Loyola School of Communication alumna wins the Miss Mexico pageant and moves on to represent her country at Miss Universe 2015.
Loyola alumna Wendolly Esparza was crowned Miss Mexico on Oct. 25 and is expected to appear in the Miss Universe competition next year.
Esparza, who went by Wendy during her time at the university, graduated from Loyola in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and minors in Spanish and Latin American studies, according to her LinkedIn profile.
Though now a pageant queen, Esparza’s college experience did not involve beauty pageants or contests. While at Loyola, she was a student ambassador and participated in Studio 51 News, the Latin American Student Organization and alternative break immersions.
Esparza was also a member of Loyola’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) and Chicago’s chapter of the National Association for Hispanic Journalists.
Beth Konrad, a professor at Loyola’s School of Communication who is also director of the journalism program, taught Esparza during her time here.
“She could write, she could interview, she looked great on air, she was poised, she worked at it, she rehearsed, she knew what she was saying so she had that built-in confidence and she had a look that was really very, very appealing to any viewer. She also knew how to work the camera,” said Konrad.
Alumni Kaitlin McMurry and Crystin Immel graduated with Esparza in 2013 and the three were in Konrad’s Studio 51 class together. Both recalled Esparza’s talent and work ethic.
“I always thought that she was really good. She was always the person who didn’t realize how good she really was. People in our class were always saying, ‘Wendy, you’re going to go so far,’ and she was always just so modest,” said McMurry, now a reporter with The Florida Channel in Tallahasee.
Konrad added that Esparza had all the right elements to move on as a multimedia journalist, and said she believed Esparza was being interviewed by Telemundo in Chicago before making the decision to move back to Mexico to be with her family.
The professor expressed her surprise at seeing posts of beauty contests on Esparza’s Facebook page.
“Frankly, I truly think that when we have beauty contests for women — I’m not going to say it’s demeaning — I just think that I would rather see women’s talents, and their beauty, and the combination of it be celebrated in other ways besides beauty pageants. But Wendy could be the type of person who could change the dynamics of a beauty pageant,” she added.
McCurry said she is proud of her friend. First for becoming a journalist, and now for winning a major competition.
Immel said Esparza might help to break the stereotype most people associate with pageant participants.
“I think people get so locked into ‘this is what one image is’ and think that pageant women are not very smart and don’t care about a whole lot other than looks … but Wendy is a completely brilliant person — and so smart, so kind, so caring … not self-involved at all,” said Immel, who is now an assignment editor for Chicago Tonight.
Konrad suggested Esparza might be able to use her success in the pageants to further her journalism career.
“She might use the beauty contest world and be able to leverage that into going into journalism,” Konrad said. “I hope she does because I think she would be a great talent and a great gift, and I think that she would be pursuing what I think she has — what I thought she had — as a passion that is journalism.”
The Phoenix contacted Esparza, but she was unavailable for an interview.