By Melissa Arnold
A natural performer, Evy McIntosh is happiest when she’s on stage or in front of a camera.
The 16-year-old Ward Melville High School junior has already built an impressive resume in the entertainment world, appearing in several shows on the Investigation Discovery channel and Netflix, as well as in supporting roles in films. Beyond that, she’s been in a host of different theatrical plays both in and out of school.
For most teens, that’s where the story would end. But the Setauket resident has big dreams and a heart for others that she wants to share with the world.
Beginning Jan. 17, Evy will join approximately 80 other girls from across the Empire State at Purchase College, where they will compete for the title of Miss New York Teen 2020. It’s the opportunity she always hoped for, but didn’t exactly expect.
“I was always singing when I was little, even if it wasn’t good. Then one day, I can remember watching TV and wondering, ‘How do they do that? How do they get there?’” she recalled. “I told my mom that was what I wanted to do.”
Mom Francine responded as most parents would: We’ll see.
“It was one of those things that just developed over time. Evy started acting when she was around 8 years old, and she became a part of the Performing Arts Studio in Port Jefferson, where she would do acting and voice lessons,” said her mother. “Eventually that led to acting work in Manhattan, and then this opportunity for Miss New York Teen USA fell into our world.”
With years of experience already under her belt and a blossoming professional career in the works, Evy said she was eager to try out modeling work. She thought that the pageant would be a great way to develop skills in that area while getting her name out to talent scouts, who are frequent attendees at pageants.
“I’ve really enjoyed getting to learn more about the pageant process, having my hair and makeup done, and picking out dresses. It’s a great way to meet people in the modeling industry,” she said, adding that she already attended an orientation for nearly 80 Miss New York Teen USA participants to learn the ins and outs of pageantry.
The process of narrowing the field to one outstanding teen actually takes three days. First, there’s a private, closed-door interview that allows the judges to get to know each girl in a relaxed, conversational environment. Girls wear professional outfits of their own choosing and talk about why they’re competing.
“You have to prove to the judges that you really deserve the crown. There is a time limit, and I know I’ll need to practice a lot with that because I can ramble sometimes,” Evy joked.
On the second day, all the girls are taught a dance routine and spend time rehearsing. It’s also when they’ll show off their activewear − the teen competition does not include swimsuits − and eveningwear.
Then, on Jan. 19, approximately 15 semifinalists are revealed onstage during the crowning ceremony. One last walk in activewear and eveningwear will narrow the field to five finalists, who will answer interview questions. The winner will represent the state as Miss New York Teen USA for 2020 and receive a scholarship package.
Each girl has her own unique focus for the pageant that would become her platform if chosen as Miss New York Teen USA. For Evy, her mission is to create “One Community for All.”
“I have two older brothers, Francis and John Paul, who both have severe autism. I’ve also volunteered with the Dew Drop Inn in Patchogue, a place where kids with special needs can get together and have fun. I wanted to use my platform to stand up for everyone who feels different or insecure and give them a voice.”
Jackie Schiffer, founder of pageant consulting firm Commit to the Crown Coaching, has worked with hundreds of clients seeking to hone their pageant skills. Evy connected with Schiffer through an acting teacher in New York City.
“I’m so impressed by the presence that Evy has. Sometimes, teens can struggle with their confidence, but she has great poise, maturity and openness,” Schiffer said.
With appearances in countless pageants, including top five finishes, Miss Congeniality awards and multiple titles, Schiffer has seen firsthand how participating in a pageant can benefit a young woman.
“Being in a pageant gives you the chance to get to know yourself and figure out how you want to present yourself to the world,” she said. “And goal setting is a big piece as well. It’s great if winning is one of the goals, but it’s also about individual, personal growth. It might be about becoming a better communicator, feeling more confident, developing body positivity or promoting a cause you really care about.”
Schiffer added that she’s excited to see how Evy will make an impact in the future.
“We need role models for young women. Women can sometimes be socialized to believe their voice matters less than others, and Evy wants to help give a voice to others. She’s a great role model for other girls.”
If you would like to support Evy, she is seeking business, professional and personal sponsors to help achieve her goal. Sponsors will be acknowledged in the Miss New York/Miss Teen New York USA 2020 program book. Visit www.gofundme.com/f/evy-mcintosh-miss-new-york-teen-usa-2020 or email [email protected] for further information.