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Queens Chronicle

Bayside mom wins over 40 beauty competition

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Posted: Wednesday, November 25, 2009 12:00 am

Kariza Chan’s beauty secrets of healthy eating, moderate exercise and using an old-fashioned face cream must be working. She recently was named winner of Harper’s Bazaars’ Fabulous at Every Age contest for women in their 40s.

The fashion magazine will feature Chan of Bayside with other winners from age groups 20 through 60-plus in its February edition. She received $5,000 and spent an evening with the other winners in Manhattan that included a beauty session and the chance to don a Christian Dior suit to wear in the photo shoot. “Unfortunately, I couldn’t keep it,” she said.

Chan, 43, has lived in Bayside for 11 years, raising three daughters as a single mother. “My girls sent in a photo of me for the contest as a surprise. I didn’t know about it until I was called for an interview,” she said.

The statuesque 5-foot 9-inch Chan said her height has been an advantage in her career as a model. “Two years ago I went to a casting call for classic modeling work geared for older women,” she said. “I did some fashion shows, but no editorial work.”

She is hoping that winning the magazine contest will help revive her career. “I want to do more for women over 40, become a mentor,” she said. “There is a market for women my age; maybe I’ll hold seminars to work with them.”

Her daughters range in age from 13 to 18 and Chan says she has always been there for them, also working as a volunteer in the school library and snack shop. She says they help her maintain a positive, up-beat attitude.

Her beauty secrets are simple: Eat right, do plenty of walking and maintain a regimen on skin care. “I eat everything and love to cook,” she said. “I do short jogs around the block two or three times a week aside from walking and have used Noxzema on my face for 30 years.”

Her love of cooking is traced back to her mom, who she used to watch as a little girl in the kitchen. Chan’s parents owned the China Inn restaurant on Jamaica Avenue in Woodhaven for years and her sister owns a restaurant in Elmhurst.

“My mother did very natural cooking and today I’m always thinking of new recipes to try with simple ingredients,” she said. “I love to prepare food.”

But the most important beauty tip, according to Chan is that it has to come from within. “Beauty is internal. If you’re happy, it comes through. You have to be content and keep things simple —make-up, clothes and hair,” she said.

Chan believes women don’t need to look like celebrities, many of whom have been altered through plastic surgery or are seen in photos that are airbrushed. “They are bad role models,” she said. “There are natural women out there. That’s why I’m so happy the magazine did this contest to show that real people are fabulous at any age.”

Born in Hong Kong, Chan moved with her family first to Maryland and then to New York as a teenager. She has four older sisters, all of whom are a lot shorter than Chan.

“I have a great family and friends,” she said, who keep her focused and happy.

Welcome to the discussion.