Miss USA 2014: Miss Nevada Nia Sanchez Wins -- How'd She Do During the Interview?

Entertainment Jun. 9, 2014 AT 8:45AM
Nia Sanchez, Miss Nevada USA 2014, is announced as Miss USA 2014 Nia Sanchez, Miss Nevada USA 2014, is announced as Miss USA 2014 Credit: HO/Miss Universe Organization L.P., LLLP

It would be wise not to get on the bad side of Miss USA 2014: She holds a fourth degree back belt in taekwondo! At the 63rd annual Miss USA pageant—broadcast live on Sunday, June 9 from the Baton Rouge Civic Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana—Miss Nevada Nia Sanchez walked away with the coveted crown.

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The pretty martial artist, 24, defeated 50 other beauty queens to win this year's pageant following swimsuit, evening gown and interview portions. and explained that she took up taekwondo as a means to defend herself and bolster her confidence after spending time as a young girl in a women's shelter with her mom.

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Today, Sanchez volunteers at similar shelters and teachers women and kids to defend themselves against what she called "stranger danger" "I relate to them on a personal level because I've been there myself," she said.

Sanchez also avoided typical beauty-pageant-embarassment when fielding tricky questions from celeb judges. Judge Rumer Willis asked about the high rate of sexual assault on college campuses.

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"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 into the public," she said. "But I think more awareness is very important so women can learn how to protect themselves. Myself, as a fourth-degree black belt, I learned from a young age that you need to be confident and be able to defend yourself. And I think that's something that we should start to really implement for a lot of women."

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Given the crown by Miss USA 2013 Erin Brady, Sanchez bested first runner-up Audra Mari (Miss North Dakota) plus fellow finalists Miss Georgia, Miss Louisiana, Miss Florida and Miss Iowa.  Sanchez will go on to compete in the Miss Universe competition this fall.

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