HOUSTON — Lluvia Alzate's road to the Miss Texas USA crown was as unconventional as it gets.
"I was like wait, what is it really me?" said Alzate. "It wasn't till they put the sash on me that I realized I really did just win."
Unlike other pageant winners, Alzate says pageantry was never a lifelong dream.
"I used to be a wrestler in high school, so that's two completely opposite things," she joked. "If you would have asked me last year, around January, that I'd be Miss Texas or competing in pageants I would've thought you were crazy."
But in 2019 her mom was diagnosed with ALS.
"I was being a full-time caregiver to my mother at that time," said Alzate.
She thought pageantry could be a platform to spread awareness about the neurodegenerative disease.
"It was definitely a journey of perseverance and pushing forward," said Alzate.
Turns out she was a natural.
Sadly though, her mom passed away in December, months before she earned her Miss Houston crown. She said she keeps a video from the day she graduated high school of her mom telling her how proud she is. It has fueled her to keep going through her loss.
"I see that exact same face of hers just looking at me and telling me how proud she is," said Alzate.
Her mom wasn't there to watch her compete this past week, but her family was cheering her on.
"They know how happy my mom would have been as well, so I remember every time I look towards them I would tear up because I saw my mom through them," said Alzate.
For this Colombian-born beauty queen, it's her biggest platform yet. Next up is the Miss USA pageant. She's hoping to become the second straight Houstonian to earn the Miss USA crown.
"I'm coming for it," she said.
Watch the full interview with Lluvia Alzate in the video below: