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Nia Sanchez, Miss Nevada USA 2014, is announced as Miss USA 2014 at the conclusion of the 2014 MISS USA® Competition from the Baton Rouge River Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on June 8, 2014 at 8/7c on NBC. She receives the coveted Miss USA crown and the chance to represent the USA at the 2014 MISS UNIVERSE® Competition. HO/Miss Universe Organization L.P., LLLP.
Nia Sanchez, Miss Nevada USA 2014, is announced as Miss USA 2014 at the conclusion of the 2014 MISS USA® Competition from the Baton Rouge River Cente...

Former local woman Nia Sanchez crowned as Miss USA 2014

Saturday, July 12th, 2014
Issue 28, Volume 18.
Laura Rathbun
Special to the Valley News

Sanchez, 24,won the title of Miss USA 2014 on June 8 at the Baton Rouge River Center in Louisiana.

"Im so excited. Its a dream come true," Sanchez said after the three-hour pageant that was televised on NBC. She represented the state of Nevada where she now lives.

Dressed in a vibrant red gown, Sanchez seemed to cinch the title after confidently answering a judges question about how to solve sexual assaults of female students on college campuses. She responded that it was important for women to defend themselves and bring awareness to the issue.

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

At the age of 8, Sanchez started taekwondo lessons to learn self-defense and build her confidence. She became a certified instructor with a fourth-degree blackbelt. Her father David Sanchez, Sr. owns the MenifeeMartial Arts Academy and she taught there.

Sanchez beat out 50 other contestants from all the states and the District of Columbia for the title of 63rd Miss USA.She willrepresent the U.S. at the Miss Universe competition later this year.

Her other past titles includeMiss Menifee Valley 2008, Miss Citrus Valley USA2009, Miss Riverside County USA 2011 and Miss Hollywood USA 2012.Shealsocompeted in Miss California USA 2010 and was 2nd runner-up.

She said shes proud to bring the Miss USA title back to Nevada. Sanchez won the Miss Nevada title in January and was determined to be the first Nevada contestant to win the Miss USAtitlesince the pageant began in 1952. She moved to Las Vegas last year.

Anne Bowman, director of the Southwest California Pageant and Miss City of Menifee Scholarship Pageant, has known Sanchez since 2008 and is happy about her Advertisement
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new title.

"She put Menifee on the map," Bowman said. She added that Sanchez will do well in her role as Miss USA because shes charming and comfortable meeting and speaking to people.

The Menifee Valley Chamber of Commerces CEO Dorothy Wolons called Sanchez Menifees latest superstar. "Its exciting to know that great things can come out of small places like Menifee," she said.

Sanchez, who was born in Sacramento, moved to Menifee with her younger brother when she was 8 following her parents divorce. She was raised by her father.

She attended Callie Kirkpatrick Elementary School, Menifee Middle School and Paloma Valley High Schoolwhereshe was a cheerleader andhomecoming queen in 2007.She graduated in 2008. She also attended Mt. Jacinto Community College for a while.

Sanchez visits family and friends in Menifee about once a month, but now that shes Miss USA, her visits will be less frequent. Shes planning a brief visit in September, according to Bowman, and the city will probably honor her achievement in some way.

She misses Menifee now that shes older and has traveled to 12 countries. She appreciates the citys small hometown vibe every time she visits. "I really love it," she said.

After her reign as Miss USA, Sanchez plans to go backto college. She received a $46,000 scholarship as Miss Nevada and gets a scholarship to the New York Film Academy as Miss USA. She said her major is still undecided, but she knows that she wants a career working with children. Shes considering becoming a psychology major so she can counsel youth.

Sanchezhas asteady beau, but will have to wait to marry him after her reign as Miss USA is over. Herbeauisactor Daniel Booko who has had movie roles in the"The Hunger Games," "X-Men: First Class" and "Rise of the Planet of the Apes."

For the next year, shes going to in New York City and keep busy fulfilling her dream job as Miss USA.



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