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St. Pete woman a semifinalist in Macy's makeover contest

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Published:   |   Updated: March 19, 2013 at 02:06 PM

Ingrid Magnani is one step closer to winning a million-dollar makeover.

The 35-year-old construction company owner is one of four semifinalists vying for the top prize, which includes a makeover with style guru Clinton Kelly and a million dollars' worth of products, services, cash and experiences that will transform her life.

"I feel very humbled," said Magnani, a native New Yorker who lives in St. Petersburg. "This is the first time in my life I've realized how many lives I've touched and how many people believe in me. There's no way I could have made it this far without every one of them."

Macy's launched the Million Dollar Makeover contest in December with a nationwide call for entries. Eight women were chosen from more than 19,000 entries from across the country.

Online voting narrowed the field to four, and Magnani already received a pre-makeover consultation with Kelly. Now, it's up to online voters to pick the two who will go to the final round.

Voters can vote for Magnani until 11:59 p.m. Sunday by going to Macy's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/macy's.

A frequent Macy's shopper, Magnani says she entered the makeover contest after some prodding by her friends.

She believes her life experiences touched voter's hearts.

Magnani said she suffered years of sexual abuse as a child. At age 13, she was diagnosed with hemiplegic migraines. The headaches produce stroke-like symptoms and cause temporary paralysis. At age 19, she was diagnosed with Crohn's disease, and later had a bout with thyroid cancer. She also has battled bipolar disorder.

But she refuses to let anything slow her down.

Magnani put herself through engineering school at Columbia University, and opened her own construction and consulting business, Nittany Constuction in Largo, in 2010.

She says setting lofty goals has always been a way to cope with illness and setbacks.

"I always pushed myself harder to get through all of that," she says. "I realized through sharing my own experiences I could help other people get through theirs."

If Magnani wins the makeover contest, she wants to get her master's degree in concrete engineering, start a scholarship foundation at Columbia University and create a construction camp where young girls can learn the basics, so they can someday overcome boundaries and misconceptions in the male-dominated industry.

"I had a man tell me I could never be in the construction field because I was a girl," Magnani said. "I want to make girls see they can be everything everyone tells them they can't be."


Reporter Cloe Cabrera can be reached at (813) 259-7656 or ccabrera@tampatrib.com

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