Meet Miss USA: 8 Things You Didn't Know About Nia Sanchez

Meet the new Miss USA! 

24-year-old Nia Sanchez nabbed the crown, beating out 50 other contestants to take home the honor. The Mexicana hails from Nevada, and has an fascinating background as a world traveler, taekwondo master, and real-life Disney princess. 

Here are 8 things to know about Miss USA 2014: 

1. She's of German & Mexican descent.

Sanchez attributes her good looks to her German and Mexican heritage. "My dad is half Mexican and half German," she told Las Vegas Sun" My grandmother is full Mexican, and my grandfather is full German. They met in World War II when he served overseas. My mom is all mixes of European and Spanish."


2. She's making history!

Sanchez made history as the first ever Miss Nevada to become Miss USA! She's also the fourth Latina to receive the title. The others include Laura Harring (1985), Lynnette Cole (2000), and Susie Castillo (2003).


3. She's a world traveler.

Born in Sacramento, Calif., Sanchez couldn't stay put for long. She moved between California and Washington as a child, before eventually moving to Europe after she graduated from high school. She's traveled to thirteen countries, including Austria, Switzerland, China and Thailand. She recently decided to settle in Las Vegas, where she was crowned Miss Nevada. 

Sanchez credits her grandmother for inspiring her love of travel. "My grandmother kind of gave me the push when I was 18-years-old, and graduating high school. I had never met my family in Germany, but she bought my plane ticket and sent me to Germany to be a nanny for my younger cousins," she told Las Vegas Weekly"I can make friends anywhere, but just to see a new culture and experience something new. I just fell in love with it."

 


4. She's a black belt in Taekwondo.

Don't mess with Nia! The beauty queen is a fierce fighter, and even earned a fourth-degree black belt in taekwondo. She took up the practice when she was eight-years-old as a way to protect herself and boost her confident. She has been a certified taekwondo instructor since she was 15-years-old, and she now teaches women and children how to protect themselves. 


5. She's a Disney princess!

Sanchez is a real-life Disney princesa! She beat out thousands of applicants to become one of the face characters for Hong Kong Disney, where she appeared as Cinderella, Princess Aurora, Belle and Snow White. 


6. She lived in a women's shelter.

After her parents divorced, she lived with her mother in a women's shelter for several months. She's come a long way since then, but she's never forgotten her roots. These days, she volunteers at Shade Tree, a women's center in Las Vegas. 

"When I was six-years-old, my mom and dad were going through a divorce. My mom was a full-time stay-at-home mom, so she didn't have a job or any way to get out on her own," she told Las Vegas Weekly"So, we stayed a women's shelter for two months while she got a job and was working. It was great, because they provided daycare for us while she was out there trying to save up."


7. She didn't break a sweat during the interview round.

Sanchez didn’t break a sweat during her interview portion of the pageant. Celebrity judge, Rumer Willis, asked her about the high rate of sexual assault on college campuses.

"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," Sanchez answered. "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."


8. She's currently dating actor Daniel Booko.

She’s currently dating actor and model, Daniel Booko, 30. He has appeared in The O.C., as well as Disney’s The Suite Life of Zack and Cody and Hannah Montana.

In the future, she sees herself settling down with kids.She told Las Vegas Weekly, "To be honest, I really see myself being a mom. I don't know if that sounds silly, but I love children, and I just want to be a good wife and a mom and really be able to raise my children," she said "I can see myself doing something off to the side, like working at a daycare or teaching martial arts at a taekwondo studio, because I've done that stuff most of my life."