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Miss Hudson County, Krystle Danza Aspires to Make an Impact Locally

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After recently competing in the 2021 New Jersey International Pageant, 23-year-old Krystle Danza completed her first pageant ever and not only won the first runner-up spot, she also won the most photogenic award and gained a newfound insight into what it takes and what it means to be a pageant queen. Hoboken Girl caught up with the current Miss Hudson County International beauty about her life leading up to the competition and her goals for making a difference in the community. Read on for the interview with Jersey City resident, Krystle Danza.

Krystle Danza

{Photo credit: Jessielyn Palumbo}

About Krystle

Danza grew up in the suburbs of Monroe Township. Upon graduating high school, her Brooklyn bred parents decided to uproot their life to Jersey City. “I fell in love with it immediately,” Danza told Hoboken Girl. She then went to college at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City and graduated in May 2019 with a B.A. in Theatre Arts and a minor in Musical Theater.

Although she’s had success in the field since then — now working as the entertainment team lead at the American Dream Mall — she hit a breaking point in college. She was battling an eating disorder that affected her singing voice so much that she thought to herself “that’s the end of your career.”

krystle danza american dream mall dancer

^Krystle celebrating Blue Friday with Blue at American Dream Mall to bring awareness to the nonprofit Baby2Baby

The aspiring actress shares, “I have suffered from an eating disorder since I was about 10. I went on my first diet and then eventually I got into binging and purging. I’ve also had anorexic tendencies. At another point, I hit orthorexia — when you’re so obsessed with eating clean and working out it kind of takes over your whole life — and I suffer from body dysmorphia.”

Read More: Meet Mary Pat Thibodeau: Celebrity Photo Director-Turned-CBD Connoisseur

Danza explains that she’s been going through recovery “for some time now.” She struggled the first year of recovery and described it as being “so hard.” But, she eventually found a way to see beauty from the inside out. In December of 2020, she launched her “true passion in life” — her social media platform, Stronger than Shame. 

Krystle Danza

^ Krystle at her “favorite self-date spot,” Pump Pilates in Hoboken

“I love eating healthy, I love exercising. I really do have a very good healthy lifestyle but my mental health is so much better now. I created Stronger than Shame to help girls who don’t even have to have an eating disorder but [still] struggle with any kind of diet culture or body shaming and I make it a community where they can share their voice and can also hear from others and see that they’re not alone in this,” she says. “We really have been trapped in these beauty standards that make us feel like we’re not worthy and we are.”

Winning Miss Hudson County

The downtown Jersey City resident was introduced to the pageant world by her cousin, Nancy Woram, who currently holds the title of Ms. New Jersey International 2020. “She reached out to me. She’s known I’ve always been a body activist, I like to help people, I’m a performer and I like to be on stage, so she thought [being in a pageant] would be great for me and I told her, ‘Maybe. I’ll think about it,’” Danza says.

“All of a sudden I had the director of NJ International Pageants call me. We ended up talking for an hour, talked about what I would do as a county queen, and at the end of this phone call, that’s when she was like, ‘I think you should accept the title of Miss Hudson County.’”

krystle danza miss hudson-county international pageant

{Photo credit: King Aaron Photography}

Krystle saw it as the perfect opportunity for her, being that she was a resident of Jersey City for over five years now, and became Miss Hudson County officially in September 2020 — a title she will hold at least until 2022. Danza plans on making an impact in the community by not only bringing women together who struggle with similar body issues but also having a presence at local businesses {sometimes with and sometimes without her sash, she chuckles}.

“I’m trying to really dive in and not only shed light on our local businesses but also support and uplift the organizations we have here in Hudson County,” she says. “I’ve been volunteering at the Hoboken Food Pantry a good amount. I also volunteer my weekends at the Clean Green Jersey City initiative to help clean up our areas, and now I’ve been talking to the autism organization of Jersey City, trying to help them out by spreading awareness every time they do an event.”

