Reigning Miss Southern New Mexico and Eastern alumni Hannah Giles will be competing for Miss New Mexico, USA on April 24 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Twenty-six-year-old Giles has only been competing in pageants for three years, but has already gained a lot of experience in the short amount of time having already competed in Miss Southern New Mexico three times and Miss New Mexico twice.
Giles’ reasons for competing in these competitions are deeply-rooted in a need to help others and give back. She thought that pageants would help give her a great platform to do so.
“I saw the impact that other girls had being in pageants, and people will usually listen better if you have something sparkly on your head when you have something to say,” said Giles.
Giles’ charitable acts keep her busy as she frequently travels around the state.
“I do a lot of community work-in Clovis and Roswell, really the entire bottom half of the state. I’ve made appearances, and have helped raise money for a lot of different organizations, even all the way down to Las Cruces,” said Giles.
Aside from the training to get into shape for the competitions, Giles mentioned that dealing with the stereotypes of being a pageant girl is one of the more difficult things to overcome.
“What’s really hard is overcoming the stigma of ‘oh you’re a pageant girl.’ That means you don’t want to break a nail or get your hands dirty, basically that you are girly or ditsy. Even though I do make jokes and have my moments, I have a bachelor’s degree from Eastern and have worked hard to get where I am,” said Giles.
Giles was a communications major at ENMU with an emphasis in public relations. During her time in college, she was very involved in athletics as she was a cheerleader for three years. She eventually quit cheerleading so that she could work for the football program’s offensive secretary.
Giles’ credits a lot of her success to the time she spent attending Eastern.
“All of my communication classes were really hands on, and I think that’s where I’ve learned a lot of my public speaking skills that I have to use in my pageants as well. I owe a lot to Eastern,” said Giles.
If Giles wins the Miss New Mexico crown, she will go to compete for the national title of Miss United States the last week of July. If that happens, she hopes to use the publicity from the competition to further her message of the importance of charitable service.
“I really want to get the word out there about being involved. My platform that I have always used is ‘selfless service’. I really want to encourage the youth and young adults to get out there and do something for their community. That is really what will better us in the end,” said Giles.
As important as it is to be physically fit for a competition, Giles mentioned that it is just as important from a mental aspect.
“You go into a ten minute interview with the judges before the pageant starts. The first element of the competition is a private interview, and they will ask you a wide variety of questions as simple as what your favorite color is to more complicated topics like your political views and your opinion on war,” said Giles.
When asked how pageants have personally benefitted her, Giles was able to immediately answer with a trait that has improved significantly.
“[Pageants have] made me more confident. I have always been a confident girl, but participating in pageants has taught me how to be more confident in a role model position. Little girls are looking up to you, so you have to know how set a good example for them,” said Giles.