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Beauty and the brains: An interview with Miss New Mexico


Nicole Miner was crowned Miss New Mexico on June 6, 2009, in Alamogordo. Currently at twenty-three years old, she hopes to graduate from the University of North Texas with a major in music education and then complete a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of New Mexico. Keep an eye out for Miss New Mexico in the Miss America Pageant January 30, 2010.

Examiner: What do you do for fun?
Nicole Miner:I love to exercise, and one of the biggest things I do for fun is just relax. These days we’re just going, going,and going,  that my fun time is just relaxing by watching TV.  My favorite show is Friends. I also love Will and Grace, I love Lucy, and anything like that.

Ex: What made you to decide to try out for Miss New Mexico?
NM: During high school I felt like such a tomboy. I did soccer, basketball and track and then I joined choir and found that was my hidden talent. I’ve always loved to sing and I guess I was pretty good at it. My senior year I said I’m going to go music school. I auditioned to the University of North Texas and I got into the music program- and pageants were never in my scope. But I was performing with my dad’s jazz band here, locally and I got approached and I thought, “Well, alright I will take that path.”

Ex: What is the process to become Miss America, and Miss New Mexico?
NM: You compete at the local level, and the competition consists of swimsuit, evening gown, on stage question, an interview, and talent. That is what really separates us from the Miss USA system. So you prepare for that to become Miss New Mexico and it is just on a grander level for Miss America.

Ex: What was the hardest part for you in that process?

NM: The hardest part for me is probably interview. I’ve always had self confidence issues growing up as a child. Just commanding an interview room has always been something that I’ve had trouble with. So it’s something that I’ve worked on and have grown on through this organization.

Ex: You had finished in the top 5 in the past three competitions before you were crowned Miss New Mexico. What made you keep trying?

NM: Just the fact of knowing that I could do it. I knew that I could be Miss New Mexico and I learned something new about myself every year that I did it. So, I really dug deep and said, “Okay, what am I missing?” It’s really a reality check in terms of who you are, and knowing what you excel at and what you need to improve on. It’s just an amazing organization that helps you grow.

Ex: What lead you to choose “Saving Lives; Leukemia and Lymphoma Society” as your platform?
NM: My mom was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2003.  When I went away to college I wasn’t with her every day, helping her and supporting her through her cancer. So I reached out to Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and also Team and Training. That was my way of supporting her without being right next to her.

Ex: What does being Miss New Mexico entail?
NM: The main thing I focus on is my platform for Leukemia and Lymphoma.  I have also joined Team and Training, which is the largest fund-raising organization for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I fund-raised over $11,000 to date by running marathons, half marathons, cycling events, I mean you name it I’ve done it. I’ve also joined with Albuquerque Reads. Once a week I go tutor first graders on how to read and I’ve collaborated with Baskets of Hope and the national platform, Children's Miracle Network, so every other week I go and deliver baskets to patients and their families.

Ex: How do you hope to impact society if you are crowned Miss America?
NM: I hope to impact society by just reaching out, even if it’s just to one individual or to hundreds of people-that’s my main goal. Serving Leukemia and Lymphoma society, I’ve really been able to touch people’s lives, whether if it’s just with a smile or just a conversation. I think as Miss America I could do that on a national level. I really want to make a difference for patients like my mom with Chemo treatments and getting it covered on the insurance plan, like what President Obama is trying to do with his health care plan, but make it state by state.

Ex: How has this organization impacted you so far?
NM: It’s just made a profound impact on who I was five years ago and who I am today, by just knowing who I am and what defines me and really knowing that anything I put my heart into I can accomplish.

Ex: What are the downsides of this organization?
I think with every organization there are pros and cons.With this one it’s just financial because we are a small state and there isn’t a lot of money. But that is one thing I’d like to carry on for the next girl- putting on a lot of fundraisers so the next girl doesn’t have to worry about raising money to get to Miss America or for Children’s Miracle Network. It will already be in place for her.