There she is

Julianna Erdesz

The lovely and talented Julianna Edesz is our Miss Nevada. You can see her on TLC’s Miss America: Countdown to the Crown on Friday evenings beginning Jan. 2. The actual Miss America pageant airs live from Las Vegas on Jan. 24 at 8 p.m. If you, or someone you know, is interested in competing in next year’s Miss Reno-Sparks or Miss University of Nevada, Reno pageants—or if you’d like to book Miss Nevada for an appearance—contact or call 851-2015.

You started as Miss Reno-Sparks?

I was Miss Reno-Sparks in 2003. I was also Miss University of Nevada, Reno in 2004, and I was third runner-up to Miss Nevada in 2004. And then this year, for Miss Nevada 2008, my local title is Miss Carson City. And then I won Miss Nevada.

So the event … I always thought it was Atlantic City, but they’ve moved it to Vegas now?

Yes, it used to be in Atlantic City. It was held there since it got started, but they moved it to Las Vegas in 2005. So now it’s at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas. So I’m the home state girl.

Do you feel like you’ve got some home field advantage?

I don’t really necessarily know if it’s an advantage, because, of course, the judges are going to pick whoever they feel is best, but I know that going into the whole process and being there for the whole week and doing all the events that we’ll do at Miss America. … Miss Nevada usually gets a lot of attention because we are in Nevada.

What’s the format of Miss America? You have the swimwear, and evening gown, the talent and then the Q-and-A? Is that right?

Yes, we have … one of the most important parts of the entire pageant itself is an interview with all of the judges. There’s a 10-minute interview that we do privately the day before competition actually starts. And it’s a 10-minute interview on our community service, which we call our platform, and they can ask us anything about ourselves, our platform, anything about current events—it’s basically an open forum for anything they want to ask you just to get to know you better. You have 10 minutes to show them who you are and why you would be the best candidate for that job.

What’s your platform?

My platform is engaging our at-risk youth through the arts. I was an at-risk youth and the arts helped me through a lot of things. It’s important to give back to our youth, who might not have an opportunity to have arts otherwise.

When you say you were an at-risk youth, what does that mean?

Well, at-risk youth … my father was very ill for a very long time, and so I was in charge of taking care of him while my mom worked. We also lived in an R.V. for five years, which is seen as a situation to be an at-risk youth in and be, you know, more likely to engage in activities that might not really be good for me and my future. But the arts are something that I’ve always been interested in. I’ve always been singing—since I was born, basically.

Is that your talent for the talent portion?

I’m a singer.

What are you going to sing?

I’ll be singing “One Rock ‘n’ Roll Too Many” from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Starlight Express.

Andrew Lloyd Webber?

Andrew Lloyd Webber. It’s originally done by four guys on roller skates … so it’ll be a little different version this time around.

Are you going to be rollerskating?

I will not be rollerskating [laughs]! I’m not a very good rollerskater—they would definitely not pick me for my talents in rollerskating.