By Vernon Robison
Moapa Valley Progress
Moapa Valley is home to another true princess. Ten year old Gracie Wong of Logandale was crowned as the Nevada State Miniature Miss winner at the 35th annual NV State Cinderella Scholarship Pageant held in Las Vegas on June 10-14.
Gracie, who will be returning to Bowler Elementary as a fifth grader this fall, has been working towards this as her goal for the past few years. She first entered the Cinderella Pageant at the Clark County Fair when she was seven years old.
“Ever since she was little she wanted to participate in this contest,” said Gracie’s mother, Jo Jo Wong. “She watched the pageant at the Fair one year and pestered me to do it.”
Jo Jo said that she had looked into the program at that time and was impressed by what she found. She liked that it taught girls important life lessons like speaking in public and interviewing skills. So she entered Gracie into the contest when she was 7.
“I thought that she would just do it the one time and never again,” Jo Jo said. “But she stuck with it until she won it.”
Last spring at the Fair, Gracie won the overall contest which gave her a place at the state finals.
At last month’s state competition there were about a dozen girls competing in Gracie’s division from all over the state. Each girl went through an interview with judges. They were asked about their likes and dislikes, and their life’s aspirations. Gracie has eclectic career goals. She wants to be a pre-school teacher and a pastry chef.
The contest also involved a modeling segment where the girls showed off their favorite casual wear and their best party attire.
Finally, the girls all participated in a talent segment of the competition. Most of the girls sang songs, played instrumental solos or performed dances. But Gracie’s talent was a two-and-a-half minute hula hoop routine, set to music.
“She came up with it herself,” Jo Jo said. “She was completely self taught. It took her a month or two of practicing to get the routine down. But she did it well; doing tricks over the head and around the neck.”
As reigning royalty, Gracie now gets to travel the state over the next year and represent the Pageant. She will attend the preliminaries for next year’s contest in towns all over the state and will, next year, help to crown the next royalty.
What’s more, winning the state royalty will get Gracie into the Cinderella International competition. Also to be held in Las Vegas on July 22-28, the international competition will draw as many as 150 girls from all over the world to compete in Gracie’s division.