Monday, August 15, 2011

Miss Tennessee Latina Pageant is back

(L-R) Reigning Miss Tennessee Lilibeth Leon (2008), former Miss Tennessee Latina Mariela Flores (2007), and former Miss Tennessee Latina Janet Abeja (2006)

After a hiatus through 2009 and 2010, the Miss Tennessee Latina Pageant will be back in 2011.

Organizacion Miss America Latina, Inc. has announced Mildred Veron and Vicky Shuler of Clarksville as the exclusive state licensees to conduct the 2011 Miss Tennessee Latina Pageant, the official state preliminary to the national Miss Latina US Pageant. Veron and Shuler will also run the sister state pageant, Miss Teen Tennessee Latina.

Mildred ("Milly") Veron is a former professional dancer with more than 20 years experience in Panamanian Folkloric Ballet. She created the “Viva Panama” dance company in Clarksville. Vicky Shuler is the troupe’s coordinator and manager.

Veron's interest in the pageant traces back to the 2008 competition, when she had a daughter in the competition who placed runner-up in the pre-teen "Princesa" group (read coverage of that pageant here). Veron tells
We were so looking forward to her participating in the Teen portion the following year. You could imagine our disappointment when we found out there would not be another Tennessee Latina pageant and that the directorship was up for grabs. Ever since then we had been thinking about taking the directorship for Tennessee.
Addressing the value of having a pageant at all, Veron describes it as a haven and a support system:
I felt that there are just too many little girls losing their dreams to crimes, pregnancies, or worse. Our dedication is to empower our young Tennessee latina ladies to have a dream and strive to achieve them. 
No date or venue has been chosen yet, but entertainment is already being lined up, according to Veron:
We are planning on having local up-and-coming artists the "Gemini Twins" from Clarksville and Nashville in the opening number. They are of Puerto Rican descent who rap and sing reggeaton. Vicky Shuler's "Ballet Folklorico Viva Panama" will also perform during the show. Their dances are the original dances from Panama. There will also be a performance by teens who call themselves "Pink Aces".
The Miss and Teen Tennessee Latina competitions are open to unmarried young women of Latina or Hispanic heritage between the ages of 14-18 and 19-27. Sponsor and contestant information is available by writing to The pageant home page is 

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