Nia Sanchez has a fourth-degree black belt in the Korean martial art of taekwondo. She beat 50 other contestants from all the U.S. states and the District of Columbia to win the title.
A 24-year-old from Las Vegas, Nevada, was crowned because the 63rd Miss USA in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Nia Sanchez has a fourth-degree black belt within the Korean martial art of taekwondo. She beat 50 other contestants from all the U.S. states and the District of Columbia to win the title Sunday night.
She will compete in Miss Universe pageant later this season.
In a vibrant red floor-length fishtail gown, Miss Nevada answered judge Rumer Willis’ question concerning the high rate of sexual assaults on college campuses. Willis, the 25-year-old daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, said 19 percent of U.S. undergraduate women are victims of sexual assault and asked Sanchez why she thinks the problem is being swept under the rug and just what should be done about it.
Sanchez said women have to take it upon themselves to understand how to defend themselves. After being crowned, Sanchez told reporters she lived for some time in a women’s shelter in a young age with her mother and at age 8 used taekwondo to learn self-defense and build up her confidence.
Being an adult, she has volunteered at women’s shelters, teaching residents how you can defend themselves and teaching kids about “stranger danger.”
“I relate to them on a personal level because I’ve been there myself,” she said, adding that she plans to consider her passion and knowledge for martial arts to the masses as Miss USA.
Sanchez also said she was “so proud to bring the title of Miss USA back to Nevada.”
“I’m so excited,” she said. “It’s an aspiration come true.”
Erin Brady, of South Glastonbury, Connecticut, the 2013 winner, threw in the towel her crown to Sanchez following a three-hour telecast from the Baton Rouge Civic Center in Louisiana. Besides Mari, the following four runners-up, judged on interviews, evening gowns and swimsuits were: Miss Georgia Tiana Griggs, Miss Louisiana Brittany Guidry, Miss Florida Brittany Oldehoff and Miss Iowa Carlyn Bradarich. All of the titles included USA after the state.
Bradarich got a second chance when the viewing audience gave her probably the most votes on Twitter within the pageant’s first-ever “Save the Queen” option.
The subject of sexual assault seemed to be on the mind of Miss Pennsylvania Valerie Gatto. She made headlines now when she said she was the product of rape. During a taped segment that aired when her name was called, Gatto said her mother was 19 when she was attacked leaving operate in Pittsburgh and became pregnant.
Florida Georgia Line and Nelly got to live every man’s fantasy by being the chosen act to do their hit “Cruise” live during the swimsuit competition, that each member of the top 20 wore exactly the same white bikini-you know, to be able to inform who’s best.
Gatto said she resides proof “that your circumstances do not define your life.”
First runner-up Mari said she overcame being bullied in high school by competing in ice hockey. The Fargo, North Dakota, native wore an environmentally friendly floor-length evening gown and in her final interview discussed the importance of getting an education on and on to college.
Contestants entered happens on a glitzy float as Louisiana native singer-songwriter Marc Broussard sang the New Orleans hits “Iko Iko” and “Hey Pocky Way” to start the 2014 contest. The women introduced themselves while holding Mardi Gras masks in their hands as purple, green and gold confetti fell without anyone’s knowledge.
The pageant also included musical acts through the country music duo Florida Georgia Line, rapper Nelly and Latin pop band Camila.
Celebrity judges walked a red carpet in evening gowns and tuxedos prior to the start of the show, posing for pictures and referring to the qualities they would be looking for within the beauty they crown the winner.
“It’s very important that she has confidence,” said Barbara Palacios, Miss Universe 1986 along with a coach and judge for the new Telemundo reality show, “Miss Latina Universo.” ”The winning attitude and perseverance are also very important.”
“It’s by pointing out eyes,” said Lance Bass of the pop singing boy group NSYNC. “I would like to see a girl that is just really using a good time up there.”
Donald Trump, who owns the Miss Universe Organization, including the Miss USA pageant, also walked the red carpet.