INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — For Incline resident Natasha Cook, making a run at the 2014 Miss Nevada Teen USA crown isn’t just about the glitz and glamour.
It’s more about sharing her giving nature and setting a positive example for teen girls.
“Whether I win or not, I want to be a role model,” she said, “Someone to look up to so I can draw more awareness to a cause or an organization … that draws attention to bullying, and to help girls who have confidence issues.”
Cook, 17, will represent Incline Village in the pageant on Jan. 12, 2014, at the Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall on the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, campus.
It will mark the first-ever pageant competition for the Incline High senior, who said she’s watched Miss Universe and Miss USA events for several years.
“I always looked up to them, they’re such beautiful women performing on stage,” Cook said.
On Jan. 12, Cook and as many as 40 or more Nevada teens will be judged in three categories — public interview, swimsuit and evening gown. For the latter, she hopes to impress judges by donning a gold sequin dress designed by Jovani.
As for interviews, she’s spent a lot of time practicing in front of her mother, Betsy Bishop, her sister, Brittnee Bramy, her boyfriend’s mother, Amy Carlson, and several friends.
“She’s really sweet and kind-hearted, a real down-to-earth person. She’s not fake, and she’s not mean, not at all, so it’s really cool she’s doing this,” Bramy said. “I can totally see her being someone who people look up to.
“I mean, she’s my little sister, and I feel like I even look up to her.”
Like any typical Incline kid, Cook has been skiing since age 2. She said Tahoe summers are her favorite, and she enjoys boating, wakeboarding, paddleboarding, hiking and going to the beach.
She also works out just about every day at High Altitude Fitness, and does her best to give back to the community by volunteering with the Pet Network and other organizations.
But her favorite activity is dance.
A dancer since age 4, Cook has enjoyed learning the skill over the years from Incline native Jill Mattson, and she’s performed with Forever Dance studio in Zephyr Cove and Karen Burns Productions in Reno.
If Miss Teen Nevada had a talent section, Cook said hers would easily be ballet or modern dancing.
While Cook said she’s earned plenty of support — “My mom has definitely been my biggest supporter with everything!” she exclaimed — one area that’s been a struggle is raising funds for travel, hotel and other items needed to attend next month’s pageant.
To help, the family has set up on online fundraising account through Go Fund Me. As of Wednesday, more than $1,500 of a $5,000 goal had been raised. To donate, access the site here.
The winner on Jan. 12 will be crowned by current Miss Nevada Teen USA Amanda Jenkins, of Sparks, and will represent Nevada at the 2014 Miss Teen USA competition.
No Incline Village resident has ever been crowned Miss Teen Nevada USA. Winners have typically come from Las Vegas since the pageant began in 1983.
And as for her future, Cook doesn’t have a college selected yet, but is interested in pursuing a career in nursing or fashion — or, as is the case with most high school seniors who aren’t fully sure, something completely different.