Design a site like this with
Get started

Augostina Mallous: From the Courthouse Diner to the Big Apple

Augostina Mallous, 20, Cape May Courthouse, poses for a photo reflecting on her second time going to the Miss New Jersey competition as the first Miss Southern Maritime. August 2021. Cape May Courthouse. – Photo / Augostina Mallous

Augostina Mallous is a real-life Wonder Woman. She is this year’s Miss Southern Maritime, a preliminary to the Miss New Jersey and Miss America Organization scholarship competitions. Mallous is an advocate for anti-human trafficking. She’s a dancer, aspiring journalist, and full-time college student.

Mallous grew up in Cape May Courthouse and has a strong connection to her community, even while being hundreds of miles from home to study journalism in the city.

Mallous is currently working towards her Bachelor’s in Journalism at Hofstra University in New York City.

I had the chance to interview Mallous about her reigning year as Miss Southern Maritime as well as what growing up in Cape May meant to her.

Q: To start off, can you tell me about what it was like growing up in Cape May Courthouse?

A: Yeah so, I was born and raised in Cape May Courthouse and my family owns the Courthouse Diner. So, I was actually born in the hospital across the street from the diner and my parents had it now for about 25 years with my grandparents, and it honestly it’s amazing because I come from such a small town.

Especially having grown up in a diner I became almost like family members with so many people, so many locals. And then we also have all of the tourists that come down in the summer that I’ve gotten close with as well so it really feels like a huge family, Cape May county really is just a family and it’s awesome because I can go to the store and I’ll see new faces but at the same time I’ll see familiar faces.

I don’t go anywhere and not recognize at least one person so I think that’s what’s really helped my journey to being as successful as I am today. Just having that support and having those familiar faces everywhere I go when I’m home and having that support because they’re always asking about my school, my Miss America involvement, and how I’m doing. Yeah, just really awesome, I really don’t know how else to put it.

Q: Yeah, no it sounds really awesome and I know having such a close tight-knit community is super important because they always have your back and the support is amazing. So, what inspired you to start competing in the Miss America scholarship competition?

A: So, actually, ironically enough, another Cape May Courthouse local, Alyssa Sullivan, who is the current Miss New Jersey, she grew up coming to the diner that my family owns. So, she was involved in the organization and after a few years, they were trying to recruit young girls. Her and her mom knew that I was a competitive dancer, I grew up as a Jersey Cape dance student, so I grew up going to competitions and doing lots of performances and everything like that.

So, they came to the diner one day and they were talking to my mom and they were like, “Would Auggie be interested in doing a Miss America pre-teen local?” At the time I was like, 10 or 11, and I remember my mom ran it by me because she knew about all the scholarships that came with competing and just all the benefits that one gains when they compete in this organization and I was so against it at first. I just remember being like, “I’m not a pageant girl, what are you talking about? No way!”

But then I trusted my mom because moms are typically always right and I did my first one and I just immediately fell in love with the organization. From the first moment I walked in to the PAC Center, that’s where it was held, at Middle Township’s PAC Center. I just felt a sudden urge of sisterhood and community.

I really feel like I thrive when I’m surrounded by empowered women and the Miss America organization is what really introduced me to that ideation and just has inspired me to just always constantly surround myself by women who empower me and just make me wanna be a better version of myself.

Q: And then four or five years later, basically you became Miss New Jersey’s Outstanding Teen 2017, correct?

A: Mhm, yes.

Q: Can you tell me more about what that reigning year was like and some things that basically was just part of your year?

To hear Mallous’ response, click the play button above.

A: Absolutely, oh my gosh, that feels so long ago. It kind of was but at the same time it feels like yesterday. Being Miss New Jersey’s Outstanding Teen was definitely the most transformative year so far. I was constantly traveling up and down the state of New Jersey and my mom put so many miles on her car that year because I was doing all these appearances and events every weekend while still being a full-time high school student and on my dance competition team.

