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LAS CRUCES - Miss New Mexico Taylor Rey, a Las Crucen, reached the final rounds of the 2018 Miss America Pageant on Sunday evening.

Rey, 22, was selected as one of the final 15 pageant contestants out of more than 50 who entered. She said it's the first time in a while a New Mexico contestant has stayed in the competition that long.

"It's been almost a decade since Miss NM has been called so I'm very happy!" she said via Facebook.

Miss North Dakota Cara Mund captured the 2018 pageant title.

Rey, a vocalist, graduated from Las Cruces High School and has been attending college in Oklahoma for the past four years. After returning to New Mexico, she won the state's pageant title in June, propelling her into the national pageant that culminated with Sunday's nationally televised event.

Rey described her national pageant experience as "an amazing opportunity."

"Being called as a finalist for Miss America is a moment I'll never forget for the rest of my life," she told the Sun-News. "I also left the pageant with 50 new friends from across the nation, and I'm happy to know I'll never go to state without knowing someone!"

Rey's platform is promoting interest in the arts among youth — something she'll continue for the remainder of her tenure as the state pageant title holder.

"I still have 9 months left in my reign and I am going to make the most of them," she said.

She'll continue traveling New Mexico and making appearances at a variety of events.

More: Las Crucen to compete in Miss America pageant



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