The stage for the Miss America title has expanded to Lake Norman.
Sarah Portela, 24, of Charlotte beat nine others to become the first Miss Lake Norman. The UNC Charlotte graduate began competing four years ago.
She also won the talent competition, playing "Hoedown," by Aaron Copland, on the marimba. Her platform is autism awareness and education. She works as a chiropractic assistant in Charlotte.
The first Miss Lake Norman Scholarship Pageant was Feb. 20 at Mooresville High School.
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It was organized by Erica Dewey of Cornelius and her mom, Darlene Hoffman, who moved to Mooresville from Pennsylvania four years ago.
The program allows contestants to earn scholarships and promote causes.
"My daughter and I wanted to begin a Lake Norman Scholarship Program and Pageant ... because we believe in a pay-it-forward attitude," said Hoffman, who was on the Miss Pennsylvania board and is a judge for the Miss America Organization.
Dewey has competed in pageants in Pennsylvania and in the unrelated Miss North Carolina USA organization.
The Miss Lake Norman Pageant is a preliminary to Miss North Carolina and Miss America. Women ages 18-24 compete in interview, talent, evening wear and swimwear.
The Miss Lake Norman Outstanding Teen Pageant is a preliminary to Miss North Carolina Outstanding Teen and Miss America's Outstanding Teen. Girls ages 13-17 compete in interview, talent, evening wear and aerobic wear.
In the Miss Lake Norman competition, Beth Smith of Huntersville was first runner-up. The second runner-up wass Samantha McAulay of Charlotte, who also won the interview competition. Jacquelyn Vorwald of Mooresville was Miss Photogenic.
Ashtin Gill, 17, beat five others to win the Miss Lake Norman Outstanding Teen 2010 title. The Statesville junior has danced since she was 3 and competed in pageants since she was 15.
She also won the talent category with her dance routine, "My Strongest Suit," from the rock musical "Aida." Her personal platform is Reading Railroad, which helps families form a lifelong foundation in literature.
The runner-up was Logan Freeman of Gastonia; second runner-up was Emily Outen of Statesville, who won the interview. Callie Moser of Charlotte was Miss Photogenic.