Alyssa Marie Juliano, 5, of Rio Rancho, poses with her crown, trophy and flowers after winning the Miss Petite Zia title in the Miss New Mexico Volunteer pageant Feb. 6 in Artesia. Courtesy photo.

A Rio Rancho 5-year-old captured a state crown in a Miss New Mexico Volunteer pageant earlier this month.

Alyssa Marie Juliano was named Miss Petite Zia as one of five contestants in her age division during the pageant Feb. 6 in Artesia.

“My favorite part was that I won,” Alyssa said. “And the talent.”

She performed ballet for the talent portion, as well as giving an interview with an introduction she created, said her mother, Stefanie Juliano. Contestants also had the option of taking part in photogenic and ad sales portions of the pageant, according to a news release.

The 3- to 13-year-olds met Miss Volunteer Tennessee Amelia Collins and were introduced on stage by contestants who were 14 and older, according to the release. The girls younger than 14 don’t have a national competition but can participate in Miss Volunteer events throughout the year.

Alyssa’s mother said the Miss Volunteer America pageants are popular in other states, but the system’s first New Mexico event was the one in Artesia.

Alyssa stays busy on stages. Stefanie said she would sign a contract for Alyssa to start acting next week, and her daughter has already begun modeling.

“She seems to really like it,” Stefanie said.

Alyssa has also participated in one Cinderella International Scholarship pageant and is set to vie for the state title in her age group in June.

The Julianos learned about the Miss Volunteer pageant from an acquaintance. Uncomfortable with the idea of her 5-year-old wearing makeup and tanning, Stefanie learned young Miss Volunteer contestants keep their appearance natural and asked Alyssa is she wanted to try the pageant.

“Any day,” Alyssa said.

Stefanie said the Miss Volunteer system stresses scholarship, education, responsibility, volunteerism and empowerment. The youngest girls aren’t required to do volunteer work, but the older ones must volunteer and can earn scholarships, she said.

Alyssa could use scholarship money when she’s older, as she wants to be a pediatric dentist when she grows up. She said she likes going to the dentist because she likes clean teeth.