Knoxville woman wins Miss Tennessee Latina, advances to national pageant

Leyanet Gonzalez of Knoxville won the Miss Tennessee Latina contest on Saturday, May 18, in Clarksville.

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Leyanet Gonzalez of Knoxville won the Miss Tennessee Latina contest on Saturday, May 18, in Clarksville.

A Knoxville woman was crowned Miss Tennessee Latina in Clarksville Saturday and now advances to compete in the Miss U.S. Latina pageant in August.

Leyanet Gonzalez, 20, will compete Aug. 18-24 for the national title in Riviera Maya, Mexico. She said the winner will then compete the following week for the title of Miss America Latina del Mundo (Miss Latin America of the World), also in Riviera Maya.

Gonzalez, originally from Cuba, is a junior at South College studying radiography with a concentration in nuclear medicine. She said she plans to go to medical school and ultimately specialize in pediatric radiology.

She said her entry into the Miss Tennessee Latina contest was a bit of a lark.

“Never in a million years did I think I was going to be in a pageant,” Gonzalez said.

She said she entered her first pageant just two weeks ago in Dalton, Ga., where she lived before coming to Knoxville, “and I was terrible. I froze and I was terrible,” she said with a laugh.

Still, she finished as runner-up and had enough confidence to enter the Miss Tennessee Latina pageant.

Although her expenses for Miss U.S. Latina are covered, Gonzalez said her goal is to get her parents – Leonel Gonzalez and Julia Pujol of Dalton - down to Riviera Maya so they can see her compete.

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