Inner Beauty

A Jamestown High School freshman will compete against nearly 80 other contestants vying to be crowned Miss New York Teen USA 2014.

Crystalee Pena, 13, was recently selected to compete in the Miss New York Teen USA 2014 pageant in January. In the months leading up to the competition, Pena will seek sponsors to help her acquire the funds to purchase clothing and apparel for the pageant. For the various categories of the pageant, she’ll need an evening gown and a swimsuit. Plus, she’ll also have to do a formal interview on stage.

The pageant is scheduled for Jan. 17-19 at the Performing Arts Center of Purchase College in Purchase. If Pena wins, she will secure a place in the Miss Teen USA pageant.

According to Pena, in order to be selected, she first had to submit a picture and have a phone interview. When the announcement was made, the realization came as quite the shock, especially since she had no prior pageant experience.

“They asked me what I thought my best features are, and they are my eyes, being tall and my hair,” Pena said.

Pena is the daughter of Crystal Woodye, a store lead at Walgreens, and David Pena. She currently lives with her mother, Crystal, and her step-father Henry Woodye, who is a skills trade at Cummins. Although she is a native of Jamestown, Crystalee is partly of Puerto Rican descent. The announcement of Crystalee’s selection for the competition also came as a surprise to Crystal, she said.

“Crystalee is a beautiful girl, but I thought, ‘What are the odds of them picking someone from a small town?’ but they did – I was thrilled,” Crystal said.

Although Crystalee has never before competed in a pageant, she did happen to place in a Most Beautiful Baby Contest at the Chautauqua Mall in Jamestown, which earned her a couple trophies. But, she didn’t become interested in beauty competitions again until she got a little older, and realized she liked modeling.

“I like showing people that pretty much anybody could be beautiful- not just for their looks,” Pena said.

Crystalee attended Fletcher Elementary School before heading to JHS, where she’s quite happy with her new teachers and friends, she said. Her favorite subjects are history and math because she likes learning about the past, presidents, equations, and because she is good at it.

“I like my nice teachers, and being with my friends,” Pena said. “My friends think it’s cool that I’ve been selected, and they are excited for me.”

In addition to her duties at school, Crystalee takes karate lessons. She has also taken hip-hop dance classes at Studio Jamestown. She’s also a huge fan of singing, and draws inspiration from artists such as Rihanna, Demi Lovato and Taylor Swift. Her favorite songs by each artist are “Teardrops On My Guitar” by Taylor Swift, “Skyscraper” by Demi Lovato and “We Found Love” by Rihanna.

“I love singing more than anything,” Pena said. “If they have a talent aspect, I’ll be singing.”

Pena loves living in Jamestown, and is proud of living in a city that loves Lucille Ball, who has been one of her inspirations. She also said she draws inspiration from her mother, who has been a great role model throughout her life.

For more information, visit missnewyorkusapage To purchase tickets to January’s pageant, visit To become a sponsor, email