Miss USA 2014 Nia Sanchez: 5 things to know about the Latina winner!

Miss Nevada Nia Sanchez has just been crowned Miss USA 2014! The 24-year-old Latina stunner beat out 50 other contestants from all states and Washington D.C. on Sunday night during the pageant in Louisiana, including first runner-up Miss North Dakota Audra Mari. Sanchez will now go on to represent the U.S. at the Miss Universe competition later this year. Before she does, here are 5 things to know about the beauty queen:

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  1. Sanchez is of German and Mexican descent and is the fourth Hispanic woman to win the pageant. She is the first from Nevada to win.
  2. Sanchez was born in Sacramento, California but moved to Las Vegas when she was seven after her parents divorced.
  3. During that transition period, she and her mother briefly lived in Shade Tree, a women's shelter in Las Vegas. The experience taught her that women need to take it upon themselves to learn how to defend themselves, as she told judge Rumer Willis when asked about the high rate of sexual assault among undergraduate women on college campuses.  
  4. Sanchez is a fourth-degree black belt in the martial art of taekwondo. She started practicing when she was only 8 years old, reportedly to learn self-defense and build her confidence. As if that wasn't enough, she's also been studying jazz and ballet for about five years!
  5. When she's not on modeling assignments, Sanchez spends her spare time volunteering and supporting the same shelter in Shade Tree, where she once lived.She also visits Mexico for three months every year on mission trips. What a role model, right?

Congrats to Sanchez on her big win!

Image via Getty Images

Topics: latina role models  in the news  inspiration