Redefining the Pageant World: Rocio Smith's Vision - Guide to Greater Tampa Bay
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Redefining the Pageant World: Rocio Smith’s Vision

Redefining the Pageant World: Rocio Smith’s Vision

Nuestra Reina Hillsborough Pageant Inspiring Future Latina Leaders 

In January 2023, Hillsborough hosted the inaugural Nuestra Pageant, an event celebrating the beauty, strength and resilience of migrant women in Greater Tampa Bay. The pageant, created to honor the unique experiences of the migrant community, featured an array of performances, including traditional dances, spoken word and musical pieces.  

Twenty-three Latina contestants from across the region competed for the title of Nuestra Queen, representing the spirit of the migrant community. As Founder and Director of Neustra Reina, Rocio Smith is redefining beauty and inclusivity standards in the pageant world.   

Smith wanted to provide an opportunity for young women of diverse backgrounds to be celebrated and recognized for their culture, resilience and impact on their communities. So, The Padrinos, a group of professionals who volunteer and are part of the pageant mentorship program as well as committee members, were formed.  

“We decided we wanted to create a pageant for these girls to learn all forms of communication and leadership skills through the platform of a pageant,” Smith said.  

Queenly Qualities 

Business owners play a big part in sponsoring the girls, in the traditional Quinceañera fashion.  

Each girl must earn her support by volunteering in the community, learning vital leadership skills like public speaking and communication, learning fiscal responsibility and organization. In return, the businesses help the ladies purchase dresses and items for the pageant and assist in getting the girls to rehearsals and classes from the fields. 

Smith states Nuestra Reina is unique because it empowers young women and encourages them to be agents of positive change. The pageant features a comprehensive program that includes traditional pageantry elements such as evening gowns and talent competitions. The pageant also emphasized teaching these women to new ways to communicate and build confidence.  

“Our first pageant this year featured talents from our girls like boxing, sign-language and folklore dances. The judges will evaluate the girls’ charisma, talent and virtue in a celebratory atmosphere highlighting their Latina roots and customs.” 

The pageant’s judging system allows the contestants to be judged on their personal achievements, leadership qualities and commitment to making a difference in their communities. The judges are a diverse group of professionals, including entrepreneurs, community leaders and pageant directors.   

Smith’s vision for Nuestra Reina is to create an environment where girls and young women can come together to make meaningful changes and have their unique beauty and strength recognized. She also hopes that the $2,500 prize will help a young woman stay financially connected to her education.  

See Also

“I grew up in a migrant family, traveling from state to state,” said Smith. “Although we were poor, we were happy since we had each other and our strong culture. The Hispanic and migrant community has so many cultural celebrations. However, I realized our culture never really concentrated on a young lady’s education.” 

Her passion for pageantry and commitment to inclusivity created a revolution that redefined what it means to be a pageant queen.  

Achieva Credit Union Sponsorship 

Smith, the Market President for Achieva Credit Union, is helping to further cement their presence in the community by sponsoring the pageant. 

Achieva Credit Union is proud to be a part of the Nuestra Reina Pageant and to help Rocio Smith’s mission of supporting young women. Achieva is committed to assisting young women in building their financial knowledge and gaining the skills they need to create a secure financial future. The credit union provides financial education resources and products specifically designed to meet the needs of young women, as well as free financial counseling services.   

By Deborah Holmen, M.Ed., NBCT.

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