Sparkling like the glittering crystals that dappled her fiery coral prom dress, Newsday's Project Prom winner, Katherine "Kat" Grandazza, dazzled at her prom Thursday night.
Kat's gown, from Estelle's Dressy Dresses in Farmingdale, was chosen for her by thousands of Newsday readers. She debuted it at a pre-prom event at her friend Jackie Gillis' home in Rockville Centre, where about 100 prom-goers and photo-snapping parents gathered before the kids left for the South Side High School dance at the Venetian Yacht Club in Babylon.
A champion gymnast who will attend James Madison University in Virginia this fall, Kat, 18, was a knockout -- and even better, happy. "So many people told me they voted for this one," she said. "It fits me and my personality. I love it."
Her date, Steven Trebendis, 16, matched things up, wearing a coral vest and tie with his tux. "I was surprised," he said of Kat's look. "I'm not used to seeing her like that. She looks super pretty."
Her dad, Peter Grandazza, a New York City firefighter, agreed.
"She looks beautiful. It was definitely a wow when I saw her. It was not the usual Katherine, who mostly wears athletic clothes."
Best friend Kaitlyn McAteer summed up the situation. "She's usually quiet and shy, and she always looks like she's going to go for a jog," said Kaitlyn, adding that the Project Prom experience "helped break her out of her shell. I've never seen her like this. I think she looks stunning and she does clean up nice."