Pretty Amazing Teen

September 7, 2011  |  120 comments

Written by Zoe Damacela, NFTE Alum

The Pretty Amazing Competition was incredible! I heard about the competition in Seventeen Magazine and online at I’m a fashion designer but I have also been fortunate enough to be able to speak on behalf of entrepreneurship initiatives and education reform, so I decided to give the contest a shot. I entered by writing a short paragraph about myself but I couldn’t even imagine winning the cover of Seventeen Magazine! So when I heard I had made it as a finalist a few months later after writing a ton of essays, recording videos and Skype interviews with Seventeen, I couldn’t believe how far I had made it in the competition.

I flew to New York City where I met Ann Shoket, the Editor in Chief of Seventeen Magazine, as well as the other four Pretty Amazing finalists. We all had an incredible week full of make-overs and cupcake parties and of course the cover shoot. During the cover shoot, they spent all day doing our hair and makeup and then we had to step in front of the camera to pose for the cover and the photos inside the magazine. I was so nervous! Even though I’m a fashion designer, I don’t model, so it was all new to me.

Then they surprised us by having us do a speech about why we were amazing in front of 400 teenage girls! Good thing NFTE taught me some very useful presentation skills! We also met and interviewed with Miranda Cosgrove and Jared Eng, the other judges in the contest. They judged us on how amazing our stories were, how relatable we were to the readers of Seventeen, and how our photos looked for the cover. On the last day, Seventeen Magazine and MTV announced that I was the winner of the competition and that I would be on the cover of the October issue of Seventeen!

The whole week was filmed and made into “The Pretty Amazing Special” that aired on MTV. Since then, I have been doing a lot of press interviews and appearances. I’m so proud to be a NFTE student. I couldn’t have started my business without the help and support of NFTE and I know I could never have stood up and done a presentation in front of so many people had NFTE not taught me how to present!

I’m excited to continue running Zoe Damacela Apparel as well as working to help NFTE in any way I can! My NFTE class helped me transform from a shy girl who struggled financially to the President and CEO of my own company and a Seventeen Magazine cover girl!

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