Bass Lake native Nastasia Dodd has made a name for herself by competing in challenging races on tracks like the LoanMart Madera Speedway, progressing from slower car classes like the 4-Bangers into the high-profile Spears SRL S2 Tour Series.
As a student at Yosemite High School, she took part in teams for swimming and water polo, as well as welding to learn how to fix her vehicle.
Oh, and starting Friday, the 18-year-old racer will be competing in the Miss California Teen USA beauty pageant at Long Beach.
To many people, driving a race car and walking down a runway may seem like an odd combination.
But to Dodd, the opportunity at competing, and possibly winning the pageant is a chance for her to show young females can have varied interests outside of what is considered the “norm.”
“I think it’s important to show that hey, girls can be drivers and models too,” Dodd said. “I’ve always wanted to do modeling and pageants, and now that I’m out on my own I decided I’m going to do it.”
There are three portions to the contest that Dodd hopes to win, have an interview with the judges, then model both a bathing suit and an evening gown.
“We stand in a room with the judges for like two minutes and try to impress them,” Dodd laughed. “They ask us different questions, how we think and feel about certain things, it’s pretty interesting.”
Based on those three scores, the judges then narrow down participants to a top 20, later followed by the crowning of Miss California Teen USA.
If she wins, Dodd will then represent California at the national level of Miss Teen USA, along with a $3,000 scholarship and other prizes. Top 20 competitors are all offered scholarship opportunities as well.
Alex Kuty, executive director of the pageants, said participating in the events helps competitors build conifdence and stage presence, as well as the ability to make lifelong friends.
“To my knowledge, there have been no winners in recent years from the Mountain Area,” Kuty added. “We are excited to have Nastasia representing Bass Lake, and we hope more young women from the area will learn about the opportunity to participate and join us.”
Though she hopes to win the crown - “I’m actually really looking forward to putting it on if I win,” she said - Dodd also keeps her passion for racing alive as she attends trade school in Rancho Cucamonga for auto and diesel mechanics.
She said should she win the crown, she’d be proud to represent Bass Lake and the rest of the Mountain Area.
“It’ll be amazing if I win,” Dodd said. “It’ll be a lot of fun, even just being in the pageant itself.”
The pageant can be viewed starting 5 p.m., Dec. 5 by visiting pageantvision.com.
Details: (619) 698-4045, https://goo.gl/c1VO42.