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Yuma second-grader wears international crown
Cinderella Tot - Mikaya Roberts - 4th Alt. Charm Girl and Best Stage Personality
Cinderella Tot - Aryanna Urias - Arizona State Top 10
Cinderella Tot - Alyse Negroni - Arizona State Top 10 and Arizona State Cover Girl
Cinderella Mini Miss - McKenna Jerpseth - Arizona State Top 10
Cinderella Mini Miss - Caitlyn Jones - Best Party Dress
Cinderella Miss - Ashley Close - Best Casual Wear
Cinderella Teen - Audrey Close - Best Dramatic Talent
Cinderella Woman - Mikayla Roberts - 4th Alternate Charm Girl
Click here to view slideshow of 2012 International Cameo Girl, Alyse Negroni
Perhaps it was the big toothless grin that charmed the judges. Alyse Negroni, 7, lost a front tooth right before the biggest pageant — so far — of her life.
The Yuma second-grader was crowned the 2012 International Cameo Girl in Las Vegas, Nev., this past summer.
Alyse, the daughter of Willie and Melanie Negroni, captured the title competing against 37 girls ages 7-8 from around the world.
She received flowers, a custom Cameo Girl banner, a crown and a cash award of $850 for her scholarship fund.
This is the biggest title in the Cinderella Scholarship Program for the age category, said Yuma County Cinderella director Sahreena Munoz. She called it a “huge accomplishment” and a “big deal.”
“She competed against girls from all over the world.”
But don't confuse this pageant with “Tiaras and Toddlers.” These young contestants aren't made up with layers of makeup, elaborate hairdos and costumes.
“It's nothing like you see on TV,” pointed out Melanie Negroni, Alyse's mom. “The Cinderella program is completely different.”
To begin with, the Cinderella Scholarship Program stresses personality above looks, and organizers encourage a “natural” look at that.
Melanie noted that it has helped Alyse develop her confidence, poise and speaking abilities. “She's not afraid to be on stage or talk to people.”
On stage, the host asks contestants questions to draw them out. Alyse has been asked: If we come to your house, what would we play? Who's messier, you or brother Tyler?
Alyse started participating in the program at age 4, although she's grown up around pageants. Her mom is co-executive director of the Miss Yuma County Pageant.
In 2009, Alyse won the title of Yuma County Cinderella Tot. She's been in the same age category so she hasn't been able to compete again in the local pageant. But she has participated at the state and international levels.
“It's really fun and sometimes you can win,” Alyse said, adding that she enjoys making new friends and getting to wear different outfits. Her favorite thus far? An orange polka-dotted romper.
Contestants model two looks: casual, or what they would wear to school, and a party outfit. Again, contestants aren't expected to buy an expensive wardrobe.
Alyse had been in the Top 5 or a runner-up at the state level, but she had never won. The first year she was third runner-up, the second year, first runner-up and last year, Top 10 Cover Girl (based on a portrait).
“So this year when she won, she cried on stage. It was the sweetest thing,” Melanie said. “It was awesome. We all cried.”
Next year Alyse will once again be able to participate in the local program. She will try for the title of “Mini Miss,” where she'll be able to showcase her talent for the first time. This is the first level in which talent plays a part.
“She can't wait,” noted her mom.
Alyse has been taking guitar and singing lessons. What will she sing? “I don't know. Maybe ‘Big and Loud,'” Alyse replied thoughtfully.
“She has an agent, she can sing, dance, do gymnastics and she does beauty pageants,” Munoz said. “This little girl is going places.”
Several “charming and talented” young ladies were crowned overall winners at the local Yuma County Scholarship Program this year.
Cinderella Royalty 2011-12 includes “Cinderella Tot” Mikaya Roberts, “Cinderella Miniature Miss” McKenna Jerpseth, “Cinderella Miss” Ashley Honey Close and “Cinderella Teen” Audrey Love Close. They received flowers, a custom Cinderella banner, trophies and a Cinderella crested crown.
Along with “Tots” Alyse Negroni and Aryanna Urias, “Mini Miss” Caitlyn Jones and “Cinderella Woman” Mikayla Roberts, they represented Yuma County at the Arizona State Cinderella Scholarship Pageant held this year at the Riverside Resort and Casino in Laughlin, Nev. The theme was “Sparkle, Shine, it's Cindy time!”
“These ladies were all winners,” said Yuma director Sahreena Munoz.
She noted that the Cinderella program is a youth development, family-oriented activity that offers achievement and scholarship opportunities and training to young ladies.
“Cinderella is exciting and a fun-filled inspirational experience, especially when the participants and parents follow the rules of good sportsmanship and fair play.
“With the right attitude and goals, the Cinderella Scholarship Program can play an important role in the development of clean, wholesome ideals and principles that will last a lifetime.”
Cinderella is divided into five age divisions: Cinderella Tot (ages 3-6), Cinderella Miniature Miss (ages 7-9), Cinderella Miss (ages 10-12), Cinderella Teen (ages 13-17) and Cinderella Woman (ages 18-26).
Success of Arizona Cinderella is attributed to the “outstanding” directors who produce more than 20 local Cinderella pageants throughout the year.
“It takes a special kind of person to become a Cinderella local director,” said pageant organizers. “They are individuals with high moral values and a sincere love for people and children. When stepping into the ‘Cinderella slipper' of directorship, one does so because they want to share the magic, spirit and dreams of the Cinderella program and foster building self-esteem, confidence, poise and a sense of self-worth in our girls.”
When girls and their chaperones participate in the Cinderella program, “they become a part of our ‘Arizona Cinderella Family' and a part of the most prestigious youth development pageant of its kind. All girls who enter our pageants are truly winners. Cinderella is the ‘Cadillac' of the children's pageant industry.”
The next pageant will be held Feb. 23. For more information on how to become a Cinderella Girl, email Munoz at CrownYourCinderella@gmail.com or Cinderella co-director Ernie Munoz at YumaCinderella@aol.com.