Dalia Ruvalcaba, a University of Nebraska at Omaha alumna, competed in her first beauty pageant, Miss Nebraska Latina, Jan. 11.
Ruvalcaba completed the graduate program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and received her Master of Science in 2016. She currently works as a full-time mental health therapist. It was only this year that she decided to begin her journey through the pageant circuit.
“I have always been intrigued by pageants but never went forth in applying,” Ruvalcaba said. “When I heard about the Miss Nebraska Latina organization, I learned that they provide you with the training to be ready for the pageant. I thought it was a great opportunity to learn something new and step out of my comfort zone, while also having the chance to represent my culture.”
Ruvalcaba began preparing for the pageant in August. Each contestant has the opportunity to listen to speakers discuss nutrition, public speaking, modeling classes and interviews. The hopeful participants met almost every weekend leading up to the competition and left with new knowledge on ways to stand out.
Although this is only the 2nd annual Miss Nebraska Latina, the national organization, Miss U.S. Latina has been around since 1983. Ruvalcaba took her first steps on the stage and didn’t give stage fright a second thought.
“I do get nervous and have butterflies but I love performing,” Ruvalcaba said. “I used to do dance for a few years on and off which helped me calm the stage fright.
Ruvalcaba competed against five other women for the title and walked away from her very first pageant as first runner-up.
“I loved the experience and the bond I made with the girls and team,” Ruvalcaba said. “I definitely am open to trying other pageant opportunities that come up.”
Ruvalcaba plans to obtain her independent license as a mental health therapist this year and hopes to return to school to get a doctorate in psychology.