Conway is Ms. Douglas County |

Conway is Ms. Douglas County

Rob Bhatt

Talks of secession by Douglas County’s Lake Tahoe residents may have to be put on hold for a while.

Jenee Michelle Conway, the new Ms. Douglas County, lives at Lake Tahoe.

A jurisdictional breakup now could throw the pageant winner’s public appearance schedule into complete turmoil.

Conway, 21, was named Ms. Douglas County 1997 Sunday inside the Circus Maximus Theater at Caesars Tahoe.

Conway beat out four other contestants in becoming “the official hostess of Douglas County.”

Besides a $2,500 scholarship, which Conway intends to use this fall when she attends classes at San Francisco State University, Ms. Douglas County will compete in the Ms. Nevada Pageant in June.

Conway will also appear and speak at service club engagements and public functions during the next 12 months.

“I think this is a great opportunity for me to get out in my community and work with organizations of my choice,” Conway said.

Conway is a 1994 graduate of South Tahoe High School and lives in South Lake Tahoe with her parents, Mike and Renee Conway. She was eligible to compete in the pageant because her dance instruction company, Dance by Design, is based in Douglas County.

Through Dance by Design, Conway teaches and choreographs dance routines for children.

She is also an entertainment reporter for Wilderness Productions K-MTN TV, which produces television programs broadcast on local cable channels at Lake Tahoe and beyond.

Mike Conway, who owns and operates Wilderness Productions, said the television experience has helped his daughter refine her public speaking and appearance skills. His said his daughter brings home videotaped copies of just about every show to critique her own performance.

“Needless to say, I’m very proud of her,” Ms. Douglas County’s father said. “She goes for things she sets her eyes on and pursues them very vigorously.”

“I’ve always been proud of her,” added Renee Conway. “She is very self-motivated. She pretty much does everything on her own.”

Jenee Conway has her career goals set on the entertainment industry – as a model, actress or dancer.

She plans to study broadcast journalism at San Francisco State.

Her hobbies include scuba diving, snowboarding and travel.

She has been her father’s “dive buddy” for the past several years and last fall, the two fulfilled a dream by swimming with dolphins in the South Pacific, Mike Conway added.

The new Ms. Douglas County’s stage presence has been matured by appearances including dance performances in showrooms at Stateline and in Japan. She has also appeared in national commercials and competed last fall in the Fitness America qualifying pageant at the Horizon Casino Resort.

She was the first runner up in the 1995 Ms. Douglas County Pageant and won the title of Ms. Washoe County that same year, later finishing as the fourth runner up in the Ms. Nevada Pageant.

Conway’s predecessors include Malia Winn, who went on to become Ms. Nevada in 1991.

The annual contest is open to women aged 17-24 who live, work or attend school in Douglas County.

This year, eight women applied, and the field was trimmed to five after three contestants dropped out, said Fran Macias, executive director of the Ms. Douglas County Scholarship Pageant.

Conway beat out runner up Amanda Harker, who finished with the top interview score, and contestants Kai Gentle, Melodie Toth and Vavadee Stephenson.

The contestants were judged on personal interviews – which required them to speak on a randomly selected “platform topic” – a talent round and their appearance in swimsuits and evening gowns.

“Communication skills are probably the most important (criteria),” Macias said. “Ms. Douglas County is a spokesperson, not only on her platform topic but also on other issues for today’s women.”

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