Minnesota Beauty Queen Patricia Cazalvilla Embraces Cuban American Heritage

Cuban migration to the United States began in earnest after the overthrow of the Fulgencio Batista regime by Castro-led revolutionaries in 1959. Cubans are the third-largest population of Hispanic origin living in the United States, accounting for 3.7% of the U.S. Hispanic population.

The gorgeous Patricia Cazalvilla was born in Habana, Cuba and moved to Minnesota when she was 8 years old - "English is not my first language, so that made it hard for me to get on that pageant stage from a young age. I used to feel like I didn’t belong and I wished that I didn’t speak Spanish. As I grew older, being bilingual has benefited me in many ways that I never imagined" - she said.

She competed in the Miss Minnesota Teen USA pageant in 2015 and in 2016 but she never dreamed of competing in the pageant world - "I am going to be honest, in Cuba, pageants don’t really exist, so it wasn’t an option for me from a young age. I didn’t quite start liking pageants until I was in high school. I signed up to gain confidence and I loved it so much that now it is my dream to be Miss Universe one day" - she explained.

"Competing in Miss Minnesota Teen USA was the best decision I could have made. I actually signed up to compete because I participated in a pageant in my town and I did not win, so I wanted to challenge myself to see how far I could get in a big state pageant."

Lets know a little more about the beautiful Patricia and her pageant experience through this interview!

You competed in the Miss Minnesota Teen USA Pageant. What inspired you to walk on the course of beauty pageants? What is your best memory from the experience?

That first year I competed I was not prepared at all, I had my mom do my hair and makeup, and didn’t have a coach to guide me on what to do. I didn’t even get a spray tan, so I was very pale on stage (and apparently they are a must). I was extremely nervous and did not know what to expect, but once I got there I automatically felt like I belonged. I am not sure if it was the welcoming people or my passion for walking on the stage, but it was a magical moment. I loved it so much, that the following year I got a pageant coach and I prepared mentally and physically so much that I couldn’t believe the big change it had on my life. Throughout my preparation for this pageant, I discovered my true self. You need to show the judges who you are, but before you can do that, you need to know yourself and what you stand for. I believe that the journey is what makes the moment and, in the case, pageant weekend so special. I ended up placing 4th runner up that year, and I was so satisfied with my performance, excited about the relationships I made, and grateful for my family, that I felt like I truly won that night.

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What did you expect to gain by competing in pageantry? Did you face any moment of disappointment with yourself during the pageant journey, and how did you overcome it?

Overall, most girls think that you become a more confident person from pageants, and they are right, but only if they look at it the right way and have the correct mentality when facing a "failure" in which, in this case, would be not winning the crown. Girls have to learn how to be the winner of the night, even if that means that they didn’t get the 1st place. Don’t get me wrong, not winning is disappointing, but I like to believe that everything happens for a reason and if I did not win that night, was because it wasn’t the right timing.


We’ve all seen the stereotypical portrayals of pageant contestants, a la Miss Congeniality, spreading peace, love and beauty throughout the world. How do you think you'll make a difference?

I believe that to make a difference, you don’t have to affect the whole world necessarily. One changes the world one person at a time. If you have a positive impact in one person and you change his/her life for the better, then he/she will do the same and so on.

What would you advise any young girl out there who has a dream of being a queen one day?

This may sound cliché, but follow your dreams! Never give up because when things are meant to happen, they will happen when the right timing comes. Something that motivates me to keep going and not give up is to think that Shakira's singing coach told her that she sounded like a goat when she was little and that she was never going to be a good singer, and look at where Shakira is now. I am a strong believe that hard work and determination pays off.