Women from across the US fought on Sunday for the traditional Miss USA crown and in the end, it was ex-taekwondo teacher Nia Sanchez who took it home.
Asked if she needed any pageant protection, the 24-year-old martial arts champion from Nevada joked: "I appreciate the security we have. But I feel confident."
Miss Sanchez so excelled at taekwondo that she was already a teacher when she was a teenager.
A total of 51 contestants from each US state plus the District of Columbia squared off in the pageant's gown, swimsuit and interview segments in Louisiana in the south, reported AFP.
The other five final contestants hailed from Iowa, North Dakota, Florida, Georgia and Louisiana, but Miss Sanchez beat them all, replacing Miss Erin Brady, the 2013 Miss USA winner, reported Hollywood Life.
Miss Sanchez is the first beauty queen in the competition's history to ever win from the state of Nevada.
The old-school competition style - featuring high heels, sequins and mascara - may be the bane of feminists.
But it also remains a guilty pleasure for millions of television viewers, ratings show.
It also includes scholarship money so that studies remain on the horizon for the winner.
One contestant portrayed herself as someone who overcame devastating school bullying, in part by becoming an excellent ice hockey player, a sport not often favoured by girls.
Another contestant, Miss New Jersey Emily Shah, 18, is the daughter of a mother from the US and a father from India. She grew up with her grandparents, speaks fluent Hindi and Gujarati and dreams of a crossover Hollywood/Bollywood career.
The Miss USA pageant, which dates from 1952, selects the US contestant for the Miss Universe pageant.
Both contests are owned by American real estate tycoon Donald Trump, who watched and waved during this show.
This article was first published on June 10, 2014.
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