For 20-year-old Alyssa Vásquez, this is her first time taking part of the Miss California pageant which is taking place this week in Fresno.
Vásquez didn’t feel she fit the ‘mold’ of a pageant contestant.
“I had darker skin, didn’t have blue eyes or blonde hair,” Vásquez said of her hesitation to run for Miss Napa County at first.
However, winning the title showed Vásquez that Latinas do fit the mold of a pageant contestant that goes beyond looks.
Vásquez said Latinas have all the “elements to be in this competition. They should go out of their way to do this. We are representing our community.”
Vásquez, who was born and raised in Napa, currently lives in the Bay area where she attends San Francisco State University as a full-time classical voice major. She is also majoring in nursing.
Vásquez said raised enough money to pay for her first year of college by selling livestock.
Vásquez, who has three sisters – one younger and two older – said that one of her sisters competed previously for Miss Napa County but didn’t win the title.
“I am the first one in my family to get the title,” said Vásquez, who is an avid video gamer and can whistle while smiling.
Vásquez parents are from Michoacán, México and they were in their teens when each came to the United States looking for better opportunities.
At first, Vásquez said her parents – Anastasia, 47, who is a nurse; and Ulises, 52, who works in a winery – didn’t like the idea of Vásquez participating in the local pageant.
However, after winning the Miss Napa title, Vásquez said her parents cried and have been very supportive of her race for the state title.
Vásquez said her niece is taking part in the Miss California Princess program going on this week in Fresno.
Taking part of the Miss California pageant has given Vásquez, who was born with a born disorder called Brachymetatarsia, the opportunity to growth as an individual.
Vásquez, who is bilingual, taught herself how to play piano at the age of 12. Her pageant platform is ‘Find your Harmony,’ which brings awareness to the lack of funding in the arts programs in education – specifically children’s education.
Vásquez said arts not only does increase creativity in children, it also allows them to express themselves in many ways as well as teach them accountability.
She wants to make a big impact in the community as to how important the arts is and share her personal story.
For her talent Vásquez will perform the classical vocal of the German piece ‘Als Luise Die Briefe.’
Vásquez has also been vocally trained by a former Disney Channel star, was in a in a promo commercial for a website and has traveled to Thailand.
Miss Napa County Alyssa Vásquez
Schedule: Tuesday, swimsuit & evening wear; Wednesday, onstage question; Thursday, talent
Platform: ‘Find Your Harmony’
Talent: Vocal ‘Als Luise Die Briefe’