Beauty and the Balancing Act
Naiomy Vega-Miranda takes on school, work and beauty pageants en route to a Tri-C degree
Many college students have been in Naiomy Vega-Miranda’s shoes. For the past two years, she’s carried a full course load at Cuyahoga Community College while working up to 40 hours a week.
It’s enough to wear out even the most energetic students. But Vega-Miranda, who will graduate from Tri-C with an Associate of Arts degree this month, didn’t stop there. She didn’t stop until she was named Miss North America.
That’s because, on top of school and work, Vega-Miranda is a beauty pageant contestant — one with a short but impressive resume.
“In 2015, one of my friends wanted to do a local beauty pageant,” said Vega-Miranda, 20, of Lakewood. “She didn’t want to do it alone, so I did it along with her. I ended up liking it, so I signed up for another.”
Last year, she won an award in the Miss Heart of Ohio USA pageant. She later won the right to represent Ohio in the Miss North America pageant, winning the national title in Orlando this past June.
It takes months of preparation to compete in a beauty pageant. In addition to a rigorous exercise and diet regimen, contestants must repeatedly practice their interviewing skills, preparing for the wide range of questions they may need to answer onstage.
Vega-Miranda was a full-time student, nearly a full-time employee and involved in one of the most demanding avocations a young person could pursue. The only way she could handle it all was through self-discipline and prioritizing — and some help from her instructors at Tri-C.
“You have to make up your mind that schoolwork comes first,” Vega-Miranda said. “Before I enter in a pageant, I talk to the director and see if there is a way to balance the responsibilities of the pageant with my schoolwork. If that isn’t able to happen, I can’t do the pageant.”
She also credits Tri-C faculty for working with her and her classmates outside of normal class and office hours.
“They want you to learn the material and do well, so they go above and beyond,” she said. “One of my math professors would stay after class to help me, or create study groups outside of class time to work with us if we needed some more help. It was great to have professors willing to give you that extra attention.”
After graduating from Tri-C, Vega-Miranda will continue her studies at Cleveland State University, where she aims to earn a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Her plan is to pursue a career in human resources.
“I’ve already had an internship, and I really like the work,” she said. “I like to work with people, and that’s a skill that’s good for HR.”
As for beauty pageants, Vega-Miranda would like to continue competing, but said she might take a break as she works toward completing her college education.
“I need to focus on my schoolwork for now,” she said. “Pageants are fun, but the preparation can get kind of intense and stressful at times. It’s probably good to take a break for a few years, finish school and get my career started.”
Cuyahoga Community College will celebrate the academic achievements of more than 1,800 graduates on Dec. 18 at Fall Commencement. Check our News and Events page in the days leading up to the ceremony as we highlight members of the Class of 2018.
December 10, 2018
Erik Cassano, 216-987-3577 or firstname.lastname@example.org