Written by Susie Ouderkirk
Photography courtesy Miss New Mexico organization
Taylor Rey is the first Las Cruces native to hold the Title.
Las Cruces’s Taylor Rey is this year’s Miss New Mexico, representing our state in the Miss America pageant and beyond. She made us proud at the competition on September 10 in Atlantic City by making it into the top 15 contestants, and is the first Las Cruces native to hold the title.
A few short years ago, I had the opportunity to work with Taylor when we played mother and daughter in a film by Mark Medoff titled, Hatching Max. Shortly after that, I costumed Taylor in a Las Cruces Community Theatre (LCCT) production of Dames at Sea, and enjoyed seeing this classy young lady sing and dance as well.
Taylor is what you call a theater “triple threat”: she can act, dance and sing. And that’s just scratching the surface. I caught up with her when she volunteered to help with a children’s audition workshop at LCCT and she agreed to answer some questions exclusively for Neighbors magazine.
What is your official title?
Miss New Mexico, 2017
When did the Miss America journey start for you?
It began in 2012 when I entered the Miss New Mexico’s Outstanding Teen program. After I aged out of the teen program, I continued on, competing for the Miss program and now hold the title.
What was the first pageant you won?
My first local title was as Miss Las Cruces in 2013.
What were you feeling the day after you won this title?
I was a senior in high school at the time and I remember going to school the next day and all my teachers were congratulating me and I felt very famous.
What is the most special memory you have of the Miss America pageant? What was your least favorite moment from the pageant?
I think both the best part and the worst part of the week had to be the final night. From the beginning of the night, the excitement was tangible in the air and being on stage and national television as Miss America was crowned is a moment I will treasure forever. At the same time, though, it meant that my two weeks in Atlantic City were over and I had to say goodbye to my 50 new friends, very bittersweet but wonderful.
Tell us about your talent.
I sang a song called “Art is Calling for Me” by Victor Herbert. It’s a comedic piece about being a princess and a prima donna, so I was able to really ham it up. It’s also the song [Broadway star] Kristin Chenoweth sang in 1994 as Miss Oklahoma, which is where I got the idea.
How did you pick your gowns and outfits?
We had a fantastic sponsor called Shimmer Boutique in Dallas, Texas, that donated my talent and evening gowns. Some of my dresses were donated by Renee’s Bridal in Las Cruces as well. I was so fortunate to have such wonderful resources and got to live every little girl’s dream of trying on a rack of beautiful gowns!
Tell us about your Miss America platform, “Youth and the Arts.”
My platform is called P.L.A.Y—Promoting a Love of Art in Youth. As a music major and an actor myself, I have known the benefits and joy of arts education and am now an advocate for that for all students growing up in New Mexico.
What are you doing with the title over the next year?
I am constantly in motion traveling across the state making appearances and promoting my platform across the state.
When will you be in Las Cruces, and what will you be doing?
I’m not sure when exactly I will be home this year, but even though I am a representative of the entire state, Las Cruces is my home so I make scheduling appearances in town a priority and hope to be around as much as possible this year.
Who are some of your mentors and how did they influence you?
I have had several voice teachers and vocal coaches throughout my educational career and each one has taught me a valuable and different lesson. My first teacher, Nancy Ritchey, was with me from middle school until I left for college and she really taught me how to sing and interpret music. In college, my first professor was very tough on me, but he taught me how to learn how to learn. I owe all of my growth and success to the teachers who taught me.
What else would you like your neighbors to know about you?
The Miss New Mexico Organization has been a life-changing program for me; through it I have grown enormously as a leader and with my public speaking and networking abilities. (Not to mention how helpful the scholarship money has been for me in finishing my education!)
Because of this organization, I have the opportunity this year to be a mentor and a role model in my home and I could not be more grateful for the honor and the opportunity. That being said, any young women age 13-24 interested in becoming a part of the organization can find more information at our website missnewmexico.org, or send me a message directly at my official Facebook page: Miss New Mexico Taylor Rey.
855 Spruce Ave.,
Las Cruces, NM