Class Beauty Queens: Please tell us about your education.
In 2020, I received my Bachelor's degree from Dominican University where I majored in political science and history and minored in pre-law. I was initially interested in pursuing law, however, when I started working in the student advising office, I became intrigued by the field of higher education and helping students reach their goals. A few weeks after receiving my Bachelor’s degree, I enrolled in the one-year Master of Science in Higher Education Administration program at Northwestern University. I intend to apply to law school in the future with hopes of learning more about educational law and exploring the field of legal academia.
World Class Beauty Queens: What does women Empowerment mean to you?
I believe that women empowerment means recognizing that as women we are all uniquely beautiful with our individual backgrounds, personalities, and talents. As women, we should uplift each other without fear that we may lose our own spark. Women empowerment is only possible when we do not view other women as our competitors but our colleagues. Together we may achieve more and inspire other women to pursue their passions, rather than trying to rise to the top on our own.
World Class Beauty Queens: Tell us about your pageant history.
So far, I have only competed in the Queen of the May 3rd Constitution Day Parade pageant, but I do not see this as my last pageant. I am excited for more possibilities that the future may hold for me!
World Class Beauty Queens: What inspired you to do your first pageant?
When I first heard about the Queen of the May 3rd Constitution Day Parade pageant, I realized that this is a wonderful opportunity to showcase my Polish heritage and patriotism. As a proud Polish-American, I wanted to participate in this pageant to further develop my Polish identity and have the opportunity to speak about active youth involvement in Polish organizations and first-generation college access.
World Class Beauty Queens: Why did you choose to compete for your current title?
As I was researching more about this particular pageant, I was inspired by how beautifully past winners represented the Polish community, and as a young Polish woman, I saw them as role models for myself. I was hoping that my personal stories could potentially inspire other young Polish women to follow their dreams despite any adversities that stand in their way and always fight to become the best version of themselves without forgetting their roots. That is why I signed up for the pageant as a contestant on the older end of the age requirement; I wanted to compete when I knew I had become the woman that my younger self would admire.
World Class Beauty Queens: To those unfamiliar with your pageant system please tell us what is it about?
The Queen of the May 3rd Constitution Day Parade and her court are chosen to celebrate one of the most significant achievements in Polish history which is the signage of the May 3rd Constitution. The May 3rd Constitution is a worldwide political breakthrough, as it was the second democratically formed constitution in the world after the United States and first in all of Europe. Although the competition is held in the United States, it is entirely conducted in Polish. The pageants’ goals are to inspire young Polish women to embrace their roots, become leaders in the community, and engage the youth to participate in Polish organizations and events.
World Class Beauty Queens: What are you being judged on during the competition?
Majority of the competition is centered around a contestant’s speaking abilities, past accomplishments, and confidence rather than external beauty.
World Class Beauty Queens: Tell us about your experience during the competition.
It was exhilarating standing beside the other girls on the stage knowing we persevered through 2020 and now we were surrounded by our loved ones, finally being able to demonstrate all of our hard work throughout the past year. When my turn came for me to come up the microphone for the first time, I felt the adrenaline rushing through me as this was the moment when all of my hours of practicing would be tested. I had the analogy in my mind that delivering a speech is like a plane taking off; a smooth start leads to a smooth flight, and a smooth flight leads to a smooth landing. It was all about nailing the take off for me, and then I would have the confidence that I could cruise through the rest of my speech.
World Class Beauty Queens: Tell us about your platform or what cause do you volunteer for.
I am a strong advocate for higher education access especially for first-generation students. I believe that it is important to provide resources for these students and have discussions about higher education from a young age. I am also passionate about access to affordable legal services for those in need. I previously interned in Washington DC for a non-profit organization where I was able to help over 150 clients in completing intake forms for assistance in evictions and housing rights violations. Afterwards, I worked in the domestic violence division of a courthouse where I helped attorneys in conducting interviews with individuals who were victims of abuse, harassment, stalking, and more. I currently volunteer at an organization where I help Polish-speaking clients in translating documents.
World Class Beauty Queens: What appearances have you done with your title?
I have attended multiple events where I supported different Polish organizations such as the Polish American Congress and You Can Be My Angel, which raises funding for children with cancer. I also had the opportunity to speak with Polish youth about the importance of continuing their Polish education by visiting a preschool and a Polish school. I feel extremely fortunate to represent the May 3rd Parade Committee by attending these events and knowing that the best is still yet to come!
World Class Beauty Queens: What are some of your achievements?
One of my proudest achievements is graduating as a first-generation student from undergraduate and graduate programs. I also graduated from my undergraduate program with a cumulative 4.0 GPA. This was a long-term goal that I had to focus on over four years while taking six classes a semester to meet my double major and minor requirements, working three jobs at some point (retail, advising office, and tutoring), and additionally leading two clubs on campus (Model United Nations and Honors Program).
World Class Beauty Queens: What makes you stand out from all those other beautiful girls?
I am someone that has a tenacious drive with unparalleled positivity. Those two factors coupled together make a powerful and unstoppable combination. Although I strive for the moon, I do not feel down if I do not attain my goals on the first, second, or third try. I will pick myself up each time and approach the next challenge with optimism and hope because I am a fighter and not a quitter.
World Class Beauty Queens: Tell us about the moment your name was called out as the winner.
