Noelia Sarmiento, Both my parents are from Honduras, but I was born here in Maryland. I held the Title of Miss Appalachia 2018, Miss Maryland Latina, 2017 and currently competing for Miss Maryland 2018
Lelyán Velez, born in Arecibo, Puerto Rico is senior at Milford Mill Academy and will be graduating this June of 2018 with her Cosmetology license. She completed the cosmetology vo tech program at Milford Mill Academy along with numerous AP and honors courses and making history at her school with a leadership position. She will be furthering her education at Virginia Tech where she will be majoring in Biomedical Engineering and minoring in Business.
How do you manage school and pageants?
I manage my time wisely, but school always comes first while Leyana likes to prioritize and schedule her days to make things less tense and manageable without procrastinating. Priorities are what matter most.
How do pageants help to support women?
Pageants give young women a platform to express themselves which provides us with something to do other than taking part in athletic activities. Not everyone is built to be an athlete. Noelia has experienced a personal benefit in developing more confidence, better speaking skills and capturing new friendships.
Why did you choose to be a Pageant Contestant?
I chose to be a pageant contestant because I wanted to get out of my comfort zone.
Lelyana likes having a voice and being able to appoint problems. Being a role model for younger Latinas coming up, and a marker/beacon to those looking to build confidence when they feel they don't exude it. Lastly, to represent the Latin community as well.
How old were you when you started on this path?
Although I have only been doing this for a year and a few months; I have fallen in love with being in the pageant circuit.
Noelia was 18 when she first started competing in pageants.
What are you hoping to come out of being in these Pageants?
I hope to be a role model to younger girls and being a Latina; I want to be able to represent diversity within my community. Lelyana hopes to help younger latinas find themselves. When I was younger, I used to watch pageants all the time on television and never thought I'd be competing in them today until I gave it a shot.
What is your Platform?
Noelia - My Platform is called “ Women building Blocks.” Women building blocks are ways to get women back on their feet towards the right path. We focus on women in transition homes like the Frederick rescue mission.
Leylana - My platform is to bring awareness to people suffering in silence. Mental illness is very much real, and there are a lot of people out there that are going through it but are afraid to speak up. To let them know that they are not alone, and that no one will judge you for feeling the way that you do.
What would you say to those looking to explore the Pageant circuit?
Lelyana believes that the pageants are an excellent source for networking, meeting people that you would have never crossed paths. They are exuberant, entertaining and fun.
Noelia - Pageants are not what you think it might be or what the media portrays. It is a platform for incredible opportunities!
Any words of wisdom that you would like to share about being in a Pageant?
Something I always keep in mind when competing is to be myself! And NEVER, never compare yourself to any other girl! We are all different, and that’s what makes us beautiful.
Have fun when you're on stage( the judges will see right through that). And never give up! If you don’t win, that’s okay. You learned something, and you can correct it and make it better for the next time.
Lelyana says enjoy the entire process of the competition, and the preparation as much as you enjoy winning. Have fun with every aspect of the pageants because many people wish they were in your spot.
Have you experienced any embarrassment being in the pageants?
Although Leylana has not experienced any embarrassments; She believes it's about how you bounce back that will create a character and make a name for yourself.
Noelia -I tripped on stage while walking. But I owned it and kept walking.
What do you want to do with your life?
I want to be the next Miss America!, if I get the opportunity to be. But if not, I for sure am going to finish college with a double major in sociology and criminal justice and one day work for a federal agency. Work as an FBI agent and fight crime! I watch criminal Minds way too much.
Lelyana - I plan on starting a career in dentistryas a cosmetic dentist. Dentistry will allow me to make people feel beautiful, and confident when they smile. Also, help people in third world countries who don't have the privilege of having dentists available.
These two queens have opened up and shared their perspective about being a Crowed Queen. Great advise to those of you looking to step out into the pageant circuit and are too afraid to make that next step. Know that you will forge new relationships, feel more confident and overall, be you. g