Miss USA 2012: Meet The 51 Contestants Competing For The Crown [PHOTOS, VIDEO]

on May 14 2012 12:32 PM
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    Katherine Webb Miss Universe Organization
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    Jessica Kazmierczak Miss Universe Organization
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    Erika Frantzve Miss Universe Organization
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    Kelsey Dow Miss Universe Organization
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    Natalie Pack Miss Universe Organization
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    Marybel Gonzalez Miss Universe Organization
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    Marie-Lynn Piscitelli Miss Universe Organization
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    Krista Clausen Miss Universe Organization
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    Monique Thompkins Miss Universe Organization
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    Karina Brez Miss Universe Organization
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    Jasmyn "Jazz" Wilkins Miss Universe Organization
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    Brandie Cazimero Miss Universe Organization
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    Erna Palic Miss Universe Organization
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    Ashley Hooks Miss Universe Organization
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    Megan Myrehn Miss Universe Organization
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    Rebecca Hodge Miss Universe Organization
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    Gentry Miller Miss Universe Organization
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    Amanda Mertz Miss Universe Organization
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    Erin Edmiston Miss Universe Organization
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    Rani Williamson Miss Universe Organization
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    Nana Meriwether Miss Universe Organization
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    Natalie Pietrzak Miss Universe Organization
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    Kristen Danyal Miss Universe Organization
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    Nitaya Panemalaythong Miss Universe Organization
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    Myverick Garcia Miss Universe Organization
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    Katie Kearney Miss Universe Organization
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    Autumn Muller Miss Universe Organization
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    Amy Spilker Miss Universe Organization
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    Jade Kelsall Miss Universe Organization
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    Ryanne Harms Miss Universe Organization
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    Michelle Leonardo Miss Universe Organization
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    Jessica Martin Miss Universe Organization
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    Johanna Sambucini Miss Universe Organization
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    Sydney Perry Miss Universe Organization
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    Jaci Stofferahn Miss Universe Organization
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    Audrey Bolte Miss Universe Organization
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    Lauren Lundeen Miss Universe Organization
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    Alaina Bergsma Miss Universe Organization
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    Miss Pennsylvania Sheena Monnin, a 21-year-old who hopes to earn a Doctorate in Theology, announced her resignation from the Miss Universe Organization on Tuesday night, two nights after Miss Rhode Island, Olivia Culpo, was crowned Miss USA. Miss Universe Organization
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    Olivia Culpo Miss Universe Organization
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    Erika Powell Miss Universe Organization
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    Taylor Neisen Miss Universe Organization
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    Jessica Hibler Miss Universe Organization
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    Brittany Booker Miss Universe Organization
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    Kendyl Bell Miss Universe Organization
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    Jamie Dragon Miss Universe Organization
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    Miss Virginia Catherine Muldoon Miss Universe Organization
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    Christina Clarke Miss Universe Organization
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    Andrea Rogers Miss Universe Organization
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    Emily Guerin Miss Universe Organization
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    Holly Allen Miss Universe Organization
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The 2012 Miss USA competition is quickly approaching and the girls are ready to show the nation what they've got. On June 3, 51 contestants will compete for the crown, live from Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. The bevy of beauties, from Alabama to Wyoming, will contend in one of the country's most exciting traditions. 

In 1952, a local bathing beauty competition launched by Catalina Swimwear in Long Beach, Calif., was just a small pageant for sunshine-loving locals. Fast forward 60 years and that competition has evolved into what we now know as the Miss USA contest. The contest has become more than just a beauty pageant. These women are savvy, goal-oriented and aware. The delegates who become part of the Miss Universe Organization display those characteristics in their everyday lives, both as individuals, who compete with hope of advancing their careers, personal and humanitarian goals, and as women who seek to improve the lives of others, cites the Miss USA official website.

How do the 2012 Miss USA contestants feel just one month before the big night?

IBTimes TV caught up with the girls on a boat ride around New York Harbor for a Breast Cancer Research Foundation fundraising event on May 8.

Reporter Sally Turner helped to dispel some rumors about pageant queens. Miss Maryland, Nana Meriwether, proved that she is far more than just a pretty face. She is a Political Science major who is in the process of applying to medical school, a volleyball player and the co-founder of a non-profit in South Africa.

I think it definitely sets me apart because I am very interested in and a huge advocate of higher education, Meriwether told IBTimes TV.

Miss Kansas, Gentry Miller, voiced her opinion on the biggest misconception about beauty queens.

I think the biggest misconception is that we are all just about makeup and hair and flashy swimsuits, said Miller. It is so much more than that. Talking to the girls here this weekend, this week and during the media tour, you will see that there is so much more to a lot of the girls. They have really accomplished a lot in their lives.

Before the boat ride, all 51 contestants woke up at 4 a.m. to get ready for an appearance on NBC's The Today Show. Afterwards, they were sent to an industrial section behind the train tracks in Long Island City, Queens, where they volunteered with the food rescue organization, City Harvest, reported IBTimes' Eleazar David Melendez.

As the competition continues to progress, so do the logistics of it. This year, the Miss Universe Organization partnered with Mobivity, a provider of proprietary mobile marketing technologies and solutions, to facilitate an online and mobile voting ballot has been set up for the public to cast its vote for its favorite 2012 Miss USA contestant. The winner of this vote will secure a place in the semifinals. Voting began on May 1 and will continue through June 2 at 12:00 pm EST. Voters can vote up to 10 times per day per account/valid email address to help their favorite Miss USA contest win. Click here to place your vote now.

The Miss USA competition is part of the Miss Universe Organization, owned by Mr. Donald Trump and NBC. Miss USA contestants must be between the ages of 18 and 27-years-old to compete. 

Check out all 51 Miss USA 2012 contestants in the following slideshow. Who is your favorite? Leave your feedback in the comments section below.

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