One of Sierra Vista’s former residents recently earned a special title. Laura Diekema participated in her first beauty pageant and was crowned the United States of America’s Ms. Nevada (USOA Ms. Nevada) on Nov. 7.

Diekema competed against four other contestants and benefited from the support of her friends and family.

She said she hopes her win will inspire others.

“Whatever is on their heart, whatever they want to do and however they want to challenge themselves, if they work for it and they surrounded themselves with a great tribe of people who supported them, anything is possible for them,” Diekema said.

Diekema said a friend she works with at a dance studio encouraged her to enter the pageant. She enjoyed the experience.

“It’s been a really great platform to just express what I’m passionate about, which is movement and just being able to stay living a healthy lifestyle and to build confidence in yourself through movement,” Diekema said.

Her “empowerment through movement” inspires others through fitness and movement to allow people to live their best lives.

Diekema is a Sierra Vista native and graduated from Buena High School in 2005. She attended the University of Arizona, graduating in 2009 with a bachelors in art history degree along a minor in business. She has lived in Las Vegas for eight years.

Diekema considers herself a “yogi” and has been practicing yoga since 2007. She is working on obtaining her yoga teacher certification and will be conducting donation-based classes that would raise proceeds for the Veterans Yoga Project. She said the program works on helping veterans who struggle with PTSD and allows them to gain resilience through yoga movements.

She plans to compete with other state winners at the USOA national competition in February in Las Vegas.

“I decided to just take on challenges and do things to move me towards being a better person and I just decided to challenge myself with something I’ve never done before,” she said.

Diekema said it has always been a dream of hers to become a dancer.

“Once everything kind of shut down in 2020, we had a lot of time to sit and reflect and think about what we really wanted, I realized that I’ve been wanting to do this and I’ve never even started to dance,” Diekema said.

Diekema now works at the Millennium Dance Complex dance studio. She said she wanted to get out of her comfort zone by auditioning for dance teams.

“It’s just been an amazing experience and through it, I met so many amazing people,” she said.

To balance her many activities, Diekema said she would wake up at 5 a.m. every day, four hours prior to going to work, to allow enough to time to work toward her goals. This includes working out, eating a healthy breakfast and focusing on her yoga program studies.

“I own my mornings,” she said. “My mornings are mine and I do what I need to do in order to keep going.”

Diekema utilized her art history degree by working at museums in Phoenix. including the Phoenix Art Museum and Musical Instrument Museum. She worked in departments such as conservation, special events and volunteer management along with working in exhibitions in various coordinator roles.

Diekema lived out of a backpack for a year. She sold her belongings, left Phoenix and went backpacking in New Zealand and Spain.

She credits her mom for being a role model and instilling her love of traveling.

“She has this amazing story and I want to have an amazing story to tell my children, too, because I want them to look at me like I look at my mom.”