Here she is

by Sharlene Irete

With nine costume changes, a ballet performance and a swimsuit strut, Miss Nevada Christina Keegan showed what she will bring to Las Vegas for the 2010 Miss America Pageant during a pageant preview event at St. Gall Catholic Church.

Sunday's preview allowed about 100 Carson Valley residents the chance to see what Nevada's representative will be wearing during the week-long competition. She performed a ballet en pointe to Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody," and answered questions from the audience in a format similar to what she will encounter in onstage interviews.

When asked what issue she would take to the street, Keegan said she would promote her personal platform of Strength Over Silence: Rape Education and Recovery.

"I talk about it as Miss Nevada and I will continue as Miss America," said Keegan, who is a national partner with the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network victim resource center. "There are survivors who are out there who need help. Find ways to volunteer to help in your community."

The final night of the pageant with the 15 finalists is televised 8 p.m. Jan. 30 on TLC.

Christina Keegan was crowned Miss Nevada 2009 in June. She is Nevada's candidate in the 2010 Miss America Pageant in Las Vegas.

The Gardnerville resident is a 2004 graduate of Douglas High School.

After competing for more than six years within the Miss America organization, this is her last year of eligibility. Keegan is 24 and reigning Miss Americas may not be older than 25. She was runner-up in the 2008 Miss Nevada contest as Miss Carson Valley.

Keegan graduated from the Undergraduate Women's College at Rosemont, Pa., with a bachelor of science degree in biology in 2008 and completed her first year of medical school at the University of Utah in 2009.

She took a year off school to fulfill her duties as Miss Nevada and compete in the Miss America Pageant.

The Miss America organization is not affiliated with the Miss U.S.A. or Miss Universe pageants.

According to the Miss America Web site, the organization is the world's largest provider of scholarship assistance to young women. Last year $45 million in scholarships was made available.

The first Miss America contest was in Atlantic City, N.J., in 1921.

Keegan is only the second girl from Douglas County to represent Nevada in the Miss America contest. Malia Winn from Minden was Miss Nevada in 1991.

Keegan is the only redhead in the 2010 Miss America Pageant.

The Miss America Pageant is Jan. 25-30 at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas. Only the final night of the competition with the 15 finalists is televised, but the 53 total contestants participate in preliminaries all week.

Keegan has a private interview on the first day, with her onstage question, swimsuit and talent preliminaries on each day following.

The Miss America Pageant is televised on TLC at 8 p.m. Jan. 30.


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