The newest Miss Illinois wants to bring more Latinx representatives to the stage

CHICAGO — New Miss Illinois Angel Reyes join us as she prepares for the upcoming Miss Illinois pageant next week. She practices walks, interviews and prepares for the big day.

She’s already beating the odds. The 26-year-old is only the second Latina to be crowned Miss Illinois in the campaign’s 75-year history.

She said her main job is to bring representation back to the stage. And she did it – built a platform step by step

“It’s really important to give back to downtown Chicago’s underprivileged minorities because, honestly, that’s me and that’s where I’m from,” she said.

Reyes was born on Chicago’s South Side and grew up in the Hermosa neighborhood. Her single mother struggled to make ends meet, Reyes said.

“I’m grateful that I had a family who took us in,” she said. “We had a family who opened their homes to us, but ultimately homelessness to me felt like you didn’t have a place to come home to where you belonged. That was a very difficult time in our lives.”

But even within those struggles, she was bitten by the pageant bug early on as one contest led to another and eventually to the Miss Illinois stage.

“I tried five times before winning and that persistence just lit a fire in me to pursue my dreams and I made it,” she said.

Now little girls are in awe when they meet her. So she returns the compliments the way she does best — with a crown.

Next week, the Latina of Puerto Rican descent will represent Illinois in a competition that evolves every year.

“Now we can see single mothers competing for the title, which will open up a very big world and help kick-start the system,” she said.

Though hopeful for victory, she is grateful for the opportunity to represent Latinos in Chicago and Illinois in the nation’s largest pageant.

“My life changed overnight. It was a whirlwind experience,” she said.

To cast a ballot for Reyes in this year’s Miss USA pageant, you can visit the Miss USA website at: 2022 Miss Contestants – Miss USA. The newest Miss Illinois wants to bring more Latinx representatives to the stage

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