“My favorite part is representing diversity. I know that might sound cheesy, but I love and respect diversity in any way shape or form. And for me, sharing that message of respect was a big moment for me. It was a challenge, because I always thought, ‘oh, Miss USU. She probably has to be American,’ and I’m not! But my friends said I should do it. They said, ‘you won Miss International! Why not? Miss USU?’ Feeling the support from not just international students, but domestic students, the LIFE group, access and diversity groups, and even the locals, I thought, ‘I can do this. I can potentially do something and make some changes in the school.’
I had people from 15 different countries on my team, dancing to my choreography or helping me with costume changes.
When you run, you have to have an initiative, and mine was to break down the stereotypes of internationals and locals that we have. And I know it won’t happen right now, but I think with the diversity cabinet working on it, Miss USU being Miss Diversity, and the international student council — we will make changes here.
I’m from the Dominican Republic, but not everything I identify with is from there. Sometimes we look at diversity as where we come from and it’s way more than that. For example, you and I are so different in so many ways, but the fact that I respect those differences and you do with me is just an amazing feeling that I want people to feel.”
“I didn’t think I was going to win. I was like, I’m doing this talent, but I had no idea what anyone else’s was; they were very secretive. I danced to ‘Single Ladies’ in heels. I was super nervous the entire time I was backstage. I told myself, ‘just remember the steps and sing along to the song, and if you mess up, just have fun with it.’ It was a lot of fun. I was like wow, I can’t believe I did that.
My goal has been to make Mr. USU more involved around campus, just because it seems like Miss USU does all the hard work, while Mr. USU just has the title. There’s been many Mr. USUs in the past who helped make things happen with their titles.
I think campus involvement in general is important, because that’s where you really find yourself and realize what you want to do. If there’s any way I can help promote that, I think it’s super important. So you’re a celebrity for a little while, and any way you can use that to help is amazing.
I would tell someone who is considering doing Mr. USU to just do it. Someone told me that life begins at the end of your comfort zone. If you just stay in the safe perimeter that you have, things will stay very predictable. It’s the moment that you get out of your comfort zone that you really experience life. You just have to get out there and have enough confidence in yourself and in your friends and family supporting you. Whether you win or lose, or if you’ve made a complete fool of yourself, at least you know that you’ve tried and that you had people who supported you the whole way.”