Despite being called as first runner-up, I am honored to have been chosen for two titles. Being selected for the titles meant to me that the judges saw something worthy in me to represent our Polish community which is an incredible feeling. In our pageant system, all titleholders have equal opportunities to represent the May 3rd Parade Committee by attending events and advocating for their platforms.
World Class Beauty Queens: What does it mean to you to be a Beauty Queen?
A Beauty Queen is fearless and unstoppable; she can walk into a room with multiple Beauty Queens and still feel confident in herself. She does not have to prove to anyone her worth, but leads with grace and humility. She is unafraid to pick up another Beauty Queen’s crown when it falls and inspires other women to find their inner Beauty Queen.
World Class Beauty Queens: How did competing in pageants help your life?
Competing in the Queen of the May 3rd Constitution Day Parade pageant has heightened my patriotism for Poland and appreciation for my roots. I hold a newfound respect for all the groundwork past leaders have laid for us Polish youth to have a better future. I will never forget their sacrifices or take them for granted. I feel as if I also found one of my lifelong purposes which is to support future generations of the Polish-American community so they never forget the Polish language, history, and traditions.
World Class Beauty Queens: How did pageants help your self esteem and body image?
Competing in this pageant taught me to embrace myself for who I am and to never change for anybody but myself. Each candidate has such a distinct personality that there is no need to pretend to be somebody else for anyone’s approval. Even if we may not win, that does not make us any worse, and winning does not make us any better than anyone else.
World Class Beauty Queens: You are an inspiration to all the girls out there. How does it feel?
I am truly honored to be in such a position, and it is a responsibility I do not take lightly. I hope that other young Polish women can see how rewarding it is to cherish our language, traditions, and history. I also want to be honest with those who look up to me and explain that not everything in life is perfect. I would not be where I am today without my mistakes.
World Class Beauty Queens: What is your on stage strategy to win the judges over?
As cliché as it sounds, be yourself. You never know what spark you have inside yourself that may astound the judges. If you try to be someone else or imitate a past winner, you may be doing a disservice to yourself as you may be disguising your best qualities.
World Class Beauty Queens: How did you prepare for your competition?
My mom was one of my strongest supporters during preparation by helping me in editing my speeches and critiquing my presentations. I also referred to videos of past pageants to take note of possible questions that may be asked during the Q&A session.
World Class Beauty Queens: What are your tips for learning better pageant walk?
Roll your shoulders back. Look straight ahead and never down at your feet. Smile wide. Of course, make sure to break in a comfortable pair of heels as well!
World Class Beauty Queens: What are your tips for choosing right pageant dress?
The primary factors to consider are the standards of the pageant. If the pageant calls for more modesty, then choose a dress that will fit that criteria. Consider which colors will bring out your best features such as your hair and eyes. Also remember that you want to feel 100% confident in your chosen dress.
World Class Beauty Queens: What are your tips for winning interview?
Practice, practice, and practice. I also recommend taking notes of any words or phrases that prove to be tongue twisters. Simple but well-said is much more effective than trying to impress the judges with complicated language that is not well-executed!
World Class Beauty Queens: What is one mistake that you've done during competing you wish you could redo and fix it?
While in the process of preparing my speeches, I never realized how lengthy they would be as time runs quickly while speaking. However, after re-watching myself, I was shocked by how long I spoke. I think concision is crucial as no one wants to hear speeches and answers that go on and on without hitting clear points. Quality over quantity - always!
World Class Beauty Queens: What other mistakes are made by girls during the contest?
I do not try to look for mistakes in other girls’ performances as I am not one of their judges, and I understand that it takes an immense amount of courage to compete in a pageant. However, if I had to point out one common mistake it would be underestimating the amount of preparation that is needed in the question and answer portion.
World Class Beauty Queens: Any modeling or acting experience?
I occasionally model for local designers in runway shows and photoshoots.
World Class Beauty Queens: What are your plans for 2021 as First Lady?
My passion for higher education access has inspired me to lead events for Polish youth that involve discussing topics such as researching colleges, finding scholarships, and writing admissions essays. I hope to also remind Polish youth to never forget about their Polish heritage wherever they may end up in the world and despite any powerful positions they may attain in society. All my gratitude is owed to my director Ms. Ewa Ruminski who supports all the titleholders in their plans to help the Polish community.
World Class Beauty Queens: What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind?
I hope to demonstrate to young women that beauty and intelligence are not mutually exclusive. I understand that many people may unknowingly believe that pageantry is superficial, and that embracing femininity diminishes a woman's intellect or professionalism. However, that could not be further from the truth. Many women who compete in pageants are accomplished in their fields and have attained significant accomplishments. I would not want any young girl or woman to feel like she cannot embrace her passions because of what society may think.
Director: Ewa Ruminski
Head Judge: Dr. Lucja Mirowska-Kopec
Chairman of the May 3 Parade Committee: Jan Kopec
Pageant website: polishparade.org
Name of the Photographer and other credits
Hair and make-up: Ewa Baczek
Dresses: Laurel Bridal World Class Beauty Queens Magazine would like to say thank you for this wonderful interview. Interview by Derek Tokarzewski Owner/Editor in Chief of World Class Beauty Queens Magazine
Monica Lebensztejn First Runner Up of the Queen of the 2021 May 3rd Parade, Photographer: MarekArt, Hair and make-up: Ewa Baczek, Dresses: Laurel Bridal
Interview by Derek Tokarzewski Owner/Editor in Chief Mr United Nations 2018 Platform: Women Empowerment Ambassador to International Foundation for Orphans iffocares.org
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