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Monday, August 19, 2013

UNCP’s Miss Latina North Carolina to compete for world title

Kristina A. Sanchez, a senior at UNC Pembroke, was named Miss Latina North Carolina on June 12. She will compete in the U.S. competition during the week of August 18, and ultimately, for the world title of Miss Del Mundo.

Kristina SanchezFrom Fayetteville, N.C., Sanchez’ mother is from Panama and her father from Puerto Rico. In participating in the pageat, she had a tough decision to make because classes have already started in Pembroke while she will be in Cancun, Mexico.

“The Miss Latina U.S. pageant is a week-long competition, and I’ve talked with my professors,” she said. “I did some coursework the week before school started, and I will remain in contact with my professors while I’m away.”

Sanchez explained that the pageant is both a cultural and beauty competition. Sanchez fits both roles well.

“I’m prideful of where my parents are from,” she said. “I am very aware of my heritage and think about it all the time.”

Growing up in a Latin household exposed Sanchez to the language and culture. “Spanish and English went hand-in-hand in our home,” he laughed. “It was chaotic at times. My mother spoke Spanish, and my father tried to speak more English.”

If she is successful in the Miss U.S. competition, Sanchez will stay a second week to compete for the Miss Del Mundo title. For that pageant, there is a performance requirement.

“I will do a cultural dance from Panama,” Sanchez said. “I used to dance when I was young at events like the Dogwood Festival in Fayetteville.”

Sanchez describes herself as a typical college student in most ways, but her Latin influence is never far from her.

“I like music, Facebook, Instagram and things like that,” she said. “My favorite food is Paella, a rice and seafood dish that my mom makes. I love to cook too, but I haven’t learned all my mother’s recipes yet. She is a really good cook.”

Sanchez said she decided to double-major in Spanish along with biology to gain mastery over her second language. She also studied abroad in Ecuador in a language intensive program.

Sanchez is a serious student. She would like to become a pediatrician, and this summer she is participated in UNC-Chapel Hill’s prestigious Medical Education Development Program.

“I will probably do some post-baccalaureate work or get a master’s degree before applying to medical school,” she said.

For now, she is making last minute preparations for the competition. There are hair stylist and manicure appointments. She had a photo session earlier in the week.

“I’m very excited, and it’s a great honor to represent North Carolina,” she said. “As Miss Latina North Carolina, I will be busy making appearances and hosting different events.”

Any jitters? “This week I was on the nervous side, but now I’m good,” Sanchez said. “Everything is coming together, although I am not used to all this glamour.”

In two weeks, Krista Sanchez may be Miss Del Mundo, and her weekends will be filled with appearances in places like, New York, Chicago and Atlanta. But during the week, she will be a hard working UNCP student with a work-study job to help pay the bills.

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