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Four earn titles at Miss Portales Pageant

 

Staff photo: Alisa Boswell Airam Chavez played Justin Bieber’s song “Sorry” on the flute for her talent at Sunday’s Miss Portales Pageant at Eastern New Mexico University. Chavez was one of eight contestants.

STAFF WRITER

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Four New Mexico women walked away from the Miss Portales Pageant with titles Sunday night at Eastern New Mexico University.

Eight contestants, many of them locals, from across the state competed Sunday night at pageant held in ENMU’s Campus Union Building Ballroom.

Miss Portales Leah Taylor was elated after receiving a title that she has wanted “for a very long time.”

Taylor won the title of Miss Quay County at a spring workshop pageant in April in Portales.

Staff photo: Alisa Boswell

Airam Chavez played Justin Bieber’s song “Sorry” on the flute for her talent at Sunday’s Miss Portales Pageant at Eastern New Mexico University. Chavez was one of eight contestants.

Taylor, whose platform was “Ready, set, serve” — intended to empower youth to volunteer in their communities — said her desire to compete came from a need to build her platform on a strong foundation.

“I think that if kids are able to volunteer while they’re young, they can grow up and form a better sense of civic engagement,” she said.

Alexis Cupps, who took the title of Miss Roosevelt County, said she returned after competing as Miss Curry County in the 2016 Miss New Mexico Pageant.

“It just kind of sparked a fire, and I just wanted to keep doing it and keep succeeding through this pageant,” said Cupps, whose platform “Who runs the world?” through the Girls Inc. Foundation, which encourages young women to pursue higher education.

Miss Eastern New Mexico Rene Smith didn’t initially believe that she qualified to compete in the pageant.

“I think it was important for me to compete, because if you talk to anybody, I’m not really the pageant girl. I played football in high school — I was a kicker — I competed internationally in science fair; I don’t really have any of the qualifications to be here,” she said. “What I decided after Greg (Smith) talked to me a long time about it, is that that’s what Miss America organization is about. It’s about the diversity of the girls. It’s about something that I could bring to the table.”

Staff photo: Alisa Boswell

Leah Taylor sings “I’ll Be Seeing You” Sunday night as her talent for the Miss Portales Pageant. Taylor won the Miss Portales title.

Smith’s platform was “the psychological permanence of the party stigma,” which addressed the importance of young people establishing healthy patterns before the age of 25.

Brandi Blair, who claimed Miss Sacramento Mountains, was committed to advancing to the Miss New Mexico pageant in her last year of competition.

Staff photo: Alisa Boswell Leah Taylor sings “I’ll Be Seeing You” Sunday night as her talent for the Miss Portales Pageant. Taylor won the Miss Portales title.

“This is my last year of being able to compete in the Miss America organization, and I figured I would give it one last hurrah and really try and go for the Miss New Mexico crown. It’s my goal to get to the Miss New Mexico stage, and I’m just grateful that I’ve had the opportunities that I’ve had, such as the Miss Portales Pageant,” she said.

Blair’s platform involved helping victims of domestic violence and sexual assault using an acronym she created called STAR: “Letting victims know that they don’t have to be ‘scared,’ that they can see beyond the ‘trauma’ and the ‘tragedy,’ that they’re not ‘alone,’ and that there are ‘resources’ available.”

Miss Sandoval County Ashley Moseley, whose platform advocated for weight loss, optimism and confidence, competed in part to “inspire other young women that no matter what size you are, what circumstance you’re in, you are able to go out in the world and accomplish whatever you desire.”

The winners of the Miss Portales pageant will compete in the 2017 Miss New Mexico pageant June 12-17.

 
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