Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

By Alisa Boswell
Portales Managing Editor 

2017 misses crowned

Logan's Leah Taylor focused on suicide prevention.


June 21, 2017

Anna George

Miss Las Cruces Taylor Rey performs "Art is Calling for Me" before winning the Miss New Mexico pageant.

PORTALES — Tears were flowing Saturday night as Miss Las Cruces Taylor Rey, 22, was crowned the 2017 Miss New Mexico.

Rio Grande's Outstanding Teen Sienna Mascarenas, 16, of Albuquerque, was crowned Miss New Mexico's Outstanding Teen.

"I am absolutely ecstatic," Rey said. "I never actually thought this would happen."

Rey had competed three times previously, twice for Miss New Mexico and once for Miss New Mexico Outstanding Teen. Previous to the win, however, she took two years off to finish college.

Rey and Mascarenas' talents were both musically oriented: The teen danced while the miss sang and performed.

"I'm super excited. I've worked really hard for this, and I'm glad it paid off," Mascarenas said following the pageant. As she awaited the announcement with her peers, she mostly just felt nerves, but she had felt good about herself and her performances throughout, she said.

Prior to last week's Miss New Mexico Scholarship Pageant, local title holders spent their time conducting events to push their platforms while being full-time students at Eastern New Mexico University.

Leah Taylor, 22, of Logan, who was Miss Quay County in 2016 and was Miss Portales this year, worked with a personal coach in regard to pageant competing and had spent the last several months doing multiple events in the area and other parts of the state, as well as some in Texas.

She said working with the coach and doing more events gave her more confidence with competing this year.

Taylor, whose platform is "The Silent Cry: Suicide prevention and awareness," said she is passionate about suicide awareness because her brother, Nathan, committed suicide at 41.

"I hope to keep other people from doing that. I know I can't save everyone, so the people who do commit suicide, I hope to build up their families."

Taylor said one of her favorite memories with her brother is when she was little, and he brought some bicycles in with her dad for Christmas.

"His daughter (Nathan's) and me were around the same age, and we just got to ride our bikes around the living room," she said.

Taylor said she wants teens and young adults to know that "they are special no matter what, and you have so much ahead of you in your life, and the hard times aren't always going to last."

Eastern New Mexico's Outstanding Teen Tamara McSmith's platform for drug and alcohol abuse awareness also hits close to home.

For her talent, McSmith gave a monologue about her mother, who died about a year ago from drug and alcohol abuse.

"I decided to write a monologue about her," she said. "It talked about the memories and the things we did, and that there are consequences to drug and alcohol abuse."

McSmith, 13, of Nara Visa, said she wanted to try the pageant to overcome her shyness and fear of being on stage in front of people, and it gave her more courage.

"I have enjoyed it. The girls are very nice, and every one of them deserves where they are. It's a very good experience. You learn not to be so stressed out about going up in front of people. It gives you more courage to do things," she said.

— Staff Writer Anna George contributed to this report


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