Laela Leyva, seen here Sept. 10, was a finalist in the 2018 National American Miss Jr Teen Washington. The Stanwood Middle School 8th grader also enjoys full-contact roller derby and volunteering. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Laela Leyva, seen here Sept. 10, was a finalist in the 2018 National American Miss Jr Teen Washington. The Stanwood Middle School 8th grader also enjoys full-contact roller derby and volunteering. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Pageants, roller derby, archaeology interest Stanwood teen

Laela Leyva recently competed in a National American Miss pageant and does sports year-round.

STANWOOD — Laela Leyva, 13, is in eighth grade at Stanwood Middle School. She recently competed at the state level for the 2018 National American Miss Junior Teen Pageant, and qualified for nationals. She enjoys roller derby, wrestling and other sports.

Question: You just had a pageant competition. Can you tell me about that?

Answers: It was fun. It was a smaller group than usual … I did well. I placed in all of my optionals (talent, top model, photogenic and casual wear), except spokesmodel.

Q: How did you get into pageants?

A: I was in fourth grade. I just got an invitation, so me and my mom thought we’d check it out. I’ve been doing it since 2015.

Q: What’s the most challenging and exciting part?

A: The most nerve-wracking is the speaking, because you know everything you’re going to say and then you might mess up. The fun was modeling, doing the casual wear, showing off my personality and my outfit.

Q: You’re into a lot of other things, including roller derby.

A: Oh yeah, for five years, going on six. My derby name is bok-bok, and my number is 12.

Q: How’d you get the nickname?

A: When I first started derby, I was really skinny. You could see the bones in my legs. My parents would kind of tease me, like “bok-bok,” so I decided that would be my name.

Q: Roller derby sounds intense.

A: Since it’s a new season, it’s not as intense yet. We have some smaller girls. But last year was really intense.

Q: How do you prepare?

A: I just listen to music to hype me up. My friends and our coaches will hype us up, too. There’s a lot of anxiety. You’re shaking because you’re worried you won’t get the lead, which is how you get the points. … I’m with Seattle Derby Brats. It’s an all-girl league.

Q: What else are you involved in?

A: I do wrestling for school. I do volleyball and track. … I wanted to do something to get four season sports. I did volleyball because I liked it when I was little, and then it was either wrestling or basketball, and I’m not very good at basketball. Then I love track. I like the long jump.

Q: Have you decided what you want to do in the future?

A: I want to be an archaeologist. I’ve always been interested in digging up undiscovered remains. I want to find out who they were in their past life, what they did, what year.

Q: Do you have a favorite subject?

A: Science and band. I play the flute.

Q: What would your advice be to other students?

A: Take the knowledge that you’re given and use it for your future.

Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; kbray@heraldnet.com.

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