It was crazy, not gonna lie, it was crazy. But with that said, I also just met so many people and so many doors opened for me essentially. I was just able to really find myself that year if that makes any sense. I really just had a voice and I found different things that I’m passionate about and I really, really loved serving this state. That’s why I’m now competing for Miss New Jersey and hopefully I’ll be able to serve the state again.

Q: Sweet, now kind of fast forward a little bit, now you are Miss Southern Maritime. So can you tell me about what being Miss Southern Maritime is like. I know your social impact is anti-trafficking. Can you elaborate more on what this impact means to you as well as touching on some of the other highlights so far this year of your reigning year?

A: Yeah, absolutely. So, I was crowned Miss Southern Maritime in August right before I headed back to New York for school. Since then, I’ve been doing a lot of work within my community at home, I’ve done a lot of work up here at school, and essentially just preparing for not only just Miss New Jersey, but for life, as cheesy as it sounds. I’ve been doing different mock interviews to sharpen my interview skills, I’ve been doing community service, I’ve held coat and sock drives. I did things during Christmas time for the local nursing homes in my area, let’s see, what else? Basically I’m doing a lot, it’s hard to put it all into like one little bubble.

But, with my human trafficking platform, that’s something that I’ve been really heavily researching and kind of just trying to be active with. So, I’m actually, currently in the process of getting legislation passed. I don’t want to reveal too much because it’s still in the process but I’m really excited because I feel like what this legislation will do is really impactful for the trafficking advocacy community.

But yeah, basically a few years ago, I saw the hashtag “save the children” on Facebook and I was like, “What’s this about?” And I found that it was about human trafficking and so I was like, “I don’t even know what human trafficking is.” And so I started researching and so I was like, “Oh my god, this is not happening in third-world countries, this is happening, literally in Cape May county.”

So, basically it’s just a really, heavy dark topic and it’s hard to even get concrete information on statistics because it’s so mysterious. It’s a 150 billion-dollar illegal industry and not enough people know about it but that’s essentially what I’m doing with my platform, my social impact initiative, by trying to raise awareness by going to schools, I’ve done social media seminars, just to teach people about what it even is in hopes that will hopefully prevent further trafficking operations from happening in the communities. 

Q: Switching gears now, I’ve got two final questions, the second to last one being, how important is it to preserve a lot of like the small business and small community atmosphere in Cape May? 

To hear Mallous’ response, click the play button above.

A: So important, the Courthouse Diner is literally what has aided in my college life. I’ve been able to go to college and, same with my brother, able to pursue our passions and our careers really because of our small business.

Our grandparents immigrated from Greece years ago and they didn’t even know a lick of English and so what they did know was customer service. A lot of times, Greeks are known for their hospitality so they used that to their benefit and opened up a restaurant. Now, years later, my parents have their own restaurant with my grandparents.

It’s more than a small business. A lot of people who don’t have small businesses or aren’t involved typically don’t really understand the impact that it has but it’s really just these families trying to make a living and trying to create a better life for their grandchildren or great-grandchildren.

Q: Where is your favorite place to be in Cape May?

To hear Mallous’ response, click the play button above.

A: You know, that’s a hard one. If I’m going to be honest, it really is the Courthouse Diner. you know what? I probably wouldn’t have said that like four years ago because I was like “Ah, the diner, I’m so sick of it! I’m here all the time.” Blah blah blah. Because obviously I grew up there.

But now, being in college, and being away from home away from the diner, I can definitely say the diner is my favorite place just because everything is pretty much homemade. The food is something I definitely miss. Being here in New York, New Jersey is the diner capital of the world, so the diners here really can’t compare. But also, the familial aspect and the atmosphere of the diner like I said before, I’m really close with all the locals, all the customers that come ins they’re like family to me. When I’m there, I really feel like I’m at home. That’s just the best part about Cape May for me.

Augostina Mallous is an active member of her community, regularly updating others about the work she is doing for her social impact initiative, as well as her Miss America organization journey.


One response to “Augostina Mallous: From the Courthouse Diner to the Big Apple”

  1. […] 3. Augostina Mallous: From the Court House Diner to the Big Apple […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: