The city of Portales is going to be noticeably more beautiful this week as Miss New Mexico pageant activities officially started Monday afternoon on the Portales town square.
Miss New Mexico and Miss New Mexico Teen contestants spent Monday participating in the “Crown the Town” event in the Portales square, visiting local businesses and chatting with local residents.
“I really like it,” Miss Land of Enchantment Teen Ashley Purcella said. “I love traveling around New Mexico. It’s a lot smaller than Albuquerque, so it takes some getting used to that you can drive through the city in 10 minutes versus an hour back home. But I really like it here. It’s really pretty.”
With competitors coming from all over the state, there are a handful of ladies who will be representing Roosevelt and Curry Counties during the event. A current ENMU student, Miss Eastern New Mexico Anne Harding, is using her experience as a college student for her platform which focuses on financial literacy as well as health awareness.
“It’s educating on the resources that are available for people to use for their own personal financial use such as personal budgeting,” Harding said. “It’s geared toward college students with loan debt and credit card debt. I just started this during Financial Literacy Month, which was in April.”
Much like Harding, Miss Eastern New Mexico Teen Kara Young is using her experience at Portales High School to help promote literacy in elementary schools for her platform, special needs awareness.
“It’s about all kids that have different types of special needs,” Young said. “Kids with down syndrome, different learning disabilities but not just kids with disabilities because all kids have their own disabilities in their own way. I just like to help kids at elementary schools. I help them read.”
Contestants like Miss Rio Rancho Elizabeth Nelson hope to translate their platform into an actual career.
“My platform is ‘Preventing Tragedies: Promoting Mental Health Awareness Among America’s Youth,'” Nelson said. “What I plan to do is become a high school guidance counselor. My passion is to be hands-on in counseling. I think this is my step to be within that area.
“It goes beyond bullying, because someone could just be having a bad day but if they aren’t given the proper attention, then they could potentially feel alone, abandoned, and it can turn into something bigger,” she said.
While the platforms are important, there’s more to the Miss New Mexico pageant than just the candidates current beliefs as Miss Santa Fe Gabrielle Montoya-Segura likened the entire week to the Sandra Bullock movie “Miss Congeniality.”
“It’s portrayed as a beauty pageant, which it is, but it’s also a scholarship organization,” Montoya-Segura said. “These women who are competing have achieved so much. People may see it as a beauty pageant, but it’s much more than that. I want to be a cosmetic surgeon. I want to volunteer at local hospitals as a trauma ER surgeon to give back to the community, pro-bono.”
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