Miss New Mexico is the official preliminary to the Miss America pageant. The winner of Miss New Mexico represents New Mexico at the Miss America pageant for a chance to win the title of Miss America.
Miss New Mexico has four phases of competition that include: private interview, on-stage question, talent and evening gown. In order to compete for Miss New Mexico, you must live in New Mexico, be between the ages of 17 - 25 and have won a preliminary title. Additionally, to qualify you must be a female who has never married and who does not have any children.
To see a full list of preliminary titles for the Miss New Mexico pageant use the filtering options on https://www.pageantplanet.com/directory/category/pageant
There is trouble with the Miss New Mexico Scholarship Organization
for the Miss America Organization. Miss New Mexico 2016, Stephanie Chavez
, has filed a complaint with the Attorney General of New Mexico on the basis of the Organization not fulfilling its contract and paying her for her work as Miss New Mexico 2016.
The Basics of the Complaint
Chavez has held several local titles with the Miss New Mexico Scholarship Organization, such as Miss Albuquerque 2011, Miss Dona Ana 2012, Miss Albuquerque 2013, Miss Ruidoso 2014, Miss Rio Rancho 2015 and Miss Albuquerque 2016. Chavez went on to take the Miss New Mexico 2016 crown and compete at Miss America 2016 this past year.
Photo Source: Miss America Organization
The state queen claims she won $6,500 from the Miss New Mexico Scholarship Program and $3,000 from the Miss America Organization. She also claims that she is not the only contestant who has not received the scholarship money she was promised. (Read: What to Do When Promised Pageant Prizes Aren't Awarded
The Miss New Mexico Scholarship Organization State Director Greg Smith responded to Chavez's allegations:
"As a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to empowering women, scholarship money is awarded to young women who have represented the organization while in good standing and who have followed their official and notarized contracts. Stephanie Chavez has violated her signed contract multiple times since July 2016, has been notified of each infraction, has openly and repeatedly denied meeting with the organization's leadership to rectify her situation, and has made unauthorized appearances under "suspension" while wearing the official crown and sash.
Smith goes on to say:
"Stephanie applied for her scholarship money and was denied the funds because she didn't submit the proper documentation. She was asked to resubmit the correct documentation and has not submitted that specified paperwork to this date. Upon submission of the proper paperwork, she will be granted her scholarship if she qualifies."
Chavez told a local news station that she took her complaints to the Attorney General in October of 2016 and has had several meetings with the office since that time.
More Details of the Situation
According to the IRS, the last nonprofit that filed for tax-exempt status was the "Miss New Mexico Scholarship Pageant" and its nonprofit status was revoked on May 15, 2010. Several organizations with similar names have also been filed.
According to the New Mexico Secretary of State filings, the "Miss NM Scholarship Organization" is not in good standing with the state.
We got an inside look into the situation:
"Attorney General has had this for months,"
said an anonymous source. "It's probably been on their back burner and now they will have to react.
The source confirmed that Chavez has, in fact, violated her contract. This person has also verified the 501(c)(3) status issue should have been resolved earlier but that it was an issue under a different director. (Read: 3 Misconceptions Contestants Have of Pageant Directors
The source went on to say that the Attorney General has asked the Miss America Organization for discovery. Marc Angeli, Marketing Director at Miss America Organization, has been notified of the situation but has not released a statement yet.
Hopefully, the Attorney General's request for discovery can shed some light on what is happening within the Miss New Mexico Organization.