News news.

City boasts Miss New Mexico/U.S.A.

Kimberly Spinelli and Joseph J. Kolb
The Gallup HeraldGALLUP — Gallup boasts many distinctions. Indian jewelry capital of the world, high rate of per capita millionaires, and the home of the Inter Tribal Indian Ceremonial and Red Rock Balloon Rally. Now added to the mix is the distinction of having two New Mexico beauty queens vying for national crowns. Take that Rio Rancho and Albuquerque.

One is a teacher and the other a student who blend into their respective environments with humility.Miss New Mexico/U.S.A.

Brittany Toll, a Pre-Kindergarten teacher at Rocky View Elementary, was named Miss New Mexico in October and is excited about her upcoming competition on the road to becoming Miss U.S.A. in Las Vegas, Nev., this spring.

Toll, 24, born in Southern California was raised in Las Cruces, N.M. since fifth grade when her family there.  She subsequently earned her degree in marketing and research from New Mexico State University.  From there, Toll applied to be a teacher with Teach for America which places teachers in low income communities or communities that would not have access to “highly prepared individuals” who creatively inspire the education process.

Toll was accepted into the program, signed a two year agreement and was placed at Rocky View Elementary where she  has been teaching for a year and a half and is looking forward to her next career move which might take her out of the Gallup community.

“I’m still not sure, there are a lot of options that I have, I really would like to teach for three more years, I don’t know if I want to stay in New Mexico or explore a new location, I’d like to get my Master’s [degree], or work for Teach for America or some other non profit organization,” she said.

Prior to competing in the Miss New Mexico pageant, Toll had the self proclaimed fulfilling experience of being crowned Miss Teen New Mexico U.S.A.  in 2005 and placed in the top ten in the Miss Teen U.S.A. pageant.  Toll says she enjoyed her experience as Miss Teen New Mexico as she got to do so many wonderful things such as service work, speaking assignments, meeting a lot of people and traveling.

Toll hopes to accomplish even more by holding the title of Miss New Mexico by working with non profit organizations, public speaking and performing community service.

Toll explains that her students, though a little young to understand the complexities of what is involved with the pageant business were excited after she brought her crown and her sash to the classroom and allowed them all to try it on.  She used the experience as a training tool in her classroom to enforce the class motto which is that if you are smart, you can do anything you want and you have to work hard to be smart.

She says that she is always teaching her students that they can accomplish anything if they work hard enough and feels that she followed through by working hard to achieve the things that she has done and continues to strive hard to be a role model for her students.

“They really enjoyed trying everything on,” Toll said.

Toll, mostly a self taught beauty pageant contestant, has trained other contestants and judged other contests and feels that those experiences helped her win her crown.

The pageant begins with the interview process and then is judged on the bathing suits and evening gowns.

According to Toll, there are three separate interview processes, one is an individual interview in private with the judges, and then the two stage questions.

To non supporters of beauty pageants, Toll said that the Miss Universe, which runs the competitions, stress the importance of the interview process and that she feels that it is the most significant part of the process.

She feels that she is involved in something significant and something that can make a big difference in people’s lives with her duties as Miss New Mexico as well as her involvement within the Teach for America program.

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