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A perfect dress for Newsday's Project Prom girl

It wasn't the glitziest prom dress by a long shot at the Kings Park High prom at the Crest Hollow Country Club Wednesday night.

But for Jenna Zito, 17, of Northport, Newsday's Project Prom girl, it was the perfect dress.

Chosen by our readers in a heated online and mail ballot battle, Zito turned out for her prom wearing an inky blue stretch satin gown by David Meister, and arriving celebrity style via a 10-passenger white stretch limo.

"I feel like a true princess. This is my dream," said Zito, who amped up the sleek silhouette with pearls in her hair, dangling earrings and an antique-style purse.

Her date, Clark Smith, 18, who is graduating from Miller Place High School, was kind of gaga for the girl. "She looks stunning. Out of all the dresses, I knew this was the one. I voted for it."

The whole prom dress process was lengthy and the dress choice not always clear-cut. It took hours of shopping, a long studio shoot, and then the votes - 7,000 of them and a very close race.

Readers may have been responding to Zito's original wish to look like a "Disney princess," and another poofy confection fit the bill a bit better. But modern-day sensibilities eked out the win, and Zito's dress was regal but sophisticated, a find at consignment shop Revival Boutique in Roslyn. Of course, the dress was just part of the prom prep. There was hair: half up, a bit teased and strategically messy - and makeup - done earlier in the day at Maximus Salon in Merrick.

Zito's BFF, Claire James, 17, said, "I think she changed how she wanted to look. Instead of a Disney princess, she looks stunning and classy."

For Zito, the whole Project Prom process was a blast. "If I told you it was the best experience of my life, I would not be exaggerating."

Then she took Smith's arm, rushed back into the party and unlike Cinderella, got to keep the dress after the ball ended at midnight. Lucky girl.


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