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Local senior to compete in Miss Minnesota Latina pageant

Perham High School senior, Mariana Alvarado, is preparing to compete in the Miss Minnesota Latina 2014 pageant as Miss Otter Tail County Latina on June 1 in St. Paul. This will be her first pageant. Submitted photo

Mariana Alvarado, a senior at Perham High School, always wanted to try competing in a pageant – and now she’s taking that chance.

“I always wanted to try one,” she said, “just to experience it, just to see how it is.”

Alvarado was recently recruited to compete in the Miss Minnesota Latina pageant, representing Otter Tail County, on June 1 in St. Paul.

She said that, in the past, other pageants have intimidated her because they include a talent portion.

“I can’t sing,” she said with a laugh. “I like to dance, but I’m not a professional dancer. I did violin, but that was just when I was in middle school. I like this one because it’s competing on the interview, platform, swimsuit and gown.”

This pageant is in its second year in Minnesota. According to the organization, it is the only pageant that was established exclusively for Latinas and the only one whose winner advances to the national competition, which began in 1983.

“This pageant intends to promote the ideas, culture, interests and aspirations of this country’s most powerful emerging market,” states the Miss Minnesota Latina Pageant Organization website. “Today’s young Latina women are leading the way. Their desires for achievement, recognition and the betterment of themselves and their families are shaping the future economy and culture of this country, driving it into the next century.”

In order to further encourage young women to give the pageant a try, organizers provide mentoring to all of the competitors.

“They actually help you with your makeup, how to walk,” Alvarado explained after returning from the orientation day.

Topics at orientation included public speaking and interviewing, nutrition, pageant walk, makeup and more. Contestants were also given advice on picking and developing their pageant platforms.

At the time of this interview, Alvarado wasn’t sure yet what platform she will choose, but was considering something about littering.

“That’s my pet peeve,” she said.

The winner of the Minnesota pageant will go on to compete in the 2014 Miss U.S. Latina pageant in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, and receive a host of prizes to help her prepare for the national competition.

With her busy schedule of high school classes and finishing clinicals to become a certified nursing assistant, the preparation work might come off as discouraging. But, to Alvarado, it’s all about the challenge.

Will she do more pageants in the future?

“I think it will depend on how much fun I have and if there’s others (pageants) that I find interesting,” she said.

Next year, she plans to go to North Dakota State University and earn a bachelor’s degree to become a registered nurse. From there, she would like to become a surgical nurse – “but you never know.”

To follow Alvarado’s journey to the pageant, follow the Miss Otter Tail Latina Facebook page.

Miss Minnesota Latina 2014 will be crowned on June 1 at Union Depot in St. Paul.