Krystle Danza

^ Krystle raised over 500 books at a book drive for the Hoboken Food Pantry

Competing in the NJ International Pageant

Saturday, April 10, 2021, was the day Krystle Danza took the stage at the Crowne Plaza in Princeton, NJ, to compete in the 2021 New Jersey International Pageant.

“I actually never planned on doing a pageant,” she says. “The reason why I decided to finally do it was because I was finally confident with myself and ever since I was younger, I think it’s part of the reason why I became an actress I’ve always wanted to connect, inspire and help people — and I feel like pageantry is really giving me a chance to do that within my community and on social media.”

The aspiring singer and dancer remember the days leading up to the pageant in training and thinking to herself, “What am I doing? I thought I was crazy … I knew I was a good competitor, I knew I looked beautiful in my gowns and I am a confident woman those thoughts just started to creep up every now and then.”

krystle danza miss hudson county international 2021

{Photo credit: King Aaron Photography}

“I was seeing my competitors on social media and they were models. It’s so hard to not compare ourselves,” she says. What really helped her fight her battles with her self-confidence was her “amazing support system,” consisting of her family, her best friends, and her community who had learned about her story. 

“I remember just walking into the pageant weekend and deciding I have to throw these insecurities out of the window because I was there to show a message of a curvy woman on stage that she was worthy to be up there with these size 2 tall legged women, and I was doing it for a girl who might’ve been [me] when I was 10 years old and I didn’t get to see that,” she shares. “I had to just kind of just go for it. I just remember going on stage and … I found that confidence and it was really awesome.”

Danza describes the pageant as being “an amazing experience” and being a “very empowering” environment. Instead of being faced with “catty” women {think Miss Congeniality}, she was surrounded by an “uplifting and supportive” group of women. And the feedback she has been getting since competing a month ago has been positive all across the board.

krystle danza competing miss new jersey pageant

{Photo Credit: King Aaron Photography}

“I’m just getting new followers or people just heard my story at the pageant and they’re coming up to me after and saying how much they relate, how much they needed to hear my story to help them. I’m hearing people who had family members who went through an eating disorder. They feel like they start to understand it more,” she says. “The response was better than I could even imagine. I really was just hoping to connect with a few people and it feels like [the community] just keeps growing, and that’s amazing to me!”

Beyond the Stage

When Danza isn’t busy volunteering her time in the community, she can be seen hanging out with friends and family at her go-to local spots. She names the following restaurants as her favorites: Villa Borghese III (also known as VB3) and Lokal Eatery & Bar in Jersey City, and House of Que and Madd Hatter in Hoboken. 

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She also loves walking along the Hoboken Waterfront, trying to find the best iced teas in town, or browsing Hoboken Girl’s website to find the next bar she should check out for a cool spring cocktail. 

krystle danza miss hudson county pageant girl

^ Krystle honoring her grandmother, Lizzie, who died at the age of 41 from breast cancer, during Breast Cancer Awareness Month

In the future, she’s gearing up to be part of a feature film (details can’t be shared at this time). She’s also hoping to do some in-person events as Miss Hudson County and visit recreation centers, youth centers, and even local fitness studios where she hopes to lead a fitness class.

Lastly, Danza would like to leave readers with the true meaning of what a beauty queen means in her opinion: “I would say being a pageant girl is having the courage to put your story out there into the world and also have the strength to raise awareness and speak out about something you care about because it’s not an easy thing to do and I think we push it off and act like it is easy but it’s not. There’s a lot of personal trials that go into that.”

To follow Krystle Danza on Instagram, click here, and to be part of her online community, Stronger than Shame, visit this link

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Written by:

After landing her dream job as a reporter for In Touch Weekly and Life & Style Weekly, Diana moved to The Heights in 2014 and has been living in Jersey City since then. Diana enjoys riding her bike at Lincoln Park and taking fitness classes in the downtown area in her free time. She loves binging reality TV shows, dining out and grabbing drinks with friends, and traveling to new places. Her work has led her to meet and interview celebrities as well as attend exclusive events and premieres in New York City. But at the end of the day, what she enjoys the most is cuddling up with her newly adopted kitten, Chloe.