Miss Carson City Julianna Erdesz, 24, is hoping for a crowning moment at Friday's Miss Nevada Pageant.
It will be her third attempt at the title, competing twice before as Miss Reno. It will also be her last competition, as 24 is the cutoff age.
"I'm feeling really, really confident," she said in an interview Wednesday. "I know I'm ready for the job this time around."
She said she's worked hard on her platform to keep arts in education, and has offered free dance classes to elementary students in the region. She taught at Positive Energy Dance Studio in Carson City, and at other studios in Reno, Sparks and Fallon.
A performer herself, Erdesz said she is dismayed when the arts are cut from school budgets.
"The arts " whether it be dance, theater, music, whatever " is such a beneficial thing for kids to have," she said. "It gives them a different method of learning. To have that outlet keeps them focused and keeps them in school."
She said people don't often realize the importance of the performing arts.
"It takes dedication, hard work and it teaches teamwork," she said. "It's just as important as sports. We just wear costumes instead of jerseys."
The outgoing Miss Nevada, Caleche Manos, also represented Carson City.
"I definitely hope to keep that trend going," Erdesz said.
Erdesz graduated from the I Can Do Anything charter high school in Reno in the performing arts program. She received her bachelor's degree from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in Los Angeles.
She has performed in several area plays including playing Belle in Western Nevada Musical Theatre's production of "Beauty and the Beast," and Liesl in the "Sound of Music," at Lake Tahoe.
She plans to eventually earn a master's degree in theater from the New School University in New York, then pursue a career on Broadway.
Competing in pageants, she said, has help her achieve her academic goals.
"Miss America is the No. 1 provider of scholarships for young women," she said. "I paid for more than half of my schooling competing in the system."
Erdesz and the nine other contestants were in Carson City on Thursday, where they held a rehearsal and toured the Governor's Mansion.
The winner of Friday's state pageant will represent Nevada in the Miss America pageant on Jan. 24.
- Contact reporter Teri Vance at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1272.