With the Miss United States 2016 pageant kicking off tomorrow, the countdown to Miss United States 2016 closes out with Miss New Mexico, Vanessa Hernandez! Vanessa was a student and Sundancer at New Mexico State University and a part of the first competitive hip hop dance team to win Dance Worlds. As an enrolled member of the Mescalero Apache Tribe Vanessa takes pride in having a career with one of her tribes enterprises. Growing up she faced bullying for having a diverse ethnic background. Now she uses her personal experiences of overcoming adversity as fuel to her platform, Anti Bullying and Women Empowerment. Vanessa hosts fashion shows that encourage young women to “stomp their heels on bullying” and embrace the beauty of being different and the confidence to always make a [fashion] statement.
Hometown: Alamogordo, New Mexico
Current City: Alamogordo, New Mexico
Hobbies: Snowboarding, dancing, weight lifting, yoga, traveling
Favorite food: My mom’s green chili chicken enchiladas
Favorite movie: Legends of the Fall
Three words that sum you up: Vibrant, Authentic and Empathetic
Song you have on repeat right now: Just like Fire by PINK (The lyrics are so empowering!)
Dream job: I currently have a very rewarding career but if I was to wake up tomorrow to do something else it would be traveling the world with my platform.
Beauty product you can’t live without: I was recently introduced to Solar Protection Formula by my aesthetician and LOVE it!
Favorite quote: “The only disability in life is a bad attitude” -Scot Hamilton
Having a title keeps you pretty busy! What is a typical day like for you?
One of the attributes pageantry teaches is time management. To keep my sanity of balancing my full time career and title amongst other daily responsibilities I start my day off with fueling my mind, body and soul with a workout, devotional reading and a good breakfast! After working a full day my evenings vary from weight lifting, pageant prep coaching for young girls, and preparing for appearances, photoshoots and interviews for the weekend.
What has been the highlight of being Miss New Mexico US so far?
A couple weeks after I was crowned I received an email from the fifth grade teacher of the Mescalero Elementary School and she told me she had asked her students who they wanted to come speak at their Graduation Ceremony and they chose me! I was completely surprised and felt so honored. I have a huge heart for the youth in my community so to know I was inspiring them inspired me!
What are some of your best beauty secrets to looking flawless all the time?
I wouldn’t say I’m flawless all the time. With a schedule as compact as mine I tend to be short on time and resort to one of my favorite looks, a bun! Since I was a little girl I use to love to dress like my Grandma Petra and she always had a good bun and bold earrings! Simple yet classy.
What is your go-to makeup look?
I love the natural look. My days start at 5am and usually doesn’t end till 9-10 at night so I always resort to a waterproof mascara and eye liner, MAC concealer under my eyes and MAC blot powder throughout the day. I love to curl my eyelashes with the tweezer man eye lash curler and always have a lip gloss on hand!
Growing up, who was your inspiration?
Queen of Tejano Music, Selena Quintanilla! I am from a diverse ethnic background and I loved being able to relate to her upbringing and strong family values. She is Mexican-American and embraced every part of that through her music. Her innovativeness to fashion, humility, and compassion for fans is an inspiration to me as a woman today and I aspire to leave a legacy like she has.
Lady Code has a focus on anti-bullying and women empowerment. Do you have any advice for our readers who may be victims of bullying?
When I first read this blog I did a happy dance because my platform as Miss New Mexico US is Anti Bullying and Women Empowerment. I’ll share more of that below but YES I do have advice. We all have been bullied in some form or another because if you are different in any type of way you become vulnerable to being a victim of bullying. One of my favorite lines in the book I Am Malala is when her mother tells her daughter to “Hide your face— people are looking at you” and she responds “It doesn’t matter; I’m also looking at them”. Always remember that the opinion of others does not define you! The next time you find yourself the victim of being bullied consider yourself in that position for a purpose! Be the good, share love, be the reason that bully wants to change for the better! Matthew 5:43-48
Tell us about your platform:
As a young girl growing up on the Mescalero Apache Reservation I was a victim of bullying. My peers would refer to me as “white girl” and “princess” in a derogatory way because of the way I dressed and the color of my skin. When I would get home I would scratch my skin so hard till it bled hoping that it would turn brown like my mom. My mother has such a moving soul and taught me at a very young age that there is beauty in being different and to embrace who I am. Now, as a woman I want to share that! Anti-Bullying and Women Empowerment is what my platform is about. Fashion shows is my chosen activity to bring awareness to the topic of bullying and female empowerment!
Stomping our heels on bullying while making a Fashion Statement!
What can Lady Code readers do in their communities to get involved?
To get involved in your community with my platform I would just encourage you to stomp your own heels on bullying and create your own fashion statement that best represents who YOU are! By doing that you will be an encouragement to the next woman that comes your way.
To be more involved in your community with other projects I encourage you to listen to the radio, read the local newspaper or read up on your local chamber website for events. Social Media can be very helpful as well, simply posting a status asking how to get involved will blossom into philanthropic opportunities.
In your free time, what do you enjoy doing?
I’m grateful I have a family that supports my journey to Miss United States and the busy schedule it brings because when I do have free time it is dedicated to time being spent with them! Sometimes it’s only 20 minutes and my dad will come over and help me water my lawn, birthday BBQ’s on the back porch or sometimes I can collaborate shopping for the pageant with the women I love most! My mom and Aunt helped me choose my evening wear gown for Miss United States and that experience would not have been the same without them there.
What is one thing you can’t live without?
Friendship. I once had a conversation with a homeless man and apologized I wasn’t able to offer him much. He shared with me that my smile and generosity was enough and that more than anything he wishes people would just acknowledge him and wave hello. That conversation made me more aware that it is easy to take advantage of living a fortunate life and at the end of the day there is a lot of things we can live without but friendship keeps our souls alive!
What is the hardest part about competing in pageants?
Letting others speak over your thoughts. In pageantry you get told “Be yourself, be yourself, be yourself”. As generic as that sounds it is so true! It’s easy to have someone you admire influence you. But don’t let their prominent manner steer the direction of your heart in the opposite way of YOU and your dreams!
What is the best part about competing in pageants?
The voice of the crown! The moment I decided to participate in this organization it gave me the opportunity to have a more powerful and impactful voice to the young girls in my community. Choosing to no longer be on the sidelines and take the chance at vying for my state title challenged me to dig deep within myself and bring out the authenticity that I have been holding back. Thanks to USNP for the first time in my life I feel on fire!
What is the best advice you have ever received?
I have come across lots of great advice through my life but most recently I had a friend reach out to me through facebook and shared with me some sweet and impactful words,
“…..Your coronation of Miss NM is a HUGE deal and super exciting as is the journey to Miss US, but never ever forget that you are Vanessa Hernandez, you were before and will be after this is all over. You have done an amazing job of not losing sight of your heritage and culture and where you’ve come from and most importantly your faith, and I just want to encourage you to hold onto that as things get more and more hectic….I know this is totally out of left field, I’ve just been thinking about it as everyone has been referring to you as Miss New Mexico as if that’s your new name…….”
God always has impeccable timing when bringing forward the support I need to help me on this unbeaten path to Miss United States!
Keep up with Vanessa:
Facebook Fan Page: Miss New Mexico United States