By Braden Clark
Miss Diversity, Francia Solis Gil, was crowned Miss USU Wednesday night on Twitter and live in the Taggart Student Center’s ballroom. Solis Gil took home the overall competition, but also collected the most votes over the contests Instagram page.
“It’s time for us all to realize that we have so much diversity on this campus,” Solis Gil said. “I think that the diverse students here at USU really worked hard to see that they were represented well in the contest.”
Solis Gil, originally from de los Caballeros, Santiago, of the Dominican Republic, is studying French and Spanish at Utah State University. Solis Gil is fluent in French, Spanish, English and Portuguese, and before her time at Utah State she studied at the Technology University of Santiago.
Solis Gil had a commanding lead on the social media side of the competition with a total of 1,134 likes on her picture. Miss Education, Jessie Howard, finished second place in likes on Instagram with 882 on her picture. Since Solis Gil took home the overall crown, Howard was given the “People’s Choice” award for having the most likes on her picture.
“It’s really great to have Francia as Miss USU,” said Luis Armenta, Utah State University Student Association’s diversity vice president. “I think a lot of the diverse students on this campus really appreciated seeing her recognized tonight, and the student body as a whole seemed to be really excited when she was crowned Miss USU.”
Solis Gil had a large fan base in the audience, but any doubters were quickly swayed during her talent section of the competition.
Solis Gil performed a series of different dance routines from different cultures across the world, and also had people hold up their countries flag while they sat in the audience.
“I was honored to be a part of it all,” said Michael Scott Peters, who performed in Solis Gil’s dance routine. “When she asked me to join in I was somewhat confused, because I’m just a white guy from West Jordan, Utah, but she made it clear that everyone is diverse in their own way. I had a lot fun, but the night was really all about Francia.”
Solis Gil ended her dance routine to a standing ovation from the crowd as she dropped to a complete right-leg split, and Twitter instantly blew up.
“Francia just rocked USU when she dropped into the splits at the end of her talent,” said Tanner Field, a student at Utah State, over Twitter.
“I see you Miss Diversity. I see you,” said Chris Glaittli, the Utah State University Student Associations assistant marketing director, over Twitter.
Along with Solis Gil’s talent, she dedicated her night to honor all the diverse cultures on the Utah State campus, and with her formal attire and question she started to get emotional with her answer.
“We have so many amazing cultures on this campus, and most times we don’t take time actually sit back and realize this opportunity,” Solis Gil said. “I love USU, and I’m so thankful for all of the students that came out to support all of us in this pageant. It truly was remarkable.”
As the night ended and votes were tallied, and Miss CHaSS, Felicia Gallegos, was named second runner-up and first runner-up was given to Miss CAAS, Heather Lieber. Finally, Solis Gil was announced as Miss USU, and the ballroom erupted into cheers.
“I want to thank all of the students at Utah State, my friends and my family for helping this week, and supporting me through all these years. Go Aggies,” Solis Gil said.