Honoring her grandmother

Islip native competing in Miss New York

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Gia Sciara did not grow up a “pageant girl.”

The 20-year-old senior at the Fashion Institute of Technology had “no doubt in her mind” she wanted to go into business, after growing up admiring her grandfather and father who ran small businesses.

However, as a model signed to the MMG modeling agency, she knew it was a possibility that the agency would submit her as an entrant. She had never done a pageant before. After discussing the opportunity with her grandmother, she decided to go for it.

“Let’s just say I won,” Sciara said. “I would have the platform to really contribute back to society.”

Sciara’s grandmother, who has since died, is an inspiration to her and the reason she is working towards her bachelor’s degree in cosmetics and fragrance marketing at FIT.

“She lived with me and I got to see her battle cancer,” Sciara said of her grandmother. “She was the type of woman who would wake up every day, and now this is the prime of COVID, so she was compromised, so she couldn’t go out. She would wake up every day; do her nails, makeup, get dressed, but would just sit in the den watching TV, and she never complained. But we knew she was struggling. It really inspired me because I was like, Wow, you would never know that this woman has cancer.”

One day, Sciara’s grandmother did not have her nails painted and when asked why, she said her doctor had told her that because her oxygen levels were so low, the fumes from the nail polish would affect her.

“She told me she didn’t feel as beautiful without that,” Sciara said. “And nowadays, the market is saturated for organic [products]. But I decided that I wanted to do more of the cosmetic chemistry part of it.”

“It doesn’t have to be targeted to people who have illnesses, but I want to eventually open up a cosmetic line or a fragrance that just doesn’t have any toxic chemicals or anything like that.”

In March, Sciara found out she had made it to the pageant, taking place at Resorts World in the Catskills from Aug. 18-20. Even though her grandmother had died, she wanted to continue the process to honor her.

In addition to her dreams of working in cosmetics, Sciara recently expanded on her entrepreneurial spirit by opening up an online fashion boutique. She said the idea came to her during COVID when she couldn’t find an internship because companies weren’t bringing people into their office.

“One day I woke up and I was like, I’m going to be my own boss,” Sciara said of her endeavor.

When asked what she does in her spare downtime, Sciara said she tends to keep herself busy.

“I thrive on being busy,” Sciara said. “I’m always taking on new things. This pageant is what I’m really focused on right now to honor my grandmother.”

Sciara can be found on Instagram @justgiaboutique or her website justgiaboutiques.com.

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