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North Hills Monthly

Two North Hills’ Women Take Pageant Titles

Mar 31, 2015 09:53AM ● By Shelly Tower Rushe

Elizabeth Cardillo

Pittsburgh is home to a long list of famous people from Fred Rogers to Christina Aguilera, George A. Romero to Art Rooney—the list is endless. And now there are two more reasons to be Pittsburgh proud: pageant winners Mariah Malloy and Elizabeth Cardillo.

In August of 2014, Mariah Malloy, 15, was named Miss Pennsylvania Junior Teen. She got started in pageants three years ago after receiving an invitation to an open call. “At that meeting, I found out that it was possible to win a red Mustang convertible, and I was all in!” she laughed.

Since then, the Shaler Area High School honor student has spent time with a pageant coach, practiced her formalwear walk outside of Sears at Ross Park Mall, participated in optional pageants for experience and reviewed possible interview questions.

And all that hard work paid off in more ways than one. “I’ve discovered talents that I didn’t even know I had—public speaking being one of them,” she said. “Where else can a young girl address an audience? Pageants provide that opportunity.” After high school, Malloy plans to attend college and hopes to become a performer.

Elizabeth Cardillo took a different path to her crown. The Hampton native was attending college in Los Angeles when she started competing as a way to meet women her age with similar goals. “It wasn’t about a competition at the beginning for me, I just truly wanted to make new friends,” she explained.

Now the 24-year-old merchandise marketing graduate is Miss Pennsylvania USA and is headed to the Miss USA competition this summer. She couldn’t be prouder to represent her home state of Pennsylvania. “I have always described my childhood as perfect,” she said. “My entire family lives within three miles of each other, and I had a huge yard and a safe community with great schools. It was an amazing childhood.”

She’s also honoring the advice from her late grandmother, who told all of her grandchildren to get involved in their communities. “I know she’s smiling down on me as I represent the home state that she loved so much!” Cardillo said.

While Cardillo appreciates her ideal childhood, she said that it did start off a little different than most. “I was adopted by my parents when I was three days old, and while I had a dream scenario, I know that there are many children who do not have the same story,” she said. As a result, she advocates for adoption and foster children with the goal of educating and encouraging families to open their homes to children who need safe havens.

While Cardillo is preparing for the upcoming Miss USA Pageant, she’s also planning for her future after her reign. She found her passion as a bridal stylist while still in Los Angeles and hopes to continue that career path by owning a bridal salon featuring up-and-coming and top designers. “I also see myself married with children and as someone who is very involved in the community where I live,” she added.