NEW YORK, July 9, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- For the 51 contestants at the MISS USA pageant, the event is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that will forever shape the course of their lives. More than ever, this pageant is about the contestants. All 51 have worked hard to get here. Whoever wins, all 51 are committed to using their skills and the platform they have earned to help women across the globe empower themselves to be self-confident, and strive to be their personal best.
During their reign, and beyond, our titleholders and contestants enrich others through humanitarian efforts affecting positive change on the issues and causes they are passionate about. Last year alone, Miss Universe titleholders helped raise $3.5 million for charities.
All 51 have compelling stories worth telling. Here are some of them:
- Miss Rhode Island USA, Anea Garcia, was raised by her grandmother, an immigrant from the Dominican Republic. When her grandmother's factory job was outsourced, the two eventually became homeless. With nowhere else to turn, they spent their nights sleeping in a car in a Walmart parking lot. Anea persevered and, with a full scholarship to college, she plans to pursue a career in law so she can be an advocate for women and the homeless.
- Miss Delaware USA, Renee Bull, started her own non-profit to empower young girls.
- Miss Louisiana USA, Candice Bennatt, is an advocate for victims of domestic violence, having been one herself.
- Miss Massachusetts USA, Polikseni Manxhari, inspired by her friend's tragic suicide, makes it her mission to volunteer at a suicide prevention hotline.
- Eight contestants are first-generation Americans. Miss Nebraska USA, Hoang-Kim Cung's parents emigrated from Vietnam. Miss California USA, Natasha Martinez, is the daughter of a Nicaraguan and Mexican parents. Miss Connecticut USA, Ashley Golebiewski's family escaped Communist Poland.
- Three contestants started their own non-for-profit organizations; five are competitive or standout athletes; seven are musicians.
- 10 are studying or work in law or politics.
- 14 are studying or work in the medical and psychology field.
You can see more of their stories here: http://www.missuniverse.com/missusa/you_videos/index/videoCategoryId:43
The 2015 MISS USA® Pageant will telecast LIVE on Sunday, July 12 from The Baton Rouge River Center at 8 p.m. ET on REELZ Channel. Find REELZ in your area by visiting www.reelz.com. The pageant will also be streamed LIVE on www.missusa.com.
ABOUT MISS UNIVERSE ORGANIZATION
The Miss Universe Organization (MUO) uses its global grassroots reach to empower women to be self-confident and strive to be their personal best. MUO believes that every woman should be "Confidently Beautiful." The MISS UNIVERSE®, MISS USA®, and MISS TEEN USA® beauty pageants provide an international platform through dedicated partnerships with charities, sponsors, and brands around the world. During their reign, our winners are given the tools to personally and professionally enrich others by providing humanitarian efforts to affect positive change, all while developing their personal career goals. For more information, and to learn more about Miss USA's official cause to raise awareness for breast and ovarian cancer education and prevention please visit: www.missusa.com.
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SOURCE The Miss Universe Organization