The newly crowned Miss Texas Latina 2012 is Lizethe Mendoza, a junior at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico. She is majoring in International Business and Government with a minor in French. She has overcome many challenges such as bullying and credits her single mother upbringing and Latino culture for her strength and morals. Despite her busy schedule, her belief in a giving heart is reflected in her volunteer work with the University Medical Center and El Paso Children’s Hospital. She was even able to squeeze in a little time for an interview with Latinitas and tell us what makes her a great role model and why your dreams start with a good education.
How long have you been participating in pageants? I have been participating in pageants for about a year now.
What got you interested in doing pageants? I admired the former Miss New Mexico 2011, Brittany Toll. She was very active in her community. She is also a part of Teach For America organization, which is a program that immerses teachers in low income schools in hopes of giving these children a higher chance of furthering their education. Brittany is my role model and I figured if I could obtain a strong platform like hers, I could give back to my community. The idea and hope of being a positive impact is what drew my attention to the beautiful pageant world.
How has it changed/influenced your life? I believe and have learned that the human heart is at it’s very best when it is giving. I have been more involved in my community and in charities such as the March of Dimes.
What was going through your mind up until they announced the winner? Oh my goodness, what wasn’t going through my mind!? It felt like when you prepare yourself to jump in a pool of cold water. You hold your breath and brace yourself. I just remember telling myself “This is it, you tried your best, now you can only pray for God’s will.”
How does winning impact your confidence? This pageant was my first time making top. I worked really hard in all areas, especially my fitness. It feels amazing to know hard work truly does pay off.
What was the biggest challenge for you and how did you overcome it? I can’t decide whether it was answering an on stage question. I just told myself right before, “Be honest, be sincere, and mean whatever it is you say.”
What makes you proud to be Latina? Coming from a single parent home with a beautiful, hard working Latina mother and being raised with morals and with pride in my culture and heritage makes me proud of being a Latina. Latinos come to this country for a brighter future and a better education, and it makes me proud to be part of that group of Latinos.
What makes you a good role model to Latina youth? I believe I am a good role model to my generation of Latinas because I am no where near perfect. I had weight problems growing up. I was bullied all through elementary, middle school, some of high school, and even on the cheerleading team at a college level. I relate to the issues our youth faces today. I have overcome obstacles where others told me I couldn’t do something and did it anyway. I am a person with drive and compassion which I believe are key traits to be a leader. I have set the example that anyone can do absolutely anything they set their mind to.
What advice would you give to young Latinas as far as pursuing their education and their dreams? Don’t give up! School gets tough but life only gets tougher without a solid plan and a solid education. Your education is key to pursue your dreams. You can do anything, absolutely anything. The sky is NOT the limit… if it was, we wouldn’t have footsteps on the moon. If you can dream it, the possibilities are endless when you back them up with drive and determination to fulfill them.