Zoe Damacela, winner Of Seventeen Magazine's 2011 'Pretty Amazing' Cover Contest

Zoe Damacela, winner Of Seventeen Magazine's 2011 ''Pretty Amazing'' Cover Contest

May 7, 2012 10:10:24 AM PDT
Chicago native Zoe Damacela's story about humble beginnings, hard work, and passion for something she believed in won her first prize in Seventeen magazine's 2011s Pretty Amazing cover contest.

The contest, in its second year and presented by Neutrogena, is open to all teen girls in America who are an inspiration, creative, and talented--and have an amazing story to tell.

Today Zoe, a 19-year-old clothing entrepreneur, has her own website and style blog (zoedamacela.com) has been featured on Oprah's Angel Network, The Tyra Banks Show, and even met President Obama in the Oval Office with the other National Challenge finalists. She is currently a student at Northwestern University, majoring in history and Italian, and is a spokesperson on behalf of education reform and the need to entrepreneurship education in middle and high school.

As a young girl, however, Zoe never dreamed that any of this would be possible. Zoe grew up homeless, with a mother who was constantly struggling to make ends meet. The two lived on food stamps and moved constantly, spending many nights sleeping in relatives' guest rooms, on floors, and in basements.

But when Zoe got her first sewing machine as a gift, she found her true calling. She took a sewing class and made clothes for herself and her friends. During her junior year, the teenager decided to enroll in the NFTE entrepreneurship course at Whitney Young High School. She created a powerful business plan for Zoe Damacela Apparel, which took top honors at the NFTE Chicago Citywide Business Plan Competition, and then went on to place 2nd in the NFTE National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge.

All featured clothing is from the spring collection of Zoe Damacela Apparel. Prices start at $50

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