Miss San Antonio Texas USA 2023 aims to inspire others with her journey
Lillian Perez couldn't contain her joy when she was crowned Miss San Antonio USA 2023. However, she went straight back to work the next day, preparing for the next stop in her journey. CultureMap connected with the pageant queen to learn more about her path to winning the crown, and what she plans to do next.
Perez has been committed to doing the work ever since she was crowned Miss Teen San Antonio USA back in 2018. Perez tells CultureMap, "I truly know that my purpose in life is to push people outside of their comfort zones, I want to be that source of drive. And this title gives me the opportunity to do that."
Juggling life as a full-time student and a Cyclebar Stone Oak instructor on the side never slowed Perez down as she kept prepping for the pageant, learning how to walk properly, perfecting her stage presence, prep for interview questions, and maintaining a healthy, yet rigorous gym routine.
"Discomfort is growth and you can't have one without the other," Perez captioned one of her Instagram photos at the gym, where she frequently posts motivational content for her nearly 3K followers.
Perez acknowledges that for every inspiring fitness post of hers on social media, there were moments where, "I'd count myself out before I even get started." Her mindset could be her greatest asset, and sometimes, her worst enemy.
When it came to those moments, Perez had to remind herself, "if you weren't ready, you wouldn't have the opportunity. And if you weren't capable, you wouldn't have the desire."
And to say that Perez had the desire and drive to earn the Miss San Antonio USA 2023 crown would be an understatement. Her days as a student, pageant queen in the making, and cycle instructor were easily 12-15 hours long, if not longer.
Perez recounts, "I was [taking] seven courses, [working] a part time job, [and] assist[ing] in research opportunities." Not only that, but she had to remember to hydrate (relatable), work out every day, and stay on top of her healthy diet plan.
Although the Miss Texas USA pageant is the most immediate next step on Perez's journey (you can root for her when the pageant takes place on July 14-15, 2023), Perez already has a longer game plan in mind for her career.
Currently studying kinesiology, Perez aims to get into a doctoral program for physical therapy. "With my career as a physical therapist, I plan to accrue enough capital to one day open my own gym. I have two semesters left, so I'm almost at the finish line."
One of Perez's close friends, former Miss Texas Alayah Benavidez, (also a former Bachelor contestant), was crowned Miss San Antonio when Perez was crowned Miss Teen San Antonio USA in 2018. Naturally, Benavidez was there to cheer Perez on during the 2023 Miss San Antonio USA pageant.
With the support of all her loved ones, Perez presses on, determined to work hard to achieve every dream and use her platform as Miss San Antonio USA 2023 to help others.
"Your perspective is your power," Perez adds, "I want to be that source of drive and inspiration [for others] to work hard, and to focus on things that matter like education, a healthy, active lifestyle, and kindness."
Spoken like a true Miss San Antonio.