Diamonds are one Gardnerville girl's best friend.
Stella Baldauskas, a 2002 Douglas High School graduate, is a Marilyn Monroe impersonator. She poses as the classic bombshell at the second Carson Advocates for Cancer Care's USO Dinner Dance Party from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. June 7 at the Carson City Airport.
Baldauskas' imitations began when she dressed as Monroe for a Halloween costume party. At the celebration, someone asked her sing Monroe's famous rendition of "Happy Birthday."
Baldauska began appearing as the star at birthday parties and car shows.
"I always thought (Monroe) was beautiful, but now I have so much more admiration for her," Baldauskas said.
She said she carefully studies Monroe's films before she goes to each job. She owns most of her movies and collects Monroe compact discs, books and photographs.
"'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes' is my favorite movie because I love her character," she said. "She is easy to watch and does an excellent job. The movie is also what got her a star in the (Graumann's) Chinese Theater. I visited her star, and my hands fit perfectly."
She said her Monroe fascination probably stemmed from her love of acting. Baldauskas acted in many plays during high school and in Carson community theater. She is a theater student at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and hopes to become an actress in the movies or on Broadway.
"I haven't had anything else grab me the way acting has," Baldauskas said. "I try to imagine something else, but it seems impossible."
At the USO ball, guests can take photos with Baldauskas, and she will sing some of her favorite Monroe songs. In addition to Baldauskas' performance, there will be professional dancers, a band playing big-band music and a full dinner.
Proceeds will go to the Carson Advocates for Cancer Care, a nonprofit organization that gives financial assistance to nearly 100 local cancer patients a month, said Jon Coats, advocates executive director.
"We help people pay their doctor bills so their treatment is not interrupted," he said. Delays in treatment shorten patients' life spans so the advocates pay the doctor directly to help the patients stay stabilized, he said.
So far, Coats said they have 200 tickets available.
"Without the support of local residents, this benefit could not take place," he said.
IF YOU GO
What: USO Dinner Dance Party to benefit Carson Advocates of Cancer Care
When: 5-10 p.m. June 7
Where: Carson City Airport, Buehn-American Warbirds hangar
Cost: $25. Pictures with the Marilyn Monroe impersonator cost $5.
Tickets at Marlo's Fine Wines, Mike's Pharmacy, Carson Photo or Scolari's pharmacy in Gardnerville.