Connecticut Town Expands Latina Beauty Pageant to Include Boys

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Who says girls get to have all the fun?

Last year's Miss Latina Pageant in Connecticut featured gussied up toddlers (Miss Tiny Latina) and teenage girls (Miss Reina Latina), but this year's pageant will have a very special addition: boys! 

Yep, men are now allowed to participate in the beauty pageant. The New Bedford, Conn. event was such a success last year, the organizer -- The Puerto Rican and Latin American Arts and Culture Committee -- decided to include los muchachos in this year's festivities. The pageant is officially titled the Mr. & Miss Latino/a King and Queen Pageant New Bedford 2014

"We want to break that stigma that it's only 'Miss Latina,'" said committee president Angie Vargas. She told South Coast Times that after having escorted the contestants down the runway last year, a number of boys spoke up about wanting to participate to become Mr. Latino.

The pageant is designed to help boys and girls embrace their culture, gain self-confidence, and celebrate their Latino identity. 

Eileen Vargas, whose daughter, Emily Guzman, was a winner last year, pointed out that the pageant asks participants to speak in Spanish -- even if English is their primary language.

"At the pageant, we can learn more about our culture, the cultures of different countries. Because, often times, it's easy to feel alone [in the U.S.]," she said. "It makes you feel like you're at home."

The pageant takes place on June 21, and auditions begin Wednesday, April 2. Participants must live in New Bedford and have at least one parent or grandparent of Latino descent. Get more details on participation

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Cristina Arreola, Editorial Assistant

Originally from El Paso, Texas, Cristina Mari Arreola earned her degree at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University before moving to BrooklynNew York. In her downtime, you can usually find her scouring the city for the most authentic Mexican food (still looking...), scaring herself silly watching horror movies, or baking her favorite sweets. You can follow her on Twitter at @c_arreola

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