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Subject: Silver Springs teen receives crown at gala

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Date Posted: 02/14/05 3:02:53am

Silver Springs teen receives crown at gala

February 13, 2005

Leah Rose Robinson is congratulated by Warly and Nora Pizarro after receiving her crown at the Carson Nugget on Saturday for Miss Filipino American Association of Carson City. BRAD HORN Nevada Appeal

Leah Rose Robinson, 17, of Silver Springs, was crowned Miss Filipino American Association of Carson City and walked away with the $300 prize in a lively contest held in the Carson Nugget ballroom Saturday night.

After watching the seven contestants compete in a three-tiered contest ending with a question and answer session, the five judges were faced with the task of determining a winner among the beautiful, wide-smiling group of over-achievers.

Robinson, who graduated from high school when she was just 16-years-old, is a student at Truckee Meadows Community College.

How did she do it?

"I worked my butt off!" she laughed in a pre-contest interview.

Though this was the first pageant the teenager has ever entered, she didn't show any overt signs of nervousness - until her name was called and her number was announced as the winner.

"I was surprised!" said the arts and science major, still blinking away the disbelief in her eyes. "I was so nervous - I thought there was no way I would win," she enthused.

Dressed in a stunning pearl-white evening gown with matching gloves, Robinson was crowned by former Carson City mayor, Ray Masayko, a proud, long-time supporter of the Filipino Association, according to Oscar Canonigo, emcee of the gala.

While beauty pageants are synonymous with backstage hair-pulling, toothy cat-fights and fried-eyed stage moms with little conception of reality, the Miss Filipino American Association of Carson City pageant was more like a relaxing celebration - a pleasant wedding of both holiday and reunion. The contest was empowering to the girls involved.

"The prize isn't cheapened by some lame old bathing suit contest," said Ruben Madella, keeping his tongue firmly planted in his cheek.

It was a chance to enjoy the beauty in the young faces that, Father Donbon Deleon said in his convocation, "reflected the beauty of God."

Many of the 500 strong Filipino community came out well-dressed and ready to enjoy generous helpings of food, drink and dancing.

The first Miss Filipino American Association of Carson City, Robinson is now setting her sights on the Miss Nevada contest and the $15,000 in grants that go to the winner. From there, it could be on to Miss USA.

n Contact reporter Peter Thompson at pthompson@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1215.

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