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Inez pageant queen seeks to earn another crown in Miss Victoria contest (Video)

By Camille Doty
July 28, 2012 at 2:28 a.m.
Updated July 30, 2012 at 2:30 a.m.

Sabrina Emiliano, 15, of Inez, gets her hair styled by her aunt's sister-in-law, Elizabeth Flores on Saturday in preparation for the Miss Victoria Pageant. Although she is no stranger to pageants, Sabrina said her usual style is basketball shorts and just a touch of eyeliner.

Winners:

• MISS VICTORIA - Bethany Garza

• JUNIOR MISS VICTORIA - McKenna Greene

• YOUNG MISS VICTORIA - Caitlin Serenil

• LITTLE MISS VICTORIA - Julianne Horner

The aroma of hairspray wafted through the living room as Sabrina Emiliano's family styled her long, dark brown curls.

The 15-year-old Inez native sat calmly in her chair while she was being pampered with salon-style treatment.

Everyone in the room looked at Sabrina with a sense of pride and awe as she transformed before their eyes.

The basketball point guard normally wears her hair in a pony tail and wears gym shorts, but, on Saturday afternoon, she was preparing to be a queen reclaiming her throne. She won the Young Miss Victoria title in 2006 and was seeking to become Junior Miss Victoria on Saturday.

For the last 10 years, Sabrina has been involved with pageants and has won four titles. She loves the lavishness of royalty.

"I want to represent Victoria, have fun with everyone, and make memories," she said.

She was among 40 contestants to participate in the 42nd Annual Miss Victoria Pageant. The competition had four age-based groups with young ladies between the ages of 4 and 20 years old.

Miss Victoria contestants were between the ages of 16 and 20 years old, Junior Miss Victoria, were between the ages of 12 and 15 years old, Young Miss Victoria contestants were between the ages of 8 and 11 years old, and Little Miss Victoria contestants were between the ages of 4 and 7 years old.

Participants were judged on their responses in an interview, the casual wear segment with their own speeches, and the formal wear portion with a final question.

Winners of each age category were crowned at the end of the evening.

Sabrina shared her first pageant memory with her family that made a lasting impression with organizers.

Pageant Director Debbie Bennett Green instructed Sabrina, when she was 5 to practice her speech for her debut.

Instead of using the actual words in practice, Green would say, "blah blah blah." When the time came for pageant hopeful Sabrina to make her platform, she mimicked Green and uttered, "blah blah blah," on the microphone.

"Miss Debbie tells that story every year," Sabrina said jokingly. The room roared with laughter.

"But it wasn't funny at the time," said Elsa Emiliano, her mother. The 42-year-old mother of three said her only daughter has gained confidence.

Emiliano continues to support Sabrina's efforts because she's learning how to interview and speak in public.

"She's going to need that for college," said the doting mother.

As the teenage queen made her way to the Victoria Fine Arts Center full of excitement and nervousness, she wasn't alone as reality set in for the contestants backstage.

"I've got a bundle of nerves but I can shake it off and do my best," said Hunter Slusher.

The 16-year-old Victoria East High School junior won the Junior Miss Victoria title in 2010 Pageant. Saturday, she was vying for Miss Victoria.

Each makeup station had eye-popping bulbs to the left and right of the mirrors. Sprayed hair sizzled around the curling irons as the young ladies prepared to take the stage.

Mothers imparted their last pearls of wisdom to the star-studded beauties with perfect French manicures.

"I'm so nervous. I just hope she has fun with it," said pageant mom, Elizabeth Terry, referring to her daughter, Shelby Terry.

As the 6-year-old Little Miss Victoria contestant prepared to make her debut. "Have fun, Honey," said Terry. "OK, mom," Shelby responded with a show-stopping smile.

Before the show began, Green and the girls recited The Lord's Prayer. As the director of 21 years exhaled deeply she said, "Jesus, be with us today."

The made up beauties were in perfect poses when the velvet curtain opened, and the crowd was in awe.

During each segment, the audience had a chance to see their bubbling personalities and learn about their dreams, aspirations and achievements.

Sabrina's speech focused on supporting her family while dealing with the unexpected death of her cousin Mike.

"I learned that, faced with tragedy, I could be that person, I could be strong," she said.

From that experience, she learned how to overcome adversity.

The audience responded with loud applause.

Although the Junior Miss Victoria title went to McKenna Greene, Sabrina was excited for the winner.

Saturday was not her first pageant and will not be her last.

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