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Miss Bklyn. and Outstanding Teen contests reign in Fort Greene

It’s no secret that the smartest, prettiest and most civic-happenin’ gals hail from Brooklyn.

The 2011 Miss Brooklyn and Brooklyn’s Outstanding Teen competitions proved as much last Saturday when comely contestants vied for cash prizes and major bragging rights in a starter pageant at The Brooklyn Music School on St. Felix Street in Fort Greene, whose winners can now travel the yellow brick road all the way to the Miss America competition — and beyond.

“We were looking for young women who stand out because of their outstanding community service, their passion for Brooklyn and their willingness to succeed,” said Tamara Walker, spokeswoman for the Miss Brooklyn Scholarship Organization, which hosts the annual contest.

This year, said Walker, a new title was added: Miss County Queen.

The winners — all of whom received scholarships, crowns, sashes and major bragging rights — demonstrated that beauty and brains go hand in hand, wowing judges with their grace, attention to duty and capacity for community work.

Bensonhurst beauty Christina Moore, 20, was hailed as “Miss Brooklyn.” The arts administration and dance student at Wagner College spoke about her work to raise awareness about cancer — a message she piqued with a poignant dance performance.

The “Outstanding Teen” prize — extended this year to include entrants from across the state — went to Dutchess County’s Lauren Mollela, 15, who delivered a sage speech on scoliosis management and treatment.

Park Slope contestant Carmen Mendoza, 23, a journalism student at New York University and an executive marketing student at a leading fashion house, was crowned “Miss County Queen” after endearing herself with a presentation about de-stigmatizing testing for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus.

Exceptional young people abound in the borough of churches, but 15-year-old Crown Heights’ cutie Brittney Hollingsworth clinched the crown for “Brooklyn’s Outstanding Teen.” The volunteer with Youth Engaged in Service was declared the winner, in part, for her talk about the need for youngsters to step it up.

Walker recalled the industrious teen, explaining, “Take note and pride within your community, if you see a lot that is dirty, help clean it up.”

Rest assured, the winners won’t be resting on their laurels. In between being ambassadors of Brooklyn, they will continue to brush up on their pageant skills.

“We get them ready to compete in June for Miss New York and Miss Teen New York,” said Walker.

— Shavana Abruzzo

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