Miss Nevada, a fourth-degree black belt in the Korean martial art of taekwondo, eclipsed out 50 other beauties from all the states and the District of Columbia for the title of 63rd Miss USA.
Inistially the media predicted that Miss North Dakota Audra Mari would be the winner, but it was Nia Sanchez who was crowned by Erin Brady, of South Glastonbury, Connecticut, the 2013 winner, after a three-hour show from the Baton Rouge Civic Center in Louisiana.
Other outstanding contestants, who were judged on interviews, evening gowns and swimsuits included home state beauty queen, Miss Louisiana Brittany Guidry; Miss Georgia Tiana Griggs, Miss Florida Brittany Oldehoff and Miss Iowa Carlyn Bradarich.
The last one certainly did have a chance when the viewing audience gave her the most votes on Twitter in the pageant’s first-ever “Save the Queen” option.
Sanchez is nor set to represent her country among many other beauties at the Miss Universe competition later this year.
“In a vibrant red floor-length fishtail gown, Miss Nevada talked about the importance of women being able to defend themselves when asked a question about the high rate of sexual assaults on college campuses,” The Huff Post reports.
“Judge Rumer 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 this is being swept under the rug and what should be done about it.”
The U.S. most beautiful girl, who works as a full-time model, referenced her martial arts knowledge in two interviews during Sunday night’s televised competition.
When asked about the security detail guarding the pageant contestants, the pageant queen revealed that her black belt gave her a sense of security and self-confidence, but added that she didn’t mind having the guards on hand.
In the second interview, the beauty was asked by Rumer Willis about a statistic that claims 19% of female college students in the US are sexually assaulted, why universities may try to hide the issue and what can be done to fix the problem.
“I believe that some colleges may potentially be afraid of having a bad reputation and that would be a reason it could be swept under the rug, because they don’t want that to come out in public,” Sanchez said in reply.
“More awareness is very important so women can learn how to protect themselves,” she added. “Myself, as a fourth-degree black belt, I learned at a young age that you need to be confident and be able to defend yourself. And I think that’s something we should really implement for a lot of women.”
Contestants hit the stage on a glitzy float as Louisiana native singer-songwriter Marc Broussard was performing the New Orleans hits “Iko Iko” and “Hey Pocky Way” to kick off the 2014 contest.
The girls introduced themselves while holding Mardi Gras masks in their hands as purple, green and gold confetti fell in the background.
The pageant also included musical acts by the country music duo Florida Georgia Line, rapper Nelly and Latin pop band Camila.