Taos women participate in state pageant


Three Taos Valley residents - Raquel Grant, Rena Valdez and Emma Martinez - were among the young women who participated in the Miss New Mexico pageant held in Las Cruces on Jan. 25-26.

Raquel Grant of Taos is the daughter of Jerome and Debbie Grant. She is currently a junior at the University of New Mexico working toward a degree in business management. She plans to open her own fitness center "so she can stay focused on a healthy lifestyle while creating a campaign that is centered around helping other people built their confidence and maintain a healthy lifestyle as well," her mom, Debbie Grant, said. Raquel Grant is involved in Citizen Church in Albuquerque and has participated in several Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walks.

She received an award at the New Mexico Hispano Music Award for Vocal Duo Song of the Year with her sister Ashley Grant for their song release "Lo Busque" in 2019. At Taos High School, she was a member of the Taos Mariachi Band. She placed in the top 15 at the Miss New Mexico pageant.

Rena Valdez of Arroyo Seco also participated in the Miss New Mexico Teen, USA. She was Miss Teen New Mexico International 2019.

Valdez is the daughter of Cory and Stephanie Valdez. She is working on her high school equivalency diploma through the University of New Mexico. "My platform for the last year and a half has been suicide prevention and awareness and anti-bullying," she wrote.

Valdez said she is an ambassador for the Peyton Heart Project and is working to create an event for youth in the community who need a #momentofhappinessnm. She said she's also working to start a nonprofit that will focus on helping people in need of "basic necessities for everyday living."

Emma Martinez is the daughter of Guillermo Lopez and Ruth Martinez of Taos and she is a college sophomore at the University of New Mexico studying dental hygiene.

Martinez said she wants to promote bilingual skills in Spanish and English among elementary school children as important to their futures. She also likes to volunteer taking care of dogs and cats through Animal Humane New Mexico.

- Compiled by Staci Matlock

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