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

  @cavanshays on May 14 2012 12:32 PM

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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