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Miss Utah wins Miss Latina U.S. Pageant

August 19, 2003 -- Lydia Acuna, a Mexican-American from Utah, won the 21st annual Miss Latina U.S. pageant in this resort city, becoming the second-straight Utah delegate to walk away with the crown.

Born in Ciudad Obregon in the northern Mexican state of Sonora, the 24-year-old Acuna is an economics major at Brigham Young University. She received the crown late Saturday night from reigning Miss Latin U.S., Soraya Elynor Martinez, a Salt Lake City college student who was born in Guatemala.

Acuna said the Miss Latin U.S. pageant and other beauty contests like it presented a positive image for Latin American women living in the United States.

She beat out Latino women representing nine other states: Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island. Also invited to the pageant were two contestants not affiliated with their home states, but representing citizens of their native Nicaragua and El Salvador (news - web sites) living in America.

Acuna's win earned her the right to represent the United States in the Miss America (news - web sites) Latina pageant, which will feature women from countries across Central and South America and the Caribbean and will be held in Cancun Nov. 5 through Nov. 26.


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