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Learning about Shirley Escalada we were inspired. Inspired by her work ethics, her enthusiasm, her charitable work and of course her beauty so there is no surprise that we wanted her to be part of Solidify’D Journey. We cannot wait to watch her road to become Miss NJ USA this coming October. Getting a chance to chat with Shirley, you see that she is more than meets the eye. She is compassionate and a force to be reckoning with. We are all rooting for you and know you will make us all proud!!
Born on August 21st in New York, New York to Vicenzo Capaldo (a Cuban-Italian) and Maria Luisa Escalada (a Filipina). She has been a resident of Jersey City for more than a decade. Moving out at a young age has forced her to mature quicker than most. “At 23, I feel like a veteran survivor of all sorts of trials. Life has taught me not only to survive but to fight back. I believe in living life to the fullest and learning to adapt to every situation. “You pick and choose your battles and ‘though you might not conquer every battle, keep fighting until you win the war. Giving up should never be an option.
I am a passionate beauty aspirant also into sports and adventure including skydiving, volleyball, soccer, basketball, dance, and chess to name a few. Currently, I am into swimming and gym fitness regimen to stay in shape and as a preparation for my upcoming competition.
Ultimately, I want to be a successful film actress and model which could lead me to travel the world and start my own non-profit organization to help those in the similar situations where I was before. I want to be an inspiration to the youth and women…not actually a perfectly unreachable paradigm but someone they could at least emulate and run to…in case of need! “
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What inspired you to run for Miss New Jersey USA?
I was infatuated with pageants at a young age. I entered my first pageant at 9. As I got older I always thought there was a height requirement so never bothered into enter but when I recently found out there was none for the Miss Universe Organization I decided to apply! Our Council President of Jersey City Rolando Lavarro also encouraged me to join. It would be an honor to represent our state of New Jersey and a great opportunity to share my voice even more.
You are so inspiring at such a young age on all you do for the community of Jersey City and for Big Brother Big Sister, where does this drive come from?
I always had a spirit for helping children even when I was a younger. I believe in the quote "the only way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others." It pushes me to be the greatest person I can be and to do more because someone is always looking up to you. I am also the oldest in my family so leading by example is definitely important. It truly makes my heart smile when someone especially a child says I've inspired them!
What accomplishments have you done in the past year or so that you are very proud of?
I recently got a scholarship to New York Film Academy which is a school I've always wanted to attend! Becoming a NJ State Finalist for Miss NJ USA, I also recently became the youngest Asian-American woman to be on the Board of Trustees for Metropolitan Family Health Network.
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How would do you describe your style?
Bi-polar! One minute I like dressing corporate with the blazer and all, then high-fashion with heels, then a breezy summer dress. But my ALL TIME favorite style is comfort; throwing on a simple black v-neck, dark blue jeans, a pair of sneakers and calling it a day. :)
Who's your favorite designer?
How can you not love Coco Chanel! She's an all time fave.
Who's your fashion icon?
Cara Delevingne - she's confident in what she wears. Always risking to mix different styles, street with high fashion etc. it's fab! I love it.
Who is your role model?
My role-model has always been Oprah. She is a warrior, I can also relate to her childhood. Seeing that she did not let her past control her and overcame adversity is powerful and inspiring. She is the epitome of a hard working, dedicated, woman who has manifested her dreams into reality by simply believing in herself.
What beauty product could you not live without?
Clinique turn-around 15 minute face mask! It's phenomenal. It's a great feeling to have a clean face and unclogged pours.
What is your definition of beauty?
Belief in yourself, knowing your weaknesses , strengths, fears, and desires. The constant want to learn and develop your mind, body, and spirit, then to share your self-discovered purpose to improve the world positively is my definition of beauty.
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5 words that best describe Shirley Escalada?
Five isn't enough haha!
Confident, determined, creative, caring, relentless
What is your secret indulgence?
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice cream! I could literally eat a truck load, but not right now haha I'm in training for Miss NJ USA ;)
What is your biggest fear?
I'm actually terrified of guns. Even the thought of one makes me cringe. #stoptheviolence
What is the most challenging experience you've ever had?
Taking the risk to go out on my own at age 15 to fulfill my dreams was definitely one of the most challenging. But they say with high risk comes, high rewards and the journey has been well worth it so far. From experience, I suggest if you ever feel you're doubting yourself, go for it! Fear of the unknown can paralyze you.
Why do you enjoy being a woman?
I enjoy being a woman because we have the greatest gift in the world and that is the ability to bring a soul from the spiritual world into the physical. We are powerful and when we activate our full potential we are unstoppable. Look at how far we've made it so far in a World where once upon a time when women were looked down on by men.