To Crystal Lake resident Linda Matthias, being involved in your community, diving into one’s passion and learning new things makes a person fabulous.
A Spanish teacher at Cary-Grove High School, Matthias, who also serves on the Crystal Lake Park District’s Board of Commissioners, now has the chance to show how “fabulous” she is in the first-ever Fab Over 40 competition.
Sponsored by NewBeauty magazine, TestTube and BeautyPass, the contest provides by the winner $40,000, a two-page feature in NewBeauty magazine, and a vacation to Scottsdale, Arizona, according to a news release.
Winners are decided through an online voting platform, which opened Aug 2. Each woman was put into a smaller group of contestants who they initially competed against.
After making it to the Top 10 in her group of contestants, Matthias now is trying to make the top five. Voting ends for that Thursday. If Matthias makes the cut, she’ll go into the next round of voting for quarterfinals, semifinals, and then the final competition.
At 51, Matthias said she now feels more comfortable in her skin than she ever has.
“I’ve been through so much in life and I have so much wisdom, and I just feel so much more confident in myself,” Matthias said.
This confidence is something Matthias tries to instill in her students at Cary-Grove High School.
At the beginning of the school year, Matthias asked her students: What makes you interesting?
“Everybody’s fabulous in their own way,” Matthias said. “I encourage them to find things that interest them and just dive into that.”
After a year teaching remotely because of the COVID-19 pandemic, she said, this was more important than ever.
“I would give them such grace, and they would give me such grace,” Matthias said about her students during COVID-19. “This was just such a weird year for everyone.”
Matthias said she’s always been interested in volunteering and being involved in the community however she can.
“I love my Crystal Lake community and Cary and Fox River Grove community so much,” she said.
Along with her work as an elected official on the park district board, Matthias was also the parent-teacher organization president for her children’s elementary school for a couple of years.
At Cary-Grove, Matthias is the sponsor of the Latino Leadership Club and helps students as they navigate college and career fairs.
Although people can vote for their favorite contestant for free once a day, they can buy more votes for $1. Proceeds go to the the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
Matthias’ sister-in-law and a good friend had to have double mastectomies, making the issue personal for her, she said.
“To have to go through that, I mean, those are the people that are fabulous,” Matthias said.
To vote for Matthias, go to her profile at votefab40.com/2021/linda-matthias.