By Valerie Bustamante
LOGOS ASSISTANT EDITOR
The new Miss San Antonio Latina, Karla Bello, is a freshman communication arts major at the University of the Incarnate Word.
Bello, who is concentrating in bilingual communication, was crowned Miss San Antonio Latina on Sept. 27, in a pageant held at St. Philip’s College.
Her crowning achievement came after five months of mentally and physically preparing herself for the competition. She last competed a year ago in the Miss Teen Latina San Antonio Pageant.
Bello, 19, decided to step back into the world of gowns and glitz to compete for the Miss San Antonio Latina title after running into the pageant’s director, Pamela Fernandez Humble, at North Star Mall.
“She actually stopped me (at the mall) one day and called my attention,” Bello said. “We started talking and she was like ‘I have a pageant I would like for you to compete in.’
“Shortly after, it took me around I would say five months to prepare for it. It takes a lot of discipline and eating well. You have to prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for the competition. I still can’t believe I won. I thought I was in a dream and when I was holding hands with my fellow (finalist) contestant we were telling each other whoever wins is going to make a great representative of all the Latinas here in San Antonio. Whenever they called my name I was shocked, but I was very excited.”
Miss San Antonio Latina is an official city preliminary competition for the Miss Texas Latina and Miss USA Latina pageants. Contestants must be considered Latina American by birth or ancestry. While they are not required to speak Spanish, they are encouraged.
“Knowing Spanish wasn’t required, but it was necessary because most of the interviews they were doing were in Spanish,” Bello said. “Some of the girls have learned and entered without knowing it.”
Although now a resident of Boerne, Bello was born in Guanajuato, Mexico. After moving to Texas at 11 years old, she said, she faced some self-difficulties of learning to adjust to a new culture and environment.
“It was very difficult to tell you the truth,” Bello said. “It was something I never thought I was going to be able to get through because those years were very hard. When I moved to Boerne it was a very different culture.”
She graduated from Boerne’s Champion High School and is involved in Hill Country Daily Bread Ministries, a regional resource center in Boerne that collaborates with churches, agencies and community members to assist people in need. The ministry prepares and delivers boxes with food, clothing, diapers, and school supplies for families.
Since she’s been crowned, Bello also visited Linton Elementary School in the Northside Independent School District, where she spoke to young girls about the importance of education.
Bello is currently prepping to compete as San Antonio’s representative in Miss Texas Latina 2017. The competition will be in San Antonio.
“I like to compete in Latina pageants because it’s my heritage and I feel that I like to represent that,” Bello said. “I am a very passionate Latina and I feel I will be able to represent all those strong independent Latinas.
“While holding the crown my goals are to inspire children all over San Antonio to continue with their education. I’m the first generation in my family to go to college and I want to let them know that it is very important to get your education. I also just want to be a role model for Latinas and show that being in pageants is not only to be a model. It’s more than that. You’re not just a model. You’re a role model.”