The MidSouth was represented beautifully, but Miss Utah was awarded the title of Miss Latina USA at coronation ceremonies Sunday in Punta Cana, in the Dominican Republic.
Marice Morales, representing the state of Utah, was crowned Miss Latina USA, while the MidSouth was in the Caribbean spotlight when Octavia Reynolds of Missouri was named a semi-finalist.
Final results: Miss Utah: Marice Morales winner. 1st runner-up: US Dominican Republic Raquel Quesada, 2nd: Louisiana Jessica Gonzalez, 3rd: Illinois Vanessa Cruz, 4th: California Cindy Salaues. Semifinalists included: Indiana Glenis Zapata, US Mexico Cristina Navarrete, Rhode Island Rosa Ramirez, Florida Lissette Gratereaux and Missouri Octavia Reynolds.
“It was really exciting to be there,” said 21-year old Mayra Chavez of Tulsa, the reigning Miss Latina Oklahoma. “I was so proud to represent Oklahoma and especially, Tulsa.”
Ms Chavez is a ten-year resident of the US and works as a licensed cosmetologist at a Tulsa salon.
Representing New Mexico was Cristina Navarrete. Carolina Valdizon of Rogers, Arkansas took the stage on behalf of the Natural State as Miss Latina Arkansas.
The competition was held this year at the Taino Theater in the Barceló Resort Hotel in Punta Cana, on the eastern coast of the Dominican Republic. Contestants arrived for registration beginning May 22nd, and the finals and coronation were held on Sunday, May 28th.
1983 marked the beginning of the US participation in the international pageant, when it was called the Miss Latin America Pageant. The contestants represent the estimated 45-million Hispanics now living in the United States.