Miss Latina East Hampton Aims High

Miss East Hampton, Paula Viviana Lozano of Springs, is hoping to win the crown of Miss Latina Tristate. Durell Godfrey

Three South Fork women are in the running for Miss Latina Tristate, and online voters could help send one of them to the final competition on Dec. 17.

Miss East Hampton, Paula Viviana Lozano, a 2015 graduate of East Hampton High School, won first place in the fantasy dress competition on Oct. 17 at the Space at the Westbury Theater and now has her sights set on taking the 2017 title. Last year’s title, then known as Miss Latina Long Island, was held by Miss Montauk, Roxannie Rodriguez. 

Ms. Lozano, who is known by her middle name, Viviana, lives in Springs and works at the Maidstone Hotel in East Hampton. She is studying communications at Suffolk Community College. The organizers of the competition found her through Facebook and sent her a message inviting her to take part.

“I couldn’t believe it at first, because who does this on Facebook?” she said on Friday. Still, she was interested, and after a little research proved that the contest was legitimate, she sent off head shots and information about her Latino roots. She is Colombian and moved to Springs six years ago. 

Joining her among the top three contestants as of Friday were Miss Sag Harbor, Valentina Esmerelda Sanchez, who is originally from the Dominican Republic and is studying to be a medical assistant, and Miss Huntington, Marisol Lino, who hails from El Salvador. 

Another South Fork contestant is Miss Southampton, Belkis Chamale, who is from Honduras. 

For the participants, the competition is a chance to represent their Long Island hometowns and also their countries of origin. 

Taking part in the pageant can be expensive, Ms. Lozano said, and it is time consuming. “We have practice every week. . . . We do choreography.” So on top of driving to school from East Hampton, she is also driving to practice, but if she wins, there are benefits beyond the recognition that comes with the title, among them a two-year lease on a car. Plus, Ms. Lozano said on the Miss Latina website, she believes the experience is a door to other opportunities and gives her a chance to put into practice some of what she is learning as a communications major.

Of the six women who will have a shot at the crown, one will be selected based on online votes. As of this week, fans can vote for their favorite as many times as they like at misslatinali.com.