At this year’s Miss USA 2019 pageant Miss New Mexico Alejandra Gonzalez, was crowned the runner-up, behind this year’s winner, Miss North Carolina Cheslie Kryst.
While placing 1st runner-up at the pageant means she came up just short of becoming Miss USA 2019, if Cheslie Kryst is unable to fulfill her duties as Miss USA for the year, the runner-up will take over the title and everything that the role entail.
With her runner-up title, she joins some pretty high-profile company. Last year’s 1st runner-up for Miss USA 2018 was Caelynn Miller-Keyes, who lost to Sarah Rose Summers. After her time with the pageant, where she represented North Carolina, Miller-Keyes competed on The Bachelor season 23, vying for the heart of former NFL player Colton Underwood. She made it all the way to hometown dates, and is now best friends with the woman Underwood chose at the end of the dramatic season.
Here’s what you need to know about Miss New Mexico Alejandra Gonzalez:
1. She Is a First-Generation Mexican-American
According to her bio on the Miss Universe website, her “parents immigrated to the United States from Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, making her a first generation American.” Though originally from South Texas, she told Silver City Sun News that she and her family moved to Las Cruces, New Mexico last summer, saying “We have a family business. I’m an accountant so we have a lot of clients who do business in south Texas, El Paso and Cuidad Juárez. So, we decided to see the market in Las Cruces.”
When asked on-stage about what issue she most wants candidates to address during the 2020 presidential election, she said that immigration is not a black-and-white issue, and spoke of her experience both as a citizen of a border state and daughter of Mexican immigrants. She said that she is her parents’ “American Dream.”
2. She Has a Masters Degree in Accounting
Alejandra, whose nickname is “Allie,” graduated from the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, and says that her parents taught her to prioritize her education while she was growing up. She uses what she learned while receiving her own education to teach a younger generation of students about the importance of financial literacy.
She is currently working towards earning her Certified Public Accounting (CPA) license. This year’s tax day happened just before she was set to travel to Reno for Miss USA pageant prep. On Instagram, she wrote “HAPPY TAX DAY GUYS! This has been such a time in my life balancing travel for appearances and work! But it all came down to TODAY! Great start to such a busy week! Now on to packing for #RenoTahoe.”
3. She Was a Fan Favorite in This Year’s Competition
Even though she did not walk away with the crown, she was a fan-favorite on social media throughout the live competition. They loved how her personality shone as she walked the runway in her bright yellow evening gown, which she chose to pay homage to the colors of her home state.
Some pointed out, however, that her chance at the Miss USA title was lost with her final answer. @LoveAdrianaM wrote “Miss New Mexico’s final answer just killed me…. it was all over the place and indirect,” including the infamous Tyra Banks “We Were All Rooting For You” gif.
4. She Is an Animal Rights Activist
Gonzalez has used her platform to fight for animal rights, a cause she is passionate about. She has several dogs herself, and even brought the two smallest ones with her when she won Miss New Mexico.
She got her Yorkie puppy, named Piper, in 2017, and Piper seems to travel with her as often as possible. She calls herself a “puppy mama” in her Instagram bio.
5. She Started Doing Pageants When She Was 20
Though she is 26 years old now, she started pageants when she was 20. She told Las Cruces Sun News “I started in Texas for Miss Texas USA,” Gonzalez said. “I joke that I collected every placement you can think of. I’ve been a non-finalist, a finalist, fourth, third, second and first runner-up — and now I finally get to go to Miss USA.”
She also reflected on how she grew up watching pageants and admiring the women she saw competing: “I had always watched Miss USA and Miss Universe with my mom but I never really thought that I would be one of the girls on TV. So, it’s been cool to picture myself being that person to someone or to some little girl.”
New Mexico and the city of Las Cruces have had a number of successful pageant girls. This year’s Miss Teen USA, Angela Nanez, was Miss New Mexico Teen.