Carson City girl wins state Cinderella Girl title

The night 10-year-old Briana Neber won the Nevada State Cinderella Girl pageant in Las Vegas, she slept with her victory robe on her bed.

The next day, she wore her crown on the flight home.

"I was so excited," explained the Mini Miss winner.

Briana had competed for the title the two previous years, finishing as second and third runner-up.

She credits her win to improving her talent in a tap-dance routine.

"I worked on getting my talent more entertaining," she said. "I had a great costume. It was leopard costume with a big hairpiece and fishnets. And I loved the choreography."

This was Briana's last year in the Mini Miss division before she turns 11 and has to compete at the Miss level. The Cinderella pageant hosts competitions for girls up to college age.

"I see her continuing this," said Stephanie Neber, Briana's mother. "As long as I keep seeing her little spirit want to do it, I'm going to keep supporting her."

The two practice for the pageants by rehearsing possible interview questions while driving. In stores, Neber sends Briana to ask the clerks questions.

"It teaches her how to be comfortable around adults she doesn't know, how to look them in the eye when she speaks to them," Neber said.

Briana began competing in pageants four years ago and has been happy with her decision since.

"I like to meet new friends and perform on stage," she said. "I learn how to be a lady."

Her mother likes the changes she's seen in her daughter.

"She's gained a lot of poise and self-confidence," Neber said.

And it could help pay for college. Thousands of dollars are given to winners for college scholarships each year.

Four weeks before this year's competition, Briana broke her arm while playing tackle football at Jacks Valley Elementary School.

Reluctantly, she had to compete with a splint.

"It was a real lesson to her in inner beauty," Neber said. "It's not all what they see on the outside that counts, it's what they see on the inside."

Next weekend, Briana will return to Las Vegas to dance at a national competition with the Western Nevada Performing Arts group.

Two weeks later, she will compete in the international Cinderella pageant.

In September, she will begin a tour 20 cities and towns throughout the state to raise awareness of and increase participation in the pageant.

She moved with her parents and two teenage brothers to Carson City recently and will begin fifth grade at Bordewich-Bray Elementary School in the fall.


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