• Hoboken Girl of the Week: Michelle Leonardo

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    If you’re looking for a source of inspiration to go after your dreams {or if you just need a little mid-week pick me up}, then you’ve come to the right place. Our featured Hoboken Girl of the Week – Michelle Leonardo, a former Miss New Jersey, is just that. Packed with equal parts energy and ambition, Michelle’s story is a lesson in living your best life, finding time to sleep, and leaving it all on the court… literally {she’s a NY Knicks Dancer}. Find out more about this week’s featured Hoboken Girl below — and prepare to be inspired. Here’s a snippet of our interview with her:

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    Tell us about your career — because it’s safe to say that you don’t just do *one* thing.

    It’s almost fair to say I have three full time jobs. My day job — I’m a Digital Investment Supervisor at Horizon Media where I manage all interactive media for both Burger King and Tim Horton’s across the US. My night job — I’m a rookie on the Knicks City Dancers where I get to perform at the world’s most famous arena – Madison Square Garden. My weekend job {when I’m not performing or checking my email} – I co-own a full-service pageant coaching and consulting company, BeautyMarked. I competed in pageants since the age of five and went on to win Miss New Jersey Teen USA 2008 and Miss New Jersey USA 2012, and placed in the top 10 at Miss USA. My mom would tell you I don’t sleep, but I swear I find time for a solid 7 – 8 hours a night.

    Who inspires you?

    This is such a tough question for me because I’m lucky and have many role models and sources of inspiration in my life. However, my biggest source of inspiration is my aunt. My Aunt Michelle, who I am named after, unfortunately passed away before I was born. She was a dancer and the reason why my mom put me in dance classes when I was three. As I got older and realized that she never had the chance to fulfill her dreams, I made it my mission to do what she couldn’t. Everything I’ve done and accomplished has been for the both of us.

    Read more: Hoboken’s First Ever Wellness Crawl

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    You’ve clearly had experiences that some of us only dream of. What is a major highlight in your life so far?

    Talking about my highlights is tough because there are a few ways I could go with this. I guess I’d have to pick winning Miss New Jersey USA. Ever since I can remember, I’ve watched Miss USA with my mom and my nana and they would always say, “Someday that’s going to be you up there” — and they were right.

    As for my goals — to slow down and start embracing every moment more. I’m the kind of person who is always looking forward to the next thing, the next thrill. I’ve learned that it is so important to embrace the moment. Time really does fly, it feels like yesterday was opening night at MSG… and now we’ve already wrapped up the season!

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    What is a “typical” day for you?

    Every day is different and I love it. My day is typically dictated by what my night looks like. I’m usually in the office around 9am – 5:30pm then rush uptown to be at rehearsal from 6pm – 10pm. If I have a game, we’re on the court anywhere from 1pm – 3pm for rehearsal/sound check. So I’m on the go from 9am – 10pm.

    Read more: The Complete List of FREE Outdoor Fitness Classes in Hoboken 

    On the highs and lows of leading such a busy life:

    One of the things I love about advertising is that the industry is always changing, and it forces you to easily adapt to new trends and opportunities — to continue raising the bar for your brand. As Knicks City Dancers, we’re distinguished as not only a classic and timeless centerpiece of MSG, but of New York entertainment at its finest. We are fortunate to have the highest quality costuming, production, choreography, the list goes on. Finally, for my pageant coaching business, I get the opportunity to change young women’s lives. I’m able to inspire them, push them to their fullest potential and watch them achieve their goals.

    I can’t think of any lows except there aren’t enough hours in the day for me to do everything I want to accomplish!

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    On her love of Hoboken:

    I moved from Boston in July 2016 to Hoboken. I originally grew up in Jersey and knew that when I came back from Boston, I would settle down in Hoboken. My favorite place though, is on the river in Hoboken. I love walking along the water and taking in the view. I always count down the days until summer when the pier comes alive at night.

    Favorite restaurants + boutiques?

    It’s a toss-up between Fiore’s and The Liberty House. If/when I ever tie the knot, I want it to be at The Liberty House. The view is everything! Fiore’s Roast Beef + Mutz is easily in the top five things I’ve ever eaten — it’s to die for. And dear hannah,! They have the perfect mix of day and night pieces. We might be the most spoiled city because we have everything you could possibly need within walking distance.

    Read more: Uptown Style: A Visit to Viola Vita + All Things Bell 

    How do you enjoy your downtime in Hoboken?

    Since my schedule is so crazy, I really love the days where I can just relax and enjoy our town. I love waking up on Saturday mornings, getting an Early Bird from O’Bagel and strolling around Washington to check out the latest finds in all my favorite stores. My schedule doesn’t allow much time for ‘going out’ so when I do have time, I like going to places where I can relax and not wait on a line. I spend a lot of time at Stewed Cow during football season — I was able to lock into the game {I’m a Pats fan I have to admit} and enjoy a great drink. I also love going out down the shore. I grew up close to the beach so I’m a beach bum at heart.

    Tell us about your workout routine:

    Real Hot Yoga. There isn’t anything better than a warm room and letting everything and every emotion sweat out of you.

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    What do you love most about Hoboken?

    What isn’t there to love about Hoboken? We have everything you could possibly want at your fingertips. The proximity to the city, the beautiful architecture, the quaint streets, amazing food, I could go on. One of the things I love most is how it truly feels like a community, I always feel safe in our square mile.

    Want to be featured or nominate someone for as an upcoming Hoboken Girl of the Week? Email hello@hobokengirl.com about your story!


    Written by:

    Michele mostly writes about her two favorite things - people and food. Though she’s been a Jersey girl since her mother danced on a chair at a Bruce Springsteen concert while 8-months pregnant, Michele’s life is anything but basic. During the day, she's a payroll specialist for small + local businesses, but on the nights and weekends, she's trying new places to write about and stopping for snacks along the way {so it's a good thing she's a marathoner and soccer player}. Aside from adding to her already extensive collection of throw pillows, Michele enjoys a good beer, nachos, and chillin’ with her kitties, Bo and Samson.


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