Miss USA 2015: Meet The Latinas Competing For The Crown [Pics]
The Miss USA pageant airing in July will feature contestants from all over the United States, but among them are a few Latinas who will be representing their state and also the Latino community.
Unlike the Miss Universe competition, where their cultural heritage is highlighted to help the contestants represent the country they wear on their sash, the Miss USA competition focuses more on how to best represent their hometown state.
This year the lineup of contestants includes Latinas from states that have large Latino populations. Get to know the contestants before they compete for the crown in the Miss USA pageant later this summer.
1. Miss California - Natasha Martinez
Natasha Martinez is a 23-year-old from Chino Hill, California with a Bachelor's degree in Communication Arts. The beauty queen, whose family hails from Mexico and Nicaragua, graduated from Chapman University and is currently working as a TV host in Southern California.
Martinez used to be a dancer for the Lakers basketball team and also worked as a princess at Disneyland, like the current Miss USA Nia Sanchez. She cites her mother, an eight-year breast cancer survivor, as her biggest role model. She works with her mother's hospital to help raise money and awareness for breast cancer research.
The contestant benefits from representing a state that has produced six Miss USA winners in the past, the most recent being in 2011.
A photo posted by Natasha Alexis Martinez (@natashaamartinez) on Jun 8, 2015 at 8:58pm PDT
2. Miss New York - Thatiana Diaz
Thatiana Diaz is a native New Yorker whose family hails from the Dominican Republic. Like fellow contestant Miss California, she graduated with a degree in Communications. The 22-year-old graduated with honors from high school and graduated magna cum laude from Pace University.
While at Pace she served as features editor at the college newspaper and even went on to intern for Latina Magazine, Vogue, Seventeen and Sony. Diaz, who won the Miss New York Teen competition in 2010, says she enjoys experiencing various cultures, which is something she does through food and travel.
A photo posted by Thatiana Diaz (@thatiana.diaz) on May 20, 2015 at 11:39am PDT
3. Miss Rhode Island - Anea Garcia
Twenty-year-old Anea Garcia of Providence has Dominican and Native American roots. The contestant has attended Catholic school since she was 11 and credits her grandmother, who adopted and raised her, for teaching her values and to work hard.
Garcia is currently a sophomore at Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island, where she received a full tuition grant through the International Leadership Award. She hopes to graduate with a degree in Legal Studies and Philosophy and wants to become a criminal attorney in the future.
YA photo posted by Anea Garcia (@realmissriusa) on Mar 18, 2015 at 12:03pm PDT
4. Miss Texas - Ylianna Guerra
Mexican beauty queen, Ylianna Guerra is a 22-year-old from McAllen. She, like her peers, graduated with a degree in Communications. During her reign as Miss Texas, Guerra has worked with several charities like the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Easter Seals, Proyecto Desarollo Humano and the Texas Children's Hospital.
Guerra showed her love for Texas and enthusiasm to compete in the Miss USA competition on her Instagram account, stating:
"I am so honored and blessed to be your new Miss Texas USA! God listens to our prayers. Always believe in yourself, have faith, and NEVER GIVE UP. 3rd time's a charm. Miss USA here we come!"
A photo posted by Ylianna Guerra (@ylianna_guerra) on Jun 9, 2015 at 9:57am PDT
5. Miss West Virginia - Andrea Musino
Andrea Musino, 24, from Morgantown is part French and part Mexican on her father's side. She received a Bachelor's in International Studies from West Virginia University and interned for the U.S House of Representatives and U.S Senate.
Musino, who speaks three languages, hopes to become a lobbyist for education and women's rights after she goes back to school for a joint JD/MBA Degree. The contestant has taken to her social media accounts to express her love of her mixed culture and being able to represent the two.
"I always say that I am half Mexican, half French, 100 percent West Virginian," she said. "But who I am as an individual today is because of the culture, traditions, and love my family instilled in me throughout my life. Being able to spend full summers in Mexico & France gave me a better understanding and above all else a unique perspective of the world we live in."
A photo posted by Andrea Mucino (@realmisswvusa) on Jun 1, 2015 at 9:43am PDT