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Tara De Alicante grew up watching the Miss America Pageant.

As long as I can remember, I would be sitting on the couch or on the floor, as close to the TV as I could, she said with a big smile on her face.

The Portland student had big dreams of being a beauty queen. Those dreams finally came true. De Alicante is the reigning Miss Portland Plus.

She s considered plus because of the size 14 dress she wears.

But De Alicante won t let the number on her tag, define how beautiful she is, both inside and out. There shouldn't be one idea, or one cookie-cutter image of what the perfect person is or what the ideal person is because everybody's ideal and everybody's perfect in their own way, she said.

Now the 27-year-old is getting ready for her biggest pageant yet The 2013 Northwest Plus America Pageant.

She hopes to inspire other women and young girls that beauty comes in every shape and size.

You don't have to be a size 3 or a size 4 to be healthy, De Alicante said. You can be a size 16, a size 18 and be just as healthy. It's all about how you take care of yourself.

You can watch her compete for the title of Miss Oregon Plus America this weekend. The big pageant is Sunday at Union High School in Camas, Washington.

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