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Fair Lawn teen activist vies to become top swimsuit model

Photo Credit: Sonic Eclectic
Photo Credit: Sonic Eclectic
Photo Credit: Sonic Eclectic

VOTE NOW: Katarina Kneer works tirelessly for charity, counsels teens on bullying and safe driving – and could soon become a No. 1 swimsuit model.

PHOTO RIGHT: Courtesy Sonic Eclectic

The daughter of a Fair Lawn police lieutenant and the reigning Miss Teen America, Kneer hope to finish on top in Posh Boutique NJ’s online voting. And you can help.

Hand-selected from hundreds of thousands of contestants, Kneer is dazzled by the 27 other finalists.

“Every one of them is incredibly beautiful,” she said Saturday night.

“I’m very proud of her,” Katarina’s dad, Lt. Robert Kneer, told CLIFFVIEW PILOT . “Since she was eight, she’s been helping people in schools, anywhere it’s needed.

“She puts all she has into everything, so I know how much she would appreciate this.”

The 18-year-old National Honor Society student and Liz Fields cover model lectures throughout the country on topics close to her heart. Having lost a 13-year-old friend in a drunk-driving accident, she appeals to teen s to use their good judgment and not hurt themselves or others.

Help her win. “Like” Katarina Kneer at: PoshBoutiqueNJ

She’s also in great demand at middle schools and high schools in the tri-state area for her inspirational anti-bullying talks, in which she encourages youngsters to stand up for themselves and build their self-esteem without putting others down. Miss Teen America with dad, brother

An estimated 3.2 million juveniles and children each year reportedly become bullying victims. They’re often afraid to say or do anything out of shame or fear. It leads to irrational fears, violence and, at times, suicide.

Katarina was in the 4th grade when she bullies drove her into home schooling for awhile.

But she kept up her confidence, got involved in causes and was soon speaking before large groups, modeling and appearing at anti-bullying events such as “ Rock the Runway ” charity fashion show in Summit this past January, cheered on by her parents, younger brother and true friends.

And she’s done it all in her Michael Kors.

“Katarina has been tireless in her commitment to ending bullying,” said Laura Kelly of the Junior League of Bergen County. “She is a true role model for girls today.”

But that’s not all:Working with the Soles 4 Souls project, Kneer collected more than 35,000 pairs of shoes for poor Haitian children who didn’t have any.

She also visits with a group of unique youngsters, Lyndhurst’s Sparks Cheerleaders, who have special needs (Down Syndrome, autism) and still win competitions – with ages that range from 7 to 20 (one is in her 30’s) — with the help of parents and cheerleaders from Ramapo College.

Somehow, Kneer also finds time to compete in pageants — she’s the youngest Miss Teen America ever. It’s not even about winning.

“To me, that exhilarating rush of adrenaline you get from walking on stage while all eyes are on you is the true prize,” she once said.

Kneer, who models for Hollister Co. in Paramus, can’t possibly manage her hectic schedule alone. Besides relying on her iPhone (“an absolute miracle-worker”) and its “Reminder Checklist” app, she gets help from her folks, teachers and friends.

“I have such beautiful friends and family who are willing to sacrifice their time to help me out,” she said recently.

Her dad urges police fellow officers to vote for his little girl in the Posh Boutique swimsuit contest, but he jokingly warns them to “look at the pic for only two seconds, tops.”

As that photo (above left) shows, Katarina didn’t go over the top with her suit choice – entirely fitting with her personality, her father said.

A shy woman deep down, Katarina Alexis Kneer has great poise and confidence, to which she credits her parents’ encouragement and support, as well as her own determiination to overcome the former taunts of others.

She’s kind, ambitious and true (“KAT”).”If you put your heart, mind, and soul into it,” she says, “anything is possible…. Trust me.”

ABOUT POSH BOUTIQUE: Jairo Arias aims to give the 18-40-year-old celebrity & fashion junkie a great place to shop with variety. His customers: “the voice of urban youth, the Wall Street yuppie, the baby boomer and ‘It’ Girl.” 628 Main Road, Towaco: (973) 917-3377

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