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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

My Journey to the Crown

Miss New Mexico World America 2015

As I sit down to write this post, I keep looking over at my new crown and sash while thinking to myself, "Is this really happening?” Sunday night was surreal.  It still hasn’t fully hit me.  I have been competing across the state of New Mexico for OVER SEVEN YEARS in hopes of one day becoming an ambassador of this beautiful state I am lucky enough to call home.   I can't tell you how many times I have dreamed of hearing, "And our new Miss New Mexico is...." followed by my name.... and finally, last night that dream became a reality.

Here's a video of my crowning moment! I get chills every time I watch it!

Although my fairytale is about to catapult, my journey to the crown wasn't all glitz and glam.  In fact, it was anything but easy.  I started competing in the Teen division when I was 14 years old.  I placed in the top 10 my first year, top 5 my second year, and was first runner up the last year I was eligible to compete in teen.  I took a year off, then went on to compete in the Miss division, placing in the top 5 twice and top 3 once.  I have enjoyed every minute of my journey, but I have had to WORK... and work HARD at that.  Throughout my years of competing there have been countless tears, sweat, smiles, late nights, early mornings, ups, downs, hours of preparing, mock interviews, modeling practices, meal prepping, and more.  Did I ever ask myself, "why am I doing this?!"  Heck yes, I did. However, deep inside I always knew that I was placed on this earth to inspire and give back to others.  I knew that I was meant to do this on a bigger scale.  I knew I wanted to leave behind a legacy.  I always thought that being a titleholder would provide a way for me to do this, but it wasn't until recently that I realized I didn't NEED a crown.  I was already doing everything a titleholder would do!  I started a successful website that has a following domestically and internationally, I have an official position with a charity that I LOVE (Special Spaces) as well as being a volunteer for other charities. Moreover,I landed a spokes model job with one of the largest retail stores in the state. I was part of a national marketing campaign for a mall as well as being in a Honda Commercial-- all while working in Real Estate, finishing up my marketing degree, and becoming a licensed yoga instructor!

Competing in pageants has made me tap into strengths that I never knew I had.  I have had to grow and get to know myself intimately so that I would be 100% confident about my passion and my purpose.  Every year when I didn't walk away with the title, I grew.  I worked harder, and I never stopped working towards becoming the best version of myself I could possibly be.  As I write this post, I feel grateful that I didn't win all of those other years, because I don't know if I would have appreciated the title as much as I do right now.  My own unique journey to the crown is why I can confidently say that I am going to be a great Miss New Mexico World America 2015.  I am going to cherish, embrace, and soak up every single minute of this new journey I was blessed with last night.  I am so READY to be your Miss New Mexico World America and give back to my state!!!!

This weekend I was also honored with the overall evening gown award, the most photogenic award, and I was the swimsuit winner in my division!

There are some major thank you's in order.  I really don't know how I am going to get through this so bear with me.  I could go on and on and on and it STILL wouldn't feel like enough.  However, I'll try and keep my thank you's short and sweet.

First I want to thank my Savior, Jesus Christ for trusting me with this huge responsibility.  I am the woman I am because His energy feeds my soul.  I am thankful for the opportunity to touch and inspire people with this new "microphone" I have been given.  I thank my King for the blessing of His favor upon my life.

To my parents, Ben and Anita:  Thank for always believing that I am capable of accomplishing anything and everything.  I hope you both know that I realize just how much you have sacrificed for me.  Without you both of you I would be nowhere near where I am now.  Thank for giving me the strength to stand up for what I believe in, to go after my dreams, and work hard towards my goals.  There aren't enough words to fully express my appreciation.  You two are the most invaluable gifts I have ever had and will have.  Thank you for your unconditional love, I am proud to be your daughter.  ... We did it!!!!

To my coach, Michelle Velarde: You will always be more than a coach to me... you are family.  Thank for pushing me to be my very best but never asking me to be anyone I'm not.  I attribute so much of who I am today to you.  You are one heck of a coach and I am so lucky to be one of the very few who get to work with you.

To the Riglers: Thank you supporting me year after year and after year!  I will never forget as long as I live that you guys went to watch every pageant.  I can't put into words how much it means to me that you guys never gave up on me! I am lucky to call you family.

To my boyfriend, Logan:  Goodness, I love you!  From the very beginning you have been so supportive and understanding.  Thank you for keeping me sane, cheering me on, encouraging me, and for occasionally (ok maybe more than occasionally) pigging out with me!  I have never met anyone like you and I am so happy we get to do life together!  There is no one else I would rather have by my side... God knew exactly what He was doing and I will forever be thankful!

To the Senoski and Bennett Family:  Thank you for welcoming me into your family and supporting me as one of your own!!! I really can't imagine my life without you all.  Thank you for all laughs, smiles, memories, and yummy food!!! Love you all!

To my makeup artist, Amanda Castro: Thank for always making me feel and look so beautiful! You are the best in the biz!  I am always so amazed by all of your work!  You have played such an important part in my life not only by doing my make up for all my big events but as my friend! You inspire me to become a better person, Amanda! I will tell anyone that you are the best person I know and have the sweetest heart.  Love you!

To all of my friends:  I seriously have the best friends in the entire world.  Thank you all so much for always texting, calling, and coming out to watch and support me.  I can't tell you all how much I love you! Kristen, Cherise Amberlyn, Shelby, Amanda, Natalie, and Bianca... you all have never stopped supporting me and I can't tell how much I will always cherish that.  You all are some of the most amazing individuals and I am proud to be your friend.

To ALL of my family:  Thank you for your continued support, love, and generosity.  Love you all to the moon and back!

And more special thank you's to:
Albuquerque Florist
Jorge Esteban with Pageant Smart 
Coldwell Banker Legacy
Parts Plus of New Mexico
Raybestos Brakes
Wix Filters
Wilmar Tools
Cross Fire Fitness
i-Lash Factory
Chical Haystack
Legacy Mortgage
Cornali Orthodontics
Benizo Photography
Ella Blu Boutique
The Mix Salon
Makeup by Amanda Castro
Affinia Group
MP2 Handyman
Leroy Sanchez
Dave & Britana
Cathy Rankin
Jean Love
Marilyn Barron
Mom & Dad
Michelle Velarde
The Rigler Family
The Senoski Family
Mariah Trujillo
Kristen Wood
The Strong Family
The Bennett Family
Sisto Abeyta
Debbie Marquez
Alanna Garcia
Shawna Bennett
Jan DeMaggio
Jonathan & Natasha Chisdes
Mike & Carol Covino
Cassandra Hess
Vicky Horton
Jessica & Jason Delamora
Gladys Colon

I've said this before and  I will say it again, it takes a TEAM to get through a pageant and I wouldn't have won the title without each and everyone of you! Thank you to everyone who has sent a text, message, called, and supported me in anyway! Words cannot express how thankful I am! 

With Love, 
Ashley Mora 
Miss New Mexico World 2015 

Follow my journey on my new Instagram account @MissNewMexicoWorld2015 

p.s. Here's a little slide show of more pictures from the crowning!