Fil-Dutch Candace Kendall to carry Empire State banner to June 8 Miss USA

'The ideal beauty queen is one who exudes confidence.' Photo by Elton Lugay

‘The ideal beauty queen is one who exudes confidence.’ Photo by Elton Lugay

By Elton Lugay

It would be nice to win Miss USA 2014, but one of Filipino-Dutch model Candace Kendall’s biggest dreams is to one day work for Donald Trump.

The reigning Miss New York USA said that with her degree in accounting and finance and her passion for beauty pageants, she would love to run the Trump-owned Miss Universe Organization, manage its operations, and make sure it stays in the black.

“I hope to become the next CFO of the Miss Universe Organization,” she told The FilAm in an interview in Chelsea.

Candace, 25, will be representing New York State in the Miss USA contest on June 8 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Winning Miss USA will usher her into the largest pageant in the world, the Miss Universe.

In 2006, she won Miss New York Teen USA, so she knew the ropes and how a crown felt on her head. “When I won Miss New York Teen, I was very surprised,” she recalled. “I didn’t really know what to expect once. It made me a little nervous but of course I was excited and thankful for the opportunity.”

“Now that I’ve had years to think about Miss New York, I knew what to expect and I worked very hard for the pageant. So when I won, of course it’s still a surprise, it’s a great honor but I knew that I worked very hard,” Candace continued.

It’s not easy to mistake Candace for Asian, but there is Filipino blood in that radiant look she possesses. Her father Marcus Kuykendall, a document specialist, is of Filipino-Dutch ethnicity. He was born in Queens. Her mother Valerie is Dutch. She is a scientist and creates a variety of inks for inkjet printers. The family surname was shortened to the more Anglo-sounding ‘Kendall.’

“He is great at playing the guitar and loves being outdoors,” Candace described her father. “We go hiking and kayaking together.”

Her paternal grandfather, George Kuykendall, was born and raised in Baguio.

“My grandfather came to America towards the end of World War II. I’ve been fortunate to receive some gifts from him from the Philippines. I have a shirt, a belt and a sword. It’s actually passed down from my great grandfather,” she said.

Her ‘lolo’ is long gone, but her family believes she got her almond-shaped eyes from him. “I have great memories with him but I didn’t know too many stories as I was very young when he left us,” she said.

She does not speak the Filipino language, but can count numbers in Tagalog. “Filipinos are such genuinely nice people,” she asserted.

Kendall doesn’t have any siblings but she grew up in Rochester with a best friend by her side all the time.

“I have this girlfriend since 3 years old, and we declare ourselves cousins,” she said. “We had our parents signed a piece of paper saying that we’re cousins.”

Although she has an accounting and finance degree from St. John Fisher College outside of Rochester, Candace pursued modeling at Ford Models after college. The idea of being able to travel boosted her decision. She has been to Singapore and stayed there for three months.

“My experience there was so nice,” she said. “Their culture was very interesting and they’re actually pretty Americanized.” While in Singapore, she was tempted to stop by Manila, but her contract did not allow any side trips. “I would love to go to the Philippines.”

The model

The model

Candace is also looking to start her own model placement company, inspired by her own favorable experience.

She said, “I have a manager who helps me get signed to these agencies all over the world. Now, I want to do that for other women. I want to help them pursue their dream and make their dreams come true in the modeling industry.”

The essential Candace loves meeting people from all walks of life.

“I love learning about people and communicating. I’ve been going around and speaking to students and schools about different topics that are happening right now. I try to tell them to be the best person they can be and I think that’s really important.”

The ideal beauty queen is one who exudes confidence. “She is someone who is confident in herself but at the same time she is also able to make other people feel confident.”

The Miss USA slogan, “Confidently Beautiful,” speaks to her, she said.

“Just being confident and happy about yourself on the inside and out I think is so important. I want people to know that they might be happy to meet me, but I’m also happy to meet them.”

A few words from Candace.

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