Las Cruces, N.M. -- Competing against 16 statewide contestants, in categories including personal interview, swimsuit, evening gown and impromptu questions, former Miss Indian World (2003-04) Onawa Lacy (Navajo) nailed the title new 2006 Miss New Mexico USA on Oct. 30.
Onawa, 23, originally from Gallup, N.M., attends the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque earning a bachelor's degree majoring in English and pre-law.
Continuing on at UNM, Onawa is pursuing her second bachelor of arts degree in Native American studies.
During her reign, Onawa has chosen cultural diversity as her official platform.
Additionally, she will focus on youth related issues and cancer prevention awareness.
"This is a diverse state and we need diverse representation," Onawa said. "My culture is something I hold close to my heart. Not only do I represent New Mexico, but in a way I feel like I represent Native Americans with this title."
Creating history, Onawa is also the first Native American to win the Miss New Mexico USA title.
Although difficult to make the transition from cultural pageants to mainstream pageants, Onawa said she is ready for the challenge.
"This is a different process from the other pageants I was in," she said. "It was exciting, but it made me a little bit uneasy. I felt a little inexperienced."
The worst part, Onawa said, was going onstage in a bikini.
"That was something completely brand new for me," she said.
The State of New Mexico has not had a Miss USA since 1984 and Lacy is quietly determined to change that.
Onawa has also teamed up with Emergence Productions to manage her already hectic schedule.
First up is an official photography session and hosting duties at the Native Nations Holiday Benefit for Katrina Victims at Isleta Casino, Saturday, Dec. 17.