Tuesday, 10 June 2014 | MYT 5:20 PM

Beauty with a kick: New Miss USA has black belt in tae kwon do

Nia Sanchez, a 24-year-old holder of a 4th degree black belt in tae kwon do from Nevada, was crowned Miss USA on June 8 during the 63rd annual beauty pageant.

Sanchez, who wore an intricate red gown during the latter part of the three-hour nationally broadcast contest, addressed the issue of sexual assault on college campuses during a question-and-answer session faced by all six finalists.

Sanchez said she felt some colleges, fearing a bad reputation, might sweep the problem under the rug, and that “More awareness (of the issue) is very important so that women can learn to protect themselves.” She added that as the holder of a 4th degree black belt in tae kwon do, she learned “you need to be confident and be able to defend yourself. That’s something we need to start to implement for a lot of women.”

Don't mess with her: Newly-crowned Miss USA/Universe 2014 Nia Sanchez, representing Nevada, can now add her pageant queen sash to her collection of achievements, which includes a 4th degree black belt in tae kwon do. She will be representing the US at the International Miss Universe pageant to be held later this year.

The first runner-up was Audra Mari, 20, from North Dakota. Other finalists included contestants from Georgia, Louisiana and Florida. Iowa’s representative became a sixth finalist based on fan voting on Twitter, but placed as the fifth runner-up.

The pageant, co-hosted by Giuliana Rancic and Thomas Roberts in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, featured contestants from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The women were judged in three traditional beauty pageant categories: swimsuit, evening gown and interview.

Erin Brady, Miss USA 2013, crowned her successor, who will go on to compete at the international Miss Universe competition to be held sometime later this year. – Reuters

Tags / Keywords: Lifestyle , People , US , Miss Universe , Miss USA , Miss Nevada , Nia Sanchez , beauty pageant , black belt , tae kwon do


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