More than just a title

With a heavy heart, 2014 Miss Southeastern Crystal Gonzalez bid adieu at her farewell reception this past Tuesday in the Alumni Center. In attendance were her immediate family, grandparents, her sorority sisters and university officials who helped her over the year. Gonzalez, like many before her, represented Southeastern for a year by going to multiple school and community proceedings. Over the length of her reign, she went to 60 events and advocated Southeastern constantly.

As queen, she never wore the same outfit twice. Her color palette was black, crème, green, gold and white. Gonzalez joked that she would borrow clothes from friends and any time they saw an outfit that was one of the palette’s colors, they would immediately grab it.

“I have more green and gold clothing than I know what to do with,” said Gonzalez.

She is a native of Hammond and attended Southeastern’s Laboratory School since age five.

“I didn’t compete to be Miss Southeastern, it meant everything to me, it was about Southeastern and giving back to Southeastern and representing something that I truly love,” said Gonzalez.

After winning Miss Southeastern, she continued to compete in the Miss Louisiana Pageant in Monroe.

Each contestant had previously chosen one to five girls to be their own “Fleur de lis princess” who they then introduced during the evening gown competition. Gonzalez chose first grader Addison Owen. The two traveled and partook in activities together throughout the competition.

Competing for Miss Southeastern was not Gonzalez’s first pageant; it was on her second attempt that she attained the crown. She has been competing since she was eight years old at various festivals and pageants. She has attained first place as the Teen Baton Rouge 2011 and made it to the top 15 in Teen Louisiana USA.

Gonzalez maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout her college and high school careers. Her mother, Malissa Gonzalez, believes her daughter could be her own worst enemy at times.

“She is very goal-oriented and when a goal is set, she wants to attain it,” said Malissa Gonzalez.

Crystal would like to thank everyone who supported her, including, but not limited to, her parents and sorority sisters.

Gonzalez was given her crown by the previous Miss Southeastern 2013, Renee’ Picou, and carried on the tradition when she passed on her own crown to the next Miss Southeastern, on Nov 2.

Her parting advice to her successor is: “Do everything that you can during your year because you only have that one year to represent [Southeastern]. Do everything with love and passion and always put Southeastern first. It’s not just about the crown; you want to spread what’s good here and what Southeastern has to offer. ‘Inspire people to come to Southeastern.’”