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By Alina Croft (Instagram: lina_gail, Twitter: alina_croft)
Dariell Dobbs is a two-time titleholder for the local level of the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen Scholarship Organization. Her first title was Miss Elko’s Teen 2019, not to be confused with her current title, Miss Elko County’s Outstanding Teen 2020. Dariell has worked closely with the Elko community to spread awareness for her platform, a cause of which she advocates and raises funds.
The Allure of Pageantry
Dariell has been involved in the Cinderella Scholarship Pageant since before she could form complete sentences. She got a taste of being a titleholder and the opportunities it brought her, as well as the responsibilities. When she turned thirteen years old, she became eligible for Miss Elko’s Outstanding Teen Scholarship Program and took a chance at this different type of pageant.
“[Miss Elko’s Outstanding Teen] had caught my interest from a few different people that I was friends with for a really long time, and they were saying how great of a program it was and how much I should want to join. I was also participating in the Cinderella Scholarship Pageant, and I thought that it would be an awesome new start and it would open up so many doors for me.”
Dariell competed in February of 2019 and (spoiler alert) won her first title, but not without some struggle.
“I was really nervous when I first competed because I had no clue what I was doing.” I had heard just from previous titleholders that were from different parts of Nevada, and they were telling me what to do and how I should do everything, but I didn’t know much about the program at the time, so I was really nervous about it. I went into my first interview, and I thought I flunked it! The judges just stared at me just so seriously, and I was so scared.”
The program includes several phases of competition, a private interview with the judges, on-stage question, talent, and eveningwear. In Dariell’s first experience, the interview was held the night before the on-stage portion of the competition.
“The next day, I was stressed and worried about it, but I was like ‘It’s a new day, I’ll just restart, and hopefully they just totally forget about [the interview]. The second day went well; I was happy with how I did my talent and how I did my eveningwear. Everything went nicely. When I won, though, I was shocked, and I was excited about it as well; it was a pretty interesting two days of my life.”
What’s Going On Now?
With the COVID-19 pandemic beginning at the end of Dariell’s first reign, the future of pageants not only in Elko and Nevada but across the country became uncertain. With the beginning lockdown and restrictions, there was no way to hold a traditional competition. In Nevada, the Miss Nevada and Miss Nevada’s Outstanding Teen Board decided to appoint titles for the lockdown to end and have a state pageant, hopefully. Dariell’s new title is Miss Elko County’s Outstanding Teen 2020.
With this title, she is continuing with her platform of Teen Breast Cancer Awareness. Her platform means a lot to her because it started with a personal connection.
“When I originally started [competing], I really didn’t know what I wanted to do with a platform; I was kind of back and forth between a lot of different things. I was talking with my mom, and she was telling me how many people in my family actually had cancer, and at the time, my mom’s cousin had just been diagnosed with breast cancer.
“I was going to do breast cancer and raise awareness for it, but I felt like that was something more common, and I came up with Teen Breast Cancer Awareness. I wanted to bring awareness and make early detection key so that I could teach younger adults the signs and the symptoms and how to do a self-exam, so they know at a younger age what to look for, as well as they needed to get in for their mammograms and do their monthly exams. It truly is important to learn the signs and symptoms of breast cancer.”
Dariell has done more with her platform over the past year by speaking at limited events and on social media about the impact breast cancer can have on young adults.
“It was hard at first because a lot of people didn’t seem to care about my platform. That is until I opened up to them and was like, “look, you don’t think of this now because you just have to start getting mammograms when you turn forty, but it’s very possible to get it as a young adult. It’s really important to learn about it now.”
Dariell has also become involved with a local organization to work on her platform’s impact.
“I’m involved with Get Pink Elko County. We’re really important and raise a lot of money towards supplying mammograms. There are many events held around Elko; one that’s actually coming up is the Ride For The Racks, a poker run. I was able to be involved last year, and we raised a lot of money.”
Get Pink Elko County doesn’t only provide mammograms for women; it also provides ultrasounds for men, which is something Dariell really admires about the organization.
I (Intern Alina) was actually lucky enough to be Miss Elko 2019 to Dariell’s Miss Elko’s Outstanding Teen 2019, so she holds a special place in my heart. I’m very proud of the young woman she is and becoming, especially with the community work she does. But, you, my Anthony Around Town-er’s, don’t need to wear a crown and sash to become involved with supporting those in need. I challenge you to donate to an organization, attend a charity event (safely, of course), and learn a little about the more obscure ways diseases can impact youths.
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Until next time, we’ll see you around, Elko!