Jessenia Is An Actual Queen Outside Of The Bachelor

Photo: Courtesy of ABC.
There's an actual queen on Matt James' season of The Bachelor, and no, we're not talking about Victoria Larson. She may have showed up in a crown and declared herself royalty on night one of the show, but Jessenia Cruz is an actual pageant queen.
According to her ABC bio, the San Antonio-born contestant won Miss El Paso in 2016 and then went on to compete in Miss Texas USA 2017. She didn't crack the top 16 for that contest, but she did get to spend a year wearing a sparkly crown while she went on TV, rode in parades, and participated in various events.
Advertisement
The Bachelor has been casting a larger number of pageant queens in recent years. Both Caelynn Miller-Keyes and Hannah Brown from Colton Underwood's season competed in Miss USA 2018. And Alayah Benavidez from Peter Weber's Bachelor season won Miss Texas USA 2019. People who compete in pageants kind of have a leg up on The Bachelor because they're already used to an environment where they're competing against a group of other women for one prize. 
In a video introduction of the contestants, host Chris Harrison proclaimed that Jessenia is "opinionated, honest, [and] not afraid of ruffling some feathers," and that she "finds herself in more than a little drama" this season. The start of that drama is coming, with a promo for the Jan. 18 Bachelor episode hinting that she seems to face off against Victoria. "You think that you have some kind of attachment to Matt, when you only spent a couple hours with him. That's not normal," Jessenia says.
If her showdown is indeed with "Queen" Victoria, it will make for an interesting dynamic — a self-proclaimed queen versus a real life pageant queen.
But Jessenia's pageant days don't define her entirely. She left that world behind after her El Paso title expired in 2017. According to her LinkedIn, Jessenia is now a social media marketing manager. It's a career she moved into after graduating from San Antonio's University of Texas with a degree in communication and media studies.
Jessenia actually doesn't even mention her Miss El Paso title on her LinkedIn. But with her status as a former pageant queen out there, Jessenia can take comfort knowing she's in some good company. Chris even said in that intro video that she reminded him a lot of Hannah Brown, which translates to high praise in the Bachelor-verse.

More from TV

R29 Original Series