Erin Maestas Miss New Mexico Earth 2019
World Class Beauty Queens Magazine would like to welcome amazing Queen Erin Maestas Miss New Mexico Earth.
Full name: Erin Maestas
Title/Year: Miss New Mexico Earth 2019
Pageant System: Miss Earth USA
Zodiac sign: Cancer
Hobbies: Classical Pianist, guitar & ukulele player, Youtuber, and Skiing
Platform: Advocate for underrepresented groups in STEM
Years competed: 4
Countries visited: 4
Likes: Music, girl power, dancing, and most importantly, anything and everything sweet!
Dislikes: negativity, sleeping in, and being unorganized!
Status: Currently Competing Taken? (I wasn’t sure what this meant).
World Class Beauty Queens: Please tell us about yourself.
My name is Erin Maestas and I was born in raised in the Land of Enchantment; otherwise known as Albuquerque New Mexico in the United States. Since I was young I’ve had an affinity for all things math and science. Fun fact – they actually say if you’re naturally gifted in mathematics it correlates to your musical ability! I have played classical piano since the age of 5, but have branched out to harmonica, guitar, and ukulele. I currently teach piano lessons on the side but my heart was truly set on engineering. My amazing parents empowered me to become the young woman I am today; a published researcher currently working on her Master of Science! In a world that was filled with “you can’t” I was taught to show them I can. From clubs in high school to choosing my major in college, I knew what I was made of. Yes, it was sugar and spice but it was also calculus and linear algebra! From automotive engineering classes in highschool, I went on to get my Bachelor’s degree in Information Systems from the University of New Mexico while working at the National Laboratory in Albuquerque. I’m currently halfway through my graduate program and recently published my research – something I never even dreamed I could do. If I could sum up who I am in a sentence, it would be: I am a force to be reckoned with!
World Class Beauty Queens: What does women Empowerment means to you?
To me, women empowerment means recognizing the power and strength that comes with who you are as a woman and how it can make a difference. Our words, actions, the smallest detail in our everyday lives can impact us and those around us. Empowerment is an unstoppable force for good; we have to recognize the power and impact our words and actions have on the lives around us. We need to better understand out they impact younger generations of women and how they view themselves. When we say women empowerment we say give a woman the means to achieve greatness – continue the fight for equality, live beyond labels, use the superpower that is womanhood to be a driving force in this world to not have to keep proving yourself to others that you are capable of greatness. Women empowerment means standing alongside each other knowing you all already have the tools you need to accomplish anything.
World Class Beauty Queens: Tell us about your pageant history.
I started pageants in 2017 with a mission to tell my story and to tell the story of so many young women like me. I began competing in the Miss Universe system for the title of Miss New Mexico USA – a preliminary for Miss USA. For two years I have placed in the Top 15, and have come home with amazing ideas of what I could do better and what I could do next. I plan on competing for the Miss New Mexico USA Title to join the Miss USA Class of 2020!
World Class Beauty Queens: What inspired you to do your first pageant?
I have watched Miss USA, Miss America, and Miss Universe for as long as I can remember. Hearing these beautiful incredible young women not only tell their stories, but tell the stories of those they have worked tirelessly for. I thought one day I could be like them; using the power of pageantry as a way to be heard. As a way for a cause to be heard.
I believe pageants are an amazing platform to have women be heard for their hard work and dedication. You get to know them on a personal level but understand their drive, platforms, and what they represent. Growing up my dad had me answer a question every morning on the drive to school. “What are we going to do today?” And my sister and I would yell back “Brains, beauty, and discipline!”
Pageants are a celebration of women for those very three things! The brains that it takes to prepare for interviews, media interviews, on-stage questions. The beauty and grace that is so highly sought after. And the discipline it takes to get ourselves mentally and physically ready for competition. I began competing because I truly felt this was where I belonged – and I have been having a blast ever since!
World Class Beauty Queens: Why did you choose to compete for your current title?
The Miss Earth system is so much more than a beauty pageant. They are beauties for a cause - they empower young women to think and act on something so much bigger than themselves. The encouragement contestants receive to speak their mind on global topics is just so incredible, it was an opportunity I couldn't surpass. My graduate research and publication tie into using data science to promote renewable energy resources, sustainability, and scientific research. The Miss Earth system is focused on environmental awareness and activism and I felt that this was a perfect fit for myself, my interests, and my work. No matter your place in this system - at the local, state, national, or international level, they want you to give back to your community and globe. Having the opportunity to compete for a dream job where you have a voice and empowered to act on it was an incredible experience.
World Class Beauty Queens: To those unfamiliar with your pageant system please tell us what is it about?
The Miss Earth USA is an annual beauty pageant which selects the United States representative to Miss Earth. Miss Earth is an annual international beauty pageant promoting environmental awareness. This pageant is one of the Big Four international beauty pageants with reigning titleholders who dedicate their year to promote projects and address issues concerning the environment and other global issues. As title holders you're responsibility lands with the earth; through school tours, tree planting activities, street campaigns, and more. You are the voice the planet needs!
World Class Beauty Queens: What are you being judged on during the competition?
The areas of competition include: Social Media, Think Global Act Local service project, Swimsuit, Runway, Interview, and Evening Gown.
The judges want to see how well we engage with the community and that was one of the most fun parts of competition - using social media to spread awareness about the environment and my platform! We had to conduct an event for Think Global Act Local where we engaged our community to think on a global scale through our everyday activities. This is what makes the Miss Earth system stand out amongst others; they truly want to see how you can make a community, or make a nation, understand the importance of making a difference.
World Class Beauty Queens: Tell us about your experience during the competition.
Spending a week in Las Vegas Nevada seemed like a dream come true - and just like a dream, it came and went by so fast! The young women I met were incredible individuals; this was truly a place that celebrated diversity in every manor. Although I didn't walk away with the nationals crown, I had an amazing experience. The staff were so helpful and caring in every aspect - whether it was escorting us between events, or running to grab me extra bobby pins. I am so thankful to the director, staff, and the young women I met along the way.
World Class Beauty Queens: Tell us about your platform or what cause do you volunteer for.
I am an advocate for under represented groups in STEM, and volunteer under the cause Diversity in STEM. As a young Latina woman in an engineering field I understand the barriers and labels placed on these groups, and how it can bar them from pursuing their dreams. My platform means to celebrate one another, and use our differences to our advantage. Diversity in STEM is promoting the cultivating of talent and full inclusion of excellence across a broad social spectrum. We need to ensure that everyone is being represented fairly! No matter who you are or your background, you can and should have the ability to do great things for our future in science.
Diversity in science in important! In STEM fields we see science as group research. We need diversity to have people from different background in order to provide ground break work. Different people provide a different point of view and this helps further research!
World Class Beauty Queens: What appearances have you done with your title?
I have traveled across the state of New Mexico to serve as a local and regional science fair judge. This has given me the opportunity to speak to our future about the importance of environmental sustainability, and helping them get interested in further pursuing their interests in STEM. More recently, I had the honor of attending Science Night at our Minor League Baseball team the Isotopes game where I held a booth for children to conduct a recycling game. I have also worked with the New Mexico Epilepsy Foundation on a commercial used to talk about the foundation.
World Class Beauty Queens: What are some of your achievements?
As a classically trained pianist I had the honor to play at Keller Hall at the University of New Mexico at a young age. I went on to pursue a career in systems engineering, and graduated with my bachelors CUM LAUDE from the University of New Mexico. I was a member of the Golden Key Honor Society, National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and the National Society of Leadership and Success. I am currently pursuing my Masters where I was able to publish my research; a paper titled "A Computational Model of Dynamic Group Formation on Social Media".
World Class Beauty Queens: What is your on stage strategy to win the judges over?
Be unapologetically yourself - they will love you for it! When you're on stage you don't want to come off as robotic. I received the best advice from a staff member one year that said "The girl that has the most fun is the girl that will win."
I attribute my pageant successes to this saying because no matter the outcome people will recognize the true smile on your face, and the energy you exude. I have received comments from judges in the past praising my on-stage energy. I see it as this: you only have a minute or two to make them remember you, open that door and show them all that you are.
World Class Beauty Queens: What makes you stand out from all those other beautiful girls?
I believe I stand for much more than a beauty pageant contestant; I am here to empower young women. I am here to show the world just what girls can do. We are all beautiful and unique in so many different ways but it's what we do with it that matters. I am on a global mission for equality and acceptance; what makes me stand out from these other girls is my passion for pageantry and what it can do to make a better place. It's not just a crown, or a great headshot, it's what I do with my 5 seconds in the spotlight.
World Class Beauty Queens: Tell us about the moment your name was called out as the winner.
Walking on sunshine. I could sum up that moment in those very few words. Working so hard in all aspects of my life and mentally preparing for a competition and suddenly it's fruitful. The moment I was given this title was the moment my life changed, it was the moment the year of 2019 was suddenly encompassed with pageantry. I became my title and my title became who I was and what I wanted out of it. Truly a moment I will never forget.
World Class Beauty Queens: What does it mean to you to be a Beauty Queen?
To be a beauty queen is to understand and teach the importance of being confidently beautiful. You are an ambassador for style, success, scholarship, and service. To be a beauty queen is to be intelligent, self-less, fierce, beautiful, and fearless. A beauty queen is a woman who grabs your attention and knows exactly how to keep it. There is no cookie cutter definition of a beauty queen; we are all beautiful, unique, and exude confidence like rays of sun.
World Class Beauty Queens: How did competing in pageants helped your life?
Pageantry has opened so many doors for me. Through it I have been able to not only connect and make lifelong friendships with incredible young women, but all of the people I met through my service. Through events I have met passionate individuals in my community and continue to work with them to this day. Pageants open a world of opportunity and without it, I don't know if I would have accomplished as much as I have!
World Class Beauty Queens: How did pageants helped your selfesteem and body image?
If you asked me when I was 16 to get up on a stage in swimwear I would've looked at you like you were crazy. I never thought I looked bad, but I was so scared to go out in the world and be adventurous in my looks. Everything changed after my first pageant - it was like I had been awakened! I saw myself as a beautiful young woman, and this new found confidence through pageantry taught me an important lesson. Confidence is not they will like me, confidence is that I will be okay if they don't.
World Class Beauty Queens: You are an inspiration to all the girls out there. How does it feel?
Some days I can't believe it. I used to be that little girl looking up to these leaders and now I'm in those shoes. It has been a humbling experience because I see where these girls come from, and know that we were all just like them. Dreamers. It feels like having a year as a title holder is too little time to truly mean something to these girls; which makes me really work for it! I try to do as much as I can so that these girls can walk away feeling truly inspired, feeling like they can take on this world!
World Class Beauty Queens: What are your tips for learning better pageant walk?
Practice in front of a mirror! This was a huge part of my success - I used to walk very rushed but watching in a mirror helps you see your poise, speed, and the use of your legs. Ask others for helpful critique because you can't improve if you don't know what you're doing wrong, or how you can get better!
World Class Beauty Queens: What are your tips for choosing right pageant dress?
Go with what feels right but always keep in mind current trends and fashions. You want to feel confident and beautiful in your gown; the last thing you want is a sour look on your face because your dress isn't properly fit or just isn't something you're absolutely in love with. Confidence outshines all other facets and if you aren't confident in your dress it will show. Find out what's trending, find something that stands out, but most importantly find something you love!
World Class Beauty Queens: What are your tips for winning interview?
Be genuine and take a few seconds before responding to answer thoughtfully. Don't be afraid to speak your truth because you will be rewarded for it. Judges can tell when an answer is too well rehearsed or impersonal. By being genuine and thinking thoughtfully through a question you show that you can think critically about subjects in the time being, and that you aren't just reciting a memorized script.
World Class Beauty Queens: How did you prepare for your competition?
I take a lot of time to self reflect after the past years competition to list out what I like about myself and what I can work on. This way I'm not bringing myself down - I'm uplifting and focusing on what I can enhance. I put myself in the head space and define why I'm competing and when I'm in the gym, meal prepping, practicing my walk, or preparing myself for interview I remind myself exactly where I'm doing this. Never lose sight of your goal and your mission.
World Class Beauty Queens: What is one mistake that you've done during competing you wish you could redo and fix it?
This happened two years ago and I still think about it! During my interview my hands started to shake and so did my voice. I got so nervous I actually had to stop for a second and breathe. I've worked a lot on my public speaking and wish I could go back to that interview. I feel like that my message in that interview was so strong and my key points were there but I let my nerves get the best of me!
World Class Beauty Queens: What other mistakes are made by girls during the contest?
Not being yourself. People, judges, and staff can usually see right through it. The best version of you, is who you are. You don't need to be 'the perfect contestant' being the best version of you is what you need to win. So many girls want to look like this, talk like that, but that can only get you so far. Being unique, genuine, and thoughtful will get you a long way in pageants.
World Class Beauty Queens: Any modeling or acting experience?
I have modeling experience in Albuquerque working with local photographers. I will be walking for Ashley Lauren in New York Fashion Week 2.0 this fall!
World Class Beauty Queens: What are your plans for 2019 as a Queen?
My reign won't come to an end until March, so I hope to continue my work in my community and promote STEM activities and learning to the youth here. I plan on competing for another state title, which will hopefully lead me back to a national stage!
World Class Beauty Queens: What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind?
There's a difference between having power and having influence. As beauty queens we are all given power, but I find myself asking if we all have influence. I hope I leave a legacy behind and influenced our communities to be more accepting of others, celebrate diversity, and lead with love and perseverance. We each have a story to tell and I truly hope my legacy promotes inclusion and acceptance to create an environment where we can all tell our stories.
International Director: Ramon Monzon
National Director: Laura Clark
Your Local Director: Marco Alvarado
Pageant website: https://www.missearthunitedstates.com/ World Class Beauty Queens Magazine would like to say thank you for this wonderful interview.
Erin Maestas Miss New Mexico Earth 2019, World Class Beauty Queens Magazine
Interview by Derek Tokarzewski Owner/Editor in Chief Mr United Nations 2018 Platform: Women Empowerment Ambassador to International Foundation for Orphans iffocares.org
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