Miss Latino America 2023: Behind the scenes

Yesenia De La Torre, Staff Writer

Elgin Community College’s Organization of Latin American Students (OLAS) is bringing back and hosting this year’s Miss Latino America. 

“Miss Latino America is an educational pageant,” said Miriam Salas, a third-year student and President of OLAS. “It does involve showing the beauty of the girls, as well as educating the audience and themselves.” 

There are eight girls competing in the pageant this year, each representing a different Latin American country. The countries that are being represented are: Mexico, Columbia, Peru, Venezuela. Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Cuba and Belize.

“Practices are going to involve learning choreography such as walking down the stage and aisle,” Salas said. “Every pageant has a question panel, the questions can include personal questions along with questions about their country.”

The event used to be under the name of Nuestra Belleza Latino until it was changed to its current name in 2019. OLAS has hosted this event since 2011.

“It is a fun and educational way to tell audience members what these countries are along with their cultures,” said Melanie Escobar-Menchaca, a second-year student and vice president of OLAS. “It’s a great way to bring the girls together.”

The winner of the pageant will win a $500 scholarship that can go to any college or university of their choosing.

“I would’ve liked to have joined something like this and be more involved in school,” Salas said. “This event is a fun way for students to be involved in.”

Alondra Nunez is one of the contestants and is representing Mexico in the event. Nunez has previous experience in a pageant and earned the title of Miss Mexico.

“It’s a big privilege to be representing my own culture, I was always raised to be a proud Hispanic,” Nunez said. “It means so much to me to be able to represent my country because I am living many of my parents’ dreams.”

OLAS will be sponsoring a founders week starting on April 10 and will end on April 14 with Miss Latino America being the final event of the week. Further information on the event is to be announced.

“It’s a lot of work,” Salas said. “But I know it’s going to be worth it in the end.”