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When Fender launched the Player Series in 2018, aspiring players and artists had the opportunity to take their gear to the next level with the Fender Upgrade Contest.

Those who entered could have won $5,000 in Fender gear, including guitars and basses from the new Fender Player Series. All you had to do to is upload a photo, video or other type of art showing why you or your band deserved an upgrade to Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #FenderUpgradeContest.

After thousands of submissions, the winner turned out to be Los Angeles' Paulina Ruiz, who makes music under the name Beverly Crusher with her friend, Alyce Saad. Ruiz uploaded a video of the duo playing an original song.

As such, Beverly Crusher was able to bolster their collection with a new instruments that are sure to elicit even more creativity from this talented pair.

In light of Ruiz's inspiring Fender Upgrade Contest submission, caught up with her to ask about her musical background. How did you get started playing music?

Ruiz: "I started playing guitar just because I loved music. My first job was at a coffee shop, and when I got my first paycheck, I bought an acoustic guitar from this little music shop that had classes for children. It was one of three acoustic guitars they had on the wall and it was like $60.

"That paycheck was only about $150, but I had to have that guitar. I knew what I wanted." Did you come from a musical family?

Ruiz: "My family on my mom’s side all tried to be musicians and didn’t make it, so I was kind of pushed to other activities, like sports and things like that. But somehow my brother and I became music enthusiasts, and now he’s in a band and I’m in a band. You couldn’t keep the music from us, and we had to figure it out on our own." What challenges you about the guitar?

Ruiz: "The hardest thing about playing guitar is trying something that you don’t do every day. You can get into habits of playing the same things all the time, but you have to challenge yourself. Repetition is good for improvement, but it can also be bad for improvement." Why did you enter the Fender Upgrade Contest?

Ruiz: "I follow Fender very closely on social media, so I saw the contest and just thought I’d send something in. We must have recorded the video right before the contest, and just thought, ‘What the heck?’ ... not to mention, I really could have used some new stuff." What was your reaction when you won?

Ruiz: "You enter these contests and don’t think anything is going to come of it, and I thought it was a joke when I got the confirmation email. I was shocked.

"It’s a nice affirmation, though. Maybe we’re not totally crazy. The universe selected us and gave us this upgrade and said, ‘You’re not allowed to stop!’"

Shop the entire Player Series here and stay tuned to Fender's official social media accounts for more contests.

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