Judy Graham for New York State Assembly
Getting NYC back to business, back to basics, back to a better life!
Like many New Yorkers, Judy Graham came to the world’s greatest Melting Pot from someplace else. She arrived here on a bus in 1980 with $300, a suitcase, a dream, and a three-week contract to sing and play piano at the Sheraton Hotel in Midtown Manhattan. After her three-week contract got extended, she continued to make a living performing piano and vocals in many of the city’s most prestigious hotel lounges.
Raised in Charlottesville, VA to working-class parents, her mother was a nurse and her father an electrical engineer. Judy fell in love with the arts and began studying at Eastman School of Music in Rochester. While there Judy won the chance of a lifetime: to be Miss New York in the Miss America competition. She’s kept close ties with the pageant ever since.
Judy graduated from Virginia Tech in 1976 with a degree in Communications, and spent the next four years on tour, performing in local clubs, cabarets, and restaurants throughout the midwest, Boston and Florida before deciding to settle in NYC permanently. Ever since then, Judy’s acquired a variety of skills and accomplishments.
She’s performed in commercials, daytime TV dramas, trade shows, taught at FIT, sold real estate for eight years, had her first book published, and eventually started her own business: Beauty By Judy, an on-location hair, makeup and styling service for brides on their wedding day.
While she never became Miss America, Judy did become Mrs. Austin Graham. Sadly, Austin passed away in 2018. But just like every other New Yorker who has weathered rough personal and professional storms and suffered tragedy, Judy is resilient. She knows that innovation, hard work, and determination are what define us – it is, and always has been, the New York spirit.