Miss Nevada Nia Sanchez, a 24-year-old from Las Vegas with a fourth-degree black belt in the Korean martial art of taekwondo, was crowned Miss USA 2014 at the 63rd edition of the competition, at the Baton Rouge River Center in Louisiana on Sunday.
Miss USA 2013, Erin Brady of South Glastonbury, Conn., passed on her crown to Sanchez, and the newly crowned Miss USA will go on to compete at the 2014 Miss Universe scheduled to take place at the end of the year. During a question-and-answer session, Sanchez addressed issues of sexual assault on college campuses, after judge Rumer Willis, the daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore, said that 19 percent of U.S. undergraduate women are victims of sexual assault.
"More awareness (of the issue) is very important so that women can learn to protect themselves," the winner of the 2014 beauty pageant said during the Q&A session, which was faced by all six finalists.
Sanchez also said that martial arts has taught her that “you need to be confident and be able to defend yourself ... That's something we need to start to implement for a lot of women,” and added that she would like to spread her passion for martial arts across the U.S.
The first runner-up of the event, which was hosted by Giuliana Rancic of "Fashion Police" and MSNBC news anchor Thomas Roberts, was 20-year-old Audra Mari from North Dakota, while Miss Georgia Tiana Griggs was announced the second runner-up.
The 51 contestants of the Miss USA 2014 competition were judged in the swimsuit, evening gown and interview categories.
The event, which was broadcast live on NBC, featured performances by country music group Florida Georgia Line, rapper Nelly and singer Marc Broussard.
Check out the crowning of Miss USA 2014